Nervousness and anxiety are common emotions, but most of us would prefer not to experience them, or at least not so often.
Yes, anxiety may be linked to genetic predisposition, psychological trauma from childhood, or brain chemistry, but have you ever thought that some of your habits might intensify it?
If you don’t get enough sleep, live in chaos, or start your day with large amounts of sugar, you may likely feel the negative effects. Habits like these will increase anxiety for anyone, with or without the presence of a real anxiety disorder.
Habits are useful if they are the right kind. Our brain establishes repetitive actions, such as turning on the computer, brushing teeth, and driving to work every morning on autopilot, so we can focus on new situations that require decisions, creativity, and solutions—and this is extremely useful.
The problem is that once these patterns are formed, we rarely think about them again, making it difficult to see their results. We continue to do the same thing repeatedly without considering how it affects us.
Below are five habits that almost everyone follows, making us more nervous than we should be.
A situation we don’t know if it starts from anxiety or causes it. Regardless, procrastination means postponing tasks for another time due to anxiety and pressure, which will increase stress even more.
Stopping this behaviour is useful. Here are some strategies on how to stop it:
Make a list of tasks you constantly postpone. Immediately complete one of them and schedule the next one shortly after waking up or a few hours later. Repeat until the list is finished.
Set an alarm. Some people function better under pressure. Take control of the sense of urgency you create for yourself by setting a timer and giving yourself a limited time to complete a task.
Overcome the need for perfection. The anxiety of getting things right can sometimes impede progress. Embrace the idea that failure is part of the journey, not the end of it, and you may find that procrastination disappears.
2. Avoidance of situations
Similar to procrastination is avoidance. Psychologists say that one behaviour that intensifies anxiety is not trying something or avoiding it until it gets worse. The pursuit of perfection we mentioned earlier is also a significant factor in this.
“In fact, it is contrary to what most people believe. Anxiety worsens when you avoid the situation, place, or people causing your anxiety,” says psychologist Jennifer Anders. “Avoidance feeds the cycle of anxiety and reinforces the hormonal response that exacerbates it.”
Scientific research continues to link cluttered spaces, filled with many objects, to anxiety, neuroticism, and depression.
“Disarray creates unnecessary stimuli for your brain and increases feelings of guilt, irritation, or shame as you search for your keys in the mess of the drawer next to the door,” says the psychologist.
Perhaps one of the most important changes you can make to reduce clutter and the collection of many objects at home is to replace the “consumer” mindset with that of “experience.” Shift your focus from spending money and acquiring objects to experiences and connecting with people.
Spend time in nature and converse with those you love. These experiences cost nothing, reduce anxiety, and enrich your life in ways that clutter never will.
You can plan a cleaning schedule with small daily actions, which will help you keep your space organised.
4. Eating habits
They say our gut is our second brain, and if you think about how many times your stomach hurts when you’re stressed, you won’t be unfair to science. Our diet plays a huge role in the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, which affects emotions such as depression and anxiety.
Invest in healthier foods and meals that you prepare at home. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and properly hydrate your body, as proper hydration also contributes to better mental health.
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5. Negative thoughts
Perhaps the most challenging habit to overcome. We all have an internal voice that serves as a continuous commentary on our experiences at every moment. When these messages are pessimistic and negative, they will contribute to anxiety.
To combat them, start by acknowledging all the thoughts in your mind. Are they negative or positive, helpful, or harmful? Try deliberately replacing these thoughts with positive affirmations.
Pay attention to the vocabulary you use, as thoughts turning into words play a destructive role in our psychology.
This article was syndicated from Marie Claire Greece.