10 Things to Stop Doing if You Have Anxiety
Do you have anxiety? Is it causing you to think negatively, increasing your worry and making your feel fearful? If you have anxiety you know that it is no fun at all but did you know there are plenty of natural ways to help yourself feel better? Medication has it’s place but in many cases anxiety can be reduced just by making some simple changes to your lifestyle. Today we want to talk about the top 10 things to stop doing if you have anxiety.
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What Makes Anxiety Attacks Worse?
Anxiety is usually caused by an initial event that makes us feel embarrassed, upset or frightened. Our brains register this moment as being something unpleasant and so our internal protection mechanisms kick in via the subconscious. It now begins to warn us if we are in a similar situation. As this part of us cannot speak it communicates with us by giving us physical symptoms as well as feelings of worry.
Anxiety may always trigger in certain situations, for example, being near a spider but the severity of the anxiety can be changed by what we do in our lives. In particular, stress is highly likely to move anxiety levels upwards whilst relaxation and calm will do the opposite. Stress is however only one thing that influences our anxiety levels. There are many other factors as well. We are going to be talking about 10 things to stop doing if you have anxiety to help you make better choices for your mental well-being.
Can Anxiety Stop You From Doing Things?
It is important that you read the list and start to implement some of the suggestions or change what you are doing in order to help your mental health. If you don’t then anxiety can begin to spread and take over your life. The bigger it becomes the more it starts to impact the way in which you live. In extreme cases, it can stop people from interacting with others completely and prevent them from even leaving the house.
This protection mechanism is that part of your subconscious mind that wants to keep you safe. The only problem is that it will go to extremes to do this even when there is no danger present. You need to help that part of your mind to understand that keeping you safe is one thing but keeping you trapped is another thing entirely.
How Can I Kill Anxiety Naturally?
So can you kill off anxiety naturally? Well yes, it is entirely possible to reduce and even eradicate most anxiety just by using natural methods. The exceptions may be in cases where there are severe mental health issues, illnesses or behavioural problems from birth. You can always talk to your doctor to see if they believe natural methods would work for you.
It is well known that one natural method of stopping anxiety is any form of talking therapy. Talking therapies include cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling and hypnotherapy. All of these therapies are entirely natural and can help you to understand more about what messages your anxiety is giving you and what can be done to help. We even have an online anxiety course to help our clients use self-help methods to reduce anxiety that you can buy online.
These 10 things to stop doing in you have anxiety will also hopefully make a big difference to how you feel.
How to Stop Anxiety Thoughts
We recommend starting to change the following to help you make improvements to your anxiety levels.
Poor Sleep and Anxiety
Are you getting enough sleep or are you trying to burn the candle at both ends? With our modern busy lifestyles, it can be all too easy to get less sleep than we actually really need. How many of you have stayed up far too late in the evening playing games online, watching films or even catching up on work?
It is a modern phenomenon that our ancestors never had to deal with before. We are more switched on electronically than ever which is problematic and we also have far more choices than we have ever had in the past. You can go out to clubs and bars, go to the cinema really late and even go to the gym after hours. The temptation is always there to keep your brain switched on when it needs to switch off.
In order to start controlling your anxiety levels, you need to get a good nights sleep. Not just one night but every night if you can. That means making adjustments to your routines. Meet your friends earlier or at weekends. Put a cut off time when you down tools and stop working (well before bed) and cut out social media use in the bedroom.
You can also listen to a guided meditation for sleep audio to help quieten your brain as you get ready to fall asleep. By sleeping well you are stopping tiredness, irritability, poor decision making and cutting down your anxiety levels.
Being Near Negative People
Some people are toxic full stop and sap your energy. They may be the kind of people who are always asking for favours and giving nothing back. Or they might make snide remarks that undermine you or make you feel small. If you have these people in your life then it is time to start banishing them from your life.
People who make you feel bad or who spread negativity are not helpful in your anxiety recovery journey. In this list of 10 things to stop doing if you have anxiety this is a biggie.
I am afraid this also needs to include relationships that aren’t working for you. If your partner is controlling, rude and generally a nasty person it is time to claim your freedom. They are not changing and they will bring you down and cause your anxiety to spike. Whilst it may seem difficult to do at the time you will feel significant benefits when you are feeling happier and away from their sphere of influence.
Not Taking Exercise
Exercise is a wonderful thing. Not only does it help us to feel physically healthy but it also impacts our psychological health as well. Study after study has shown the positive benefits of exercise on our mental health.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle could be making your anxiety significantly worse. This means you need to resolve to do some exercise to help change how you are feeling. Remember you never need to go to extremes when it comes to exercise. Find something you can learn to love rather than trying to force yourself to do something you hate.
Walking is one of the easiest. Just up the pace and leave your car at home when you can. It costs you nothing and allows you to get fresh air and start moving your body. If that is not for you then consider swimming, dancing, yoga or even circus skills.
Are you a person who thrives on stress? Well, I hate to break it to you the more stress that you have in your life the worse your anxiety is likely to get. If you want to improve your anxiety levels you need to take a long hard look at the areas of your life that are causing some stress and start to make some changes. This is your number one priority in your list of 10 things to stop doing if you have anxiety.
Stress can come at us from many directions. That may be from friends, family, our work or even from ourselves. Take time to write down what causes stress in your life and see what you can do to mitigate it. You will never be able to cut out every bit of stress but you will be able to lower it significantly.
That means if a family member is always leaning on you to do things for them that they are perfectly capable of doing themselves you need to start saying no. If you have children and they are clubs every night of the week that you have to take them to you need to start reducing the number of places they attend. If you spend hours in the supermarket each month sort out online shopping and take back some of your time.
Attack your areas of stress so that you have a breathing space. Take time for yourself where you can do things you love and practice self-care. This time is never wasted but essential to your mental well-being.
Avoidance and Anxiety
Did you know that the more you avoid the thing that you fear the bigger it gets? If not then you need to know that trying to escape from your fears will only make them worse. The more you avoid the problem the higher your anxiety levels become meaning your fears can get out of control.
A simple example of this might be a worry about driving. You start off worrying about going on a motorway so you start to try and avoid them and drive the back routes. Then your mind worries that dual carriageways are an issue so you stop using them as well. Now you only drive locally but worry about being anywhere busy. Eventually, you decide that driving is too scary and you stop completely.
If you are avoiding things that make you anxious you need to start a program of practising what you fear. You can start small and slowly build up your confidence until the anxiety starts to fade away. A therapist can help you if you feel you need assistance. The more you confront those fears the smaller they will seem allowing your anxiety to reduce.
Social Media Overload
Social media has crept up on us over the last ten to fifteen years and is having a profound impact on the way we live our lives. Once upon a time, you might have just has one account and posted a few things. Now you probably have four or five accounts and are spending a good part of your evening scrolling your feeds and looking at what others are doing.
The problem is that social media can be toxic in a number of ways:
- It keeps our brains active and doesn’t allow us to switch them off to rest and relax.
- It shows us lifestyles that are either unattainable or that are false because of filters and trickery.
- Some of the people who use it are happy to comment and be frankly rude and disrespectful even if they have never met you.
- It allows people to “stalk” ex-partners and their friends to see what they are doing.
If you are finding that social media is adding to your anxiety levels then you need to do something about it. Start with a social media detox by unfollowing all the accounts and people that are making you feel bad about yourself or making your anxiety rise. Follow accounts that post positive comments and make you feel good.
The start to put a strict limit on the time that you are spending on it in the day. Hours of social media usage is not good for your anxiety so start to reduce the time you spend on these platforms especially before bed. In this list of 10 things to stop doing if you have anxiety it is important to recognise this as a positive change and can have a profound impact on your well-being.
Believing Your Negative Thoughts
In our list of 10 things to stop doing if you have anxiety this is always an interesting topic. Had you ever stopped to consider whether what your mind is telling you is real? If you were not aware our minds lie to us all the time. The key to helping your anxiety is in understanding what thoughts you need to listen to and what you can safely ignore.
A person may have anxiety say of not being good enough or a fear of failure. The negative self-critical voice will tell them that they can’t do things. That they aren’t good enough so why bother trying. The problem is that this negative voice was created by a part of your mind when you were much younger and forged usually by the opinion of someone else. In reality, what the voice is telling you has no bearing in truth.
In order to change your thoughts, you should start to recognise them when they start to appear and then begin to challenge and question them. You can use positive affirmations, self-hypnosis and visualisation to thing of a different outcome. The more you practice the positive thoughts the more likely it is that the negative ones will start to disappear.
Life is no much more than waking up going to work, coming home, cooking and cleaning, sleeping and then doing the same the next day. In order to feel good, your other needs have to be met as well. That means finding time in your day to do things that you love and make you feel good.
Perhaps you always have a better start to your day if you spend 15 minutes meditating first. Alternatively, you may love to read and allowing yourself a half-hour in the evening to immerse yourself in a good book makes you content. Creating a self-care routine that incorporates daily time out as well as weekly and monthly can be great for your mental health.
You can read more about our self-care tips and strategies in our blog on the subject. Take time out to explore your needs and start finding ways to implement them. When you are happier and doing the things you love it is harder to be anxious.
Working Too Hard
We should be working to live rather than living to work. Far too many people get this completely the wrong way round. Never let your job start to consume your life to the point where everything else gets ignored. Your job should be only a small part of who you are rather than the whole story.
Some of the pressure with work can come from your company itself but in many cases, it is employee putting pressure on themselves that creates the problem. They start to make a habit of staying late every evening to get a little more work done. They take work home and try and get ahead to answering emails late into the evening. They spend their weekends creating a presentation or preparing for a big conference. Your employer has never asked them to do this but they took it on themselves to allow work to encroach in their lives.
The reality is you need to take a step back and realise that whilst performing well at work is important it is not something that you should be doing every waking minute of your day. You need to create a work/life balance in your life in order to create downtime. Without this time to breathe your anxiety will only get worse.
Drinking Too Much
Far too many of our clients have started to use alcohol as an anxiety and stress management system. Every night they reach for a glass of wine and before they know it that glass has turned into a bottle and they have zoned out completely. Many do this night after night. They are not living but are instead just about functioning in an alcohol haze.
None of these people are traditional alcoholics but they have started to self-medicate with a substance that actually makes things worse. Ever heard of hangxiety? It simply means feeling worse anxiety the day following a drinking episode. So if you thinking about drinking to relieve anxiety forget it as it only increases your problem.
To make matters worse it also impacts your sleep taking us right back to the very first point in our 10 things to stop doing if you have anxiety list.
If you are using alcohol as a way of switching off then you need to start to get back control over your drinking habits. Our FREE drink less cheat sheet can help. Just click to get the download and start changing your bad habit.
How to Stop Feeling Anxious
We hope you have found our 10 things to stop doing if you have anxiety list useful. We know that taking these steps can be a huge help as we have assisted thousands of clients over the years to manage their anxiety and change how they feel. All of these methods can be implemented through self-help but if you feel you need an extra hand then please do get in touch. Our four-session anxiety reduction therapy program can be taken online with a therapist wherever you are in the world. Simply fill out the form below to get more information.
If you would like to try and identify the triggers for your anxiety yourself then why not use our anxiety tracker printables to help. Our 8 printables consist of worksheets to identify and challenge anxiety triggers and thoughts. Plus there are positive affirmations to use and a diary sheet to journal your feelings. You can purchase these in our online shop for instant download.
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