18 Hidden Sources of Anxiety in Your Life

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Anxiety is one of the most common forms of mental illnesses in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. You can stop feeding your anxiety and let go of the bad habits that are making your feel worse. Housework, your job, high expectations, family issues - they all often lead to extra stress.  But what about the not so obvious triggers?


Digestive disorders

Your digestive system may be directly related to your emotions. Have you ever had "gut feelings" or butterflies in your stomach? This is one of the many ways your brain and digestive system are related. Stress and anxiety lead to the release of hormones that affect the entire digestive system. It can cause indigestion, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers and changes in serotonin levels.


Spending time with the wrong people

Spending time with people who have a negative influence on you is one of the worst things you can do. Those suffering from anxiety are more prone to having a negative mindset; therefore, it is important to put yourself around positive people. They can lift up your spirits and make you laugh, which will help you see life with a more optimistic attitude.


Being alone

One of the worst things you can do when suffering from anxiety is to be alone with your thoughts. When you allow yourself to be the victim of anxiety instead of someone doing whatever it takes to overcome it, you are causing further destruction to yourself. Do not mope around; you are only letting the anxiety take more control over you. Get out and do something fun, spend time with a friend, go to the gym or see a therapist to work through your feelings.



Caffeine is a stimulant; it already causes a person who doesn't have anxiety to feel jittery and awake. For someone dealing with the condition, caffeine will only increase the heart rate, making him or her feel nervous and moody. Caffeine can cause a person suffering from anxiety to be more susceptible to panic attacks.



Alcohol and other drugs may make you feel as if you're anxious feelings have passed, but it will only make your anxiety worse in the long run. In some cases you may reach to alcohol or other drugs to relieve the emotions, only to find yourself withdrawing when off the substance. This, too, will make your anxiety worse. Try seeking healthy outlet, go jogging, or see a therapist.


Digital devices

They are the worst, especially of you use them in bed or just before bedtime. They are shifting your biological rhythm in the wrong direction, possibly causing sleep problems. Your body needs darkness to produce melatonin, which puts you to sleep. The brightness from the screen of your smart phone or tablet prevents that from happening.


Your sports team

Any soccer fans who were not cheering for France in this year's World Cup know what this means. Your favorite team losing, especially if it was a tight game, doesn't only make you sad. Adrenaline is released and blood flow to the heart is released. This also happens with "good stress." It lasts just for a few seconds; however, chronic stress will take a toll on your mental health.


Social media

Data show there are circumstances under which the social use of digital technology increases awareness of stressful events in the lives of others, according to the Pew Research Center. Greater awareness is tied to higher levels of stress and it has been called "the cost of caring." Aside from that, frequent social media use has been linked to negative body image, which is a major anxiety trigger.



Headaches can be a common symptom - and sometimes a good indicator - of an anxiety disorder, particularly generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Migraine headaches may precede the onset of mental disorders, a study suggests. The occurrences over a lifetime of depression, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder are significantly higher in migraine sufferers.


Some meds

Medications comes with side effects. Prolonged use of even one category of pills can lead to high blood pressure and uneven breathing. There appears to be a high comorbidity of anxiety disorders in patients with asthma, research shows. A combination of different kinds, such as opioids and alcohol, significantly increase the risks.



Multu-taskers are everywhere. Most people nowadays are trying to do several things at a time, thinking this will increase their productivity. However, it does the opposite - and it increases stress. People who juggled several tasks at a time experienced a higher workload, more stress, higher frustration, and more time pressure and effort, study shows.


Lack of motivation

A person realizing that a dream he or she has had for a long time is not going to become a reality, for whatever reason, leads to feeling an "empty place inside." You are probably the only person who knows how much this un-fulfillment of potential and regret has hurt you. That sentiment can lurk inside for a long time leading to stronger emotions such as anxiety feelings.



Generalized anxiety disorder is a heritable condition with a moderate genetic risk of about 30 percent, research shows. Within the anxiety spectrum, it is closely related to childhood separation anxiety, social phobia, and panic, whereas during later developmental stages, a shared genetic origin with other internalizing disorders, especially depression, becomes apparent.


Excessive fear

People suffering from anxiety disorders may have intrusive thoughts that constantly appear in their mind. They usually need to constantly check on others or items because they live with the fear that if they stop, something bad will happen.



Fatigue is a symptom of anxiety. People who struggle with anxiety may feel like they lack energy. They are always exhausted and even small tasks are draining. They feel "burnt out," and they have no stamina. Most likely, fatigue is caused simply as a result of your brain being overwhelmed with anxiety, according to the Calm Clinic.


Pursuing perfectionism

Even if perfectionism existed, trying to achieve it is not healthy. People who want everything to be perfect add unnecessary stress by, maybe, performing rituals or actions to make sure that things are "the way they are supposed to." Checking and rechecking your work, for example, because you think you may have overlooked a mistake is sure to bring on anxiety.


Other people's stress

Empathic stress is real and serious. In some cases and even in total strangers, even only virtually witnessing another's distress may have important implications for the development of stress-related diseases, research has shown.


Your pet

Owning a pet is known to improve one's health in many ways. However, any way you look at it, it is a tremendous responsibility. Feeding, making them exercise, taking them for a walk, cleaning after them, playing with them - and these are just the basics for healthy pets - can all add extra stress to your already busy days. The emotional connection can really take a toll if your pet gets sick.

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