Anxiety is something that many of us live with every day. It’s that gnawing feeling in the pit of our stomachs that something isn’t quite right.
But where does it come from, exactly? That’s a good question.
It turns out that there isn’t a single answer, and it very much depends on the type of anxiety that you have.
Acute anxiety is easy to understand because the cause is so readily identifiable. You may experience this type of anxiety, for instance, if you approach a field with an angry-looking bull standing in the corner.
But what about long-term, non-specific anxiety? Where does that come from? That’s a little harder to answer. It turns out that all kinds of things could be behind it, from family relationships to excessive levels of cortisol.
In this post, we take a look at where your anxiety might be coming from and what you can do to alleviate it. Read on to find out more.
Caffeine is a stimulant chemical that gives you an artificial rush of energy when you drink it. For many people, it is an essential part of their routine – something they require to get through the day.
Unfortunately, caffeine has a dark side that very few people talk about: the fact that it can produce anxiety in some people. Caffeine increases the level of alertness chemicals in the body to the point where you can feel jittery and anxious.
If you take coffee or tea in the morning, consider reducing your intake. You will find that after a while, you’ll naturally feel alert in the morning and ready to face the day without glugging down cup after cup of Joe.
Some longevity researchers, such as Dr. David Sinclair, suggests that people occasionally skip meals to improve their long-term health. It turns out that extended periods without food are actually quite good for the body.
Unfortunately, they also lead to elevated cortisol which, as you might expect, can make you feel anxious.
The reason this happens is quite simple: when the body is low on calories, it goes into a pro-stress state. It knows that if it is going to survive, it needs to find more energy from somewhere. In response to this, the brain starts sending out stress signals to encourage you to get up and find food.
If you find yourself feeling panicky, it could just be because you haven’t eaten enough. Make sure that you get balanced meals throughout the day that provide all the nutrients your body requires. Always be sure to fill up on plenty of veggies if you can.
Thinking about the same negative thoughts over and over again changes your brain chemistry and can eventually lead to chronic anxiety. Negative thoughts bring your brain chemistry out of a state of wellbeing and into a destructive state. The body prepares itself for a fight, causing blood pressure to rise and stress hormones to flood all your tissues. Eventually, it becomes overwhelming.
Escaping negative thinking is challenging because it can be quite addictive. You become accustomed to the rush of negative thoughts, and that’s what makes you feel alive.
Many people in this position find out about online hypnotherapy and how it might help them. They use therapists to work through their pain and change their thought patterns. Often adjusting how the mind reacts to certain triggers on an unconscious level can change how people feel on a conscious level.
Stress and anxiety are not the same, but they are linked. Stress is a feeling of heightened alertness where you are trying to battle through problems that the external world is throwing at you. Anxiety on the other hand is often something that continues long term and includes elements of panic and fear.
Stress, though, can worsen anxiety symptoms by encouraging you to engage in activities that make anxiety worse, such as eating less (or more), consuming alcohol, or neglecting your sleep.
Some Specific Medications
We typically think of medications as being substances that help to relieve anxiety but, in many cases, the opposite is true. Drugs can make you feel uneasy or unwell.
There are actually quite a few medications that affect your wellbeing. Cough and congestion medications, for instance, can make you feel jittery and affect your sleep. So too can birth control pills and medications designed to help you lose weight.
If you are using any of these meds and you don’t feel like yourself, tell your doctor. They may be able to change to a different type of medicine which gets on with your body better.
Financial worries are a significant issue for many people at the moment. Most people are either working less or earning less than they were before the pandemic. What’s more, many people in society are also struggling with unexpected bills and excessive debt, leading to feelings of entrapment, guilt and panic.
There are two ways you can go about dealing with financial worries: internal and external. Internal methods involve changing how you perceive your financial situation. These methods teach you to view problems in a different way. Instead of worrying all the time about how you’ll make ends meet, you give up the anxiety and just assume that you’ll be okay anyway. For instance, if the worst comes to the worst, you’ll just move to cheaper accommodation, sell the car, or go and live with your parents. Nothing is going to go seriously wrong with your life.
The external method involves bringing your finances under control so that they are no longer a worry to you. If you are struggling, you can go and see a financial advisor. They often have excellent advice for how you can use your money better.
The best approach is to combine the two: work on your relationship with money and solve any problems that you might have in the real world.
For many people, health problems are a major anxiety trigger. They worry that they will never be able to get healthy again. They fear that they will not be able to enjoy life in the future as they did in the past.
Health problems, however, come and go. What’s more, many of them are manageable. Over time, you can find remedies for health issues and adapt to changes in your life.
Conflict At Work
Conflict at work is probably the biggest trigger of anxiety in the modern world. People worry endlessly about their relationships with their colleagues.
If conflict is an issue, seek counselling and advisory services. If you work in a large firm, you’ll often find that there are people you can talk to about the issues that you face. These mental health experts can help you improve your approach to conflict and deal with it in a healthier way.
People with PTSD-related anxiety often become more anxious in response to environmental triggers. For instance, if you got PTSD after being mugged by somebody on a bike, then you might feel anxious every time somebody cycles past.
In many cases, the negative reaction is totally unconscious. Your conscious mind isn’t even aware of it immediately – there’s a delay.
There are many talk therapy-based treatments for PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy can rewire the brain and enable people to see trauma-related triggers in a new light.
In summary, living with anxiety can be challenging and lead to symptoms such as muscle tension, elevated heart rate and panic. However, it is something that people can eventually overcome.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.