Some anxiety is predictable. It strikes when you’re worried about bills or headed to an interview, or when life is piling up and you’re struggling to cope. Other times, anxiety catches us by surprise. Nothing has changed, so why do you feel so on edge?
If you’ve been blindsided by sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, and a sudden sense of being utterly overwhelmed, you may be at the mercy of one of these hidden anxiety triggers.
Too Much Coffee
Caffeine wakes you up and clears your bleary mind. Drink a little too much, however, and you could end up feeling more anxious than alert. “Too much” is hard to define when you have anxiety. While your friends may be able to guzzle down a 16-ounce coffee and feel great, a much smaller cup could leave your heart and mind racing.
Doctors recommend ditching coffee entirely if you have anxiety and staying away from caffeine in over-the-counter medications, supplements, and tea. If you’re not ready to go cold turkey, cut back your coffee consumption to a point that it doesn’t spike your anxiety. You may want to log your caffeine consumption and symptoms to keep track.
Your Smoking Habit
It’s a misconception that smoking calms your nerves. While you might get a short-term boost from nicotine, over time, cigarette smoking disrupts your body’s dopamine production and increases the risk of mental health problems. Quitting smoking, on the other hand, is about as effective as antidepressants when it comes to treating anxiety and mood disorders.
There are a lot of ways to quit smoking, from stopping cold turkey to using nicotine replacement therapy to taking non-nicotine medications. If you’re serious about quitting, your doctor can help you find the method that works for you.
A Bad Diet
If you’ve ever experienced a stomach ache during a bout of anxiety, you know that the brain and body are intrinsically linked. The connection doesn’t just go one way: People with poor diets are especially prone to anxiety. That’s because the nutrients you eat play a key role in brain function, and when you don’t get enough of them, your mental and cognitive health suffer. Vitamins B12, B6, and D are important for mental health, as are omega-3 fatty acids and several minerals. Changing your diet is the best way to improve nutrition.
No matter how well you eat, you may not be getting all the nutrients you need. For instance, if you have a calcium, magnesium, or vitamin C deficiency, it may be time for you to start taking multivitamin every day. The right multivitamin can even improve your mood, which will lead to less anxiety and stress overall.
Sleep duration and quality.What you ate and when.Drug, alcohol, and caffeine consumption.Medications and supplements.Anxiety symptoms. Eventually, you’ll notice a pattern of high-anxiety days and certain triggers. Once you know what’s triggering your anxiety, it’s easier to mitigate and cope with the symptoms. Keep in mind that while managing triggers is important, it’s not a substitute for mental health treatment. When anxiety starts interfering with your life, the best thing you can do for yourself is to seek help from a licensed mental health professional.
Tips for Identifying Anxiety Triggers
When you feel anxious, it can be hard to identify what triggered it. The simplest way to make a link between your habits and your anxiety is with a journal. Each day, log information including:
By Jennifer Scott
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of La Pixie Wellness or the founder of La Pixie Wellness.
Very Interesting views of anxiety. I personally take it one day at the time.