10 Things You Should Stop Doing If You Have Anxiety: As you learn more about yourself and what causes your anxiety, it’s important to note what things you should stop doing when you’re feeling anxious.
These certain things contribute to your anxiety and weigh you down.
It’s basically impossible to move forward with relieving your anxious thoughts without digging a little deeper and focusing on the root of the problem.
10 Things You Should Stop Doing If You Have Anxiety
That starts with realizing the bad habits you’ve become accustomed to and changing them. We all have our own ways of thinking and triggers that make us anxious.
These are some of the most common things that people do that make their anxiety worse, and what you can start putting an end to today.
If you get anything from this post, please try to remember this: avoiding things that make you anxious will only result in you feeling more anxious.
In short, stop avoiding what’s right in front of you. This is giving your anxious thoughts exactly what they want.
For you to isolate yourself and ignore all signs that you’re struggling or need help.
Examples of avoidance are:
- Drinking at a party to make social interactions more tolerable
- Being on your phone in a public setting to avoid eye contact
- Calling in sick to work on a day you have to give a speech
Avoiding things makes it difficult to build strong relationships with people. When you become isolated it is also a lot harder to reach out to people when you desperately need it.
Trying to fight your anxiety
Your anxiety doesn’t have to be your best friend, but it also doesn’t have to be your ultimate nemesis either.
It’s possible to find a happy medium with anxiety. That means that you’re able to get through the day without a panic attack or breaking down.
Stop trying to fight away your anxious thoughts and feelings. They are there for a reason, and you can instead work on figuring out what’s causing your anxiety in the first place.
Look your anxiety in the face and tell it that you’re here to stay. Read more about battling anxiety here.
This is honestly what causes most of my anxiety. I’m a people pleaser and care too much what other people think.
When I used to get home from work each day, I would quickly think over in my head how the day went and how each conversation went.
I overthink SO much! But, something that has helped is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness slows down your thoughts and allows you to be more in the present moment instead of worrying about things you can't control.
You learn to accept your thoughts instead of trying to fight them all of the time, which reduces anxiety and calms you down.
Be sure to download these free mindfulness activities for anxiety if you'd like to learn more!
Not taking care of yourself
There’s a cycle that starts when you become anxious. Anxiety is caused by feeling worried and stressed by certain things in your life.
Then, being anxious & stressed all the time leads to feeling fatigued and burnt out.
When you reach burn out mode, taking care of yourself goes out the window.
This is when we tend to reach for the comfort food and do whatever we can to get by. Ignoring our needs in order to survive.
It’s time to put a stop to this! You’re the only one who can end the cycle.
That starts with deciding to put yourself first and making a daily commitment to do something that benefits you in some way.
Drinking too much caffeine
I love coffee almost as much as my dogs… but with that comes its own limits.
You can have caffeine just work on limiting it to one or two cups a day (preferable first thing in the morning).
Caffeine screws up with your sleep schedule if you drink too much of it at night. And alack of sleep leads to higher anxiety levels.
Stop tearing yourself down! You’re not a failure because you have anxiety.
Try to let go of trying to be perfect and stop that inner critic in your head.
Anytime you hear a negative voice in your head saying you’re not good enough, counteract it. For every bad thought you have about yourself, make it a challenge to find something good about yourself.
Try to even out the playing field a little bit.
Drinking should be an occasional thing, like for birthdays or holidays.
Especially if you’re currently taking anti-depressants to help with your anxiety. Alcohol lowers your serotonin levels… basically reversing any positive side effects your medicine is giving you.
And I’m sure you’d rather wake up in the morning feeling refreshed instead of groggy and irritated.
Falling into a deep negative thinking trap
Rumination is what the professionals call it. Basically, you have repetitive negative thoughts going on in your mind.
These thoughts turn into problems that never get solved. Constant negative thinking is where you start to feel like the victim to your life and don’t believe you’re worthy of anything.
This negative thinking trap is also where you develop high levels of anxiety because you start to worry about a specific outcome to a situation before it even happens.
Rumination is a difficult thing to overcome, so don’t expect it to happen overnight.
Talking to a therapist or a professional can help you walk through these thoughts and finally move forward.
Black or white thinking
It’s either all or nothing, there’s no in-between. Well, when you have anxiety there has to be an in-between.
Black or white thinking leads to procrastination and feeling like everything has to be perfect or else it’s not worth trying.
Try to work on finding the gray colors throughout your day. Set up your expectations and try to lower them. This doesn’t mean you have to settle for less, it just means you won’t get disappointed so easily.
Learn a new skill today
If you have a test coming up that you need to get an A on, work on expecting a B. Or if you hate change in your life, accepting the fact that change will happen is a grey area.
Letting go of black and white thinking means you are learning to accept things the way that they are, without feeling disappointed in the process.
Assumptions hurt everyone involved. When you assume your boyfriend wants to take you out to dinner, but he assumes you’ll cook dinner at home, a fight is getting ready to boil.
The main way you can get rid of assuming is by communicating better. If you think a co-worker is upset at you, be upfront and ask them.
Or if you assume your boyfriend is taking you out to dinner, shoot him a quick text to double-check.
Lastly, if you do jump to conclusions too soon, forgive yourself and everyone involved.
It’s so easy to get frustrated and blow up on somebody because you assumed something different in your head.
Take a few deep breaths and recognize what went wrong, then focus on moving forward. This will help reduce anxiety levels.
When it comes to changing your negative thoughts, avoidance, or assuming things, these habits are difficult to change.
Typically, these habits were formed long ago, when you were a kid. Based off how others treated you, you started to believe certain things about yourself.
My point is it won’t be easy to change old habits, but you definitely can do it. I just want you to be patient with yourself and realize that improving your mental health is a lifestyle change.
It won’t instantly happen, but the more work you put into it, the less anxious you will feel and the happier you will become.
Enroll in my happiness-boosting mental wellness course today. Here's a sneak preview from one of the lessons, which tals about managing stress and anxiety: