7 common causes of anxiety
1 – Money
Money is top of mind for most people these days so it’s hardly surprising that the majority of us are feeling the strain when it comes to financial issues. It might not be the key to happiness, but we all still depend on our income so, when it seems things could be going wrong or change is ahead, stress is an instinctive and natural reaction which can sow the seeds for anxiety. Interestingly, financial troubles aren’t just rooted in more established generations – according to studies, those in their early to mid-twenties are also feeling the pressure when it comes to their bank balance, with money worries being a leading cause of stress amongst Millennials too!1
What can you do to tackle money troubles?
When it comes to your finances, the options available to you depend a lot on your individual situation. If job security is stressing you out, my advice would be to get organised. Is your CV up to date? Are you developing your skills as much as possible? The more you prioritise these two issues, the more secure you’ll feel and the more able you will be to potentially find more stable employment.
However, if debt is a bigger problem for you then it’s really important that you speak to someone about it. The NHS offer a more comprehensive insight into how to cope with this particular type of anxiety but if you’re trying to address your money troubles, I would start by contacting Citizen’s Advice. They can provide advice tailored to your situation as well as information on benefits and how to deal with debt.
2 – Personal conflict
It doesn’t matter whether it’s with a friend, a co-worker, family member or significant other, conflict of any kind can be extremely stressful and is more than capable of inducing anxiety. You might start to feel as though your relationship is in danger or worry that you’re undervalued or that the person simply doesn’t care about your thoughts or feelin
gs. Not only does this play havoc with your moods, it can also lead to deep seated feelings of self-doubt that can be extremely difficult to shrug off.
What can you do to tackle conflict?
Conflict can be difficult to deal with as it is involves other people and you cannot always account for their actions or feelings. Ideally, if you have a close or amicable relationship with this person, you should be able to try and talk to them to achieve some sort of resolution. Depending on who you’re speaking to though, especially if it’s in a work environment, it’s easy to feel wracked with nerves and doubts. That’s why it might be worth trying our Confidence Essence to help you overcome these negative emotions and find the resolve to air your thoughts and feelings honestly and sincerely.
3 – Eating habits
What you eat can play a significant role in determining your overall health and wellbeing but it can also impact your moods too. When it comes to anxiety though, there are a few specific habits and foods to watch out for; firstly, you need to make sure that you are eating small, regular meals. If you start to skip meals like breakfast and lunch then your blood sugar levels will drop which can lead to a plethora of unhappy symptoms, including irritability, unhealthy cravings, fatigue and anxiety.
Certain beverages like coffee and alcohol may not outright trigger anxiety but they can worsen or contribute it. Caffeine, for instance, acts as a stimulant so it can influence your ‘fight or flight’ reflexes. One study found that those already suffering from social anxiety disorder were especially sensitive to the effects of caffeine.2 Alcohol on the other hand, can be problematic for a number of reasons, as it’s often used as a coping mechanism which can lead to serious issues such as addiction.
What can you do to tackle unhealthy eating habits?
As I’ve already mentioned, eating regular meals is a really important step when it comes to tackling blood sugar issues and anxiety. These meals should be varied and hopefully include a variety of fruit, veg, protein and healthy fats as these all contain nutrients like magnesium, which can help to promote not just your mood, but your energy levels and immune function too! Try to reduce your intake of refined sugars, caffeine and alcohol and instead replace with healthier alternatives – over at A.Vogel Talks Low Mood I mention the ‘dopamine diet’ which might be worth investigating!
4 – Social media
An official report from the NHS has indicated that, for young people between the ages of 11-19, social media could potentially be a source of anxiety.3 In this study, it was found that many teens were spending over 4 hours a day on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram and that they were more likely to make negative comparisons between themselves and other users. Of course, this can still hold true even if you are older than 19 as often people feel their self-worth hinges on how many online ‘friends’ they have or that their life is in some way lacking compared to other peoples.
What can you do to tackle bad social media habits?
Back in the good old days of older social media platforms like MSN, the only way you could connect with the world was through your computer screen. Thanks to smartphones though, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are now a constant presence in most of our lives and it’s never been easier to scroll through new messages and alerts.
That’s why the first thing I would suggest is to objectively look at how much social media time your banking every day and to think about ways of reducing this, especially later on in the evening. Digital sleep deprivation is real as the blue light emitted from your phone can inhibit your production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. If you’re feeling anxious, the last thing you need is a poor night of sleep so it’s really important that you keep on top of this.
It’s also important to remember that what’s portrayed on social media often isn’t the reality so it’s never a good idea to draw comparisons!
5 – Public speaking
Public speaking can be a real source of anxiety for some people as it forces them to be the centre of attention in front of a crowd. There’s always the nagging fear that they’re going to stumble their words or humiliate themselves in front of an audience and sometimes, even weeks in advance of a presentation they can experience symptoms such a dizziness, digestive upsets, nausea and stress. This has in turn lead to many people avoiding public speaking as much as possible, even turning down promotions or important positions such as being the ‘Best Man’ at a wedding.
What can you do to tackle public speaking anxiety?
If you’re trying to overcome your fear of public speaking then I have some good news for you! Fortunately, I’ve already tackled this issue extensively in my blog, ‘9 tips for overcoming performance anxiety in public speaking’ which offers helpful tips and solutions for minimising the stress involved with speaking in front of a crowd.
6 – Medication
It’s one thing to suffer from anxiety when you can do something to tackle the cause but, sometimes, it’s the medication we’re prescribed by a doctor that can stimulate the emotion. This then poses a difficult problem – you’re probably on the medication for a reason, possibly even to tackle a serious illness which means that you can’t simply come off it. What then are your options?
What can you do to tackle the mood-related side effects of medication?
If you’ve been prescribed medication by your doctor and you feel it’s adversely affecting your mood then it’s important that you make this known. Don’t just grit your teeth and hope it eventually goes away, especially if it’s impacting your quality of life! Speak to your doctor and ask if there are any alternate options available – they should be able to work with you to find a resolution that suits your needs.
7 – Family
If you’re in a position where you have to look after children or ageing relatives then this is probably a big cause of stress and anxiety for you. You might be struggling to cope with the demands placed on your shoulders or you may lie awake at night worrying about a particular family member. This can be extremely distressing and at times isolating, as you may feel as though you’re alone or even unappreciated.
What can you do to tackle your family worries?
Family worries are tricky as you have to account for the feelings and reactions of other people. If you’re the caregiver in your family then you probably feel guilty for saying ‘no’ to somebody or asking for help if you need it. However, it’s important that you do speak to those around you – you can’t be expected to look after other people if you’re not capable of first taking care of yourself. This doesn’t make you selfish or unloving – if you’re happier in yourself then it’s going to rub off on those around you.
Take the time to explain how you’re feeling or, if you’re a carer, I would recommend reaching out to organisations such as Citizen’s Advice or Carers Trust. They should be able to offer more help and guidance, taking your individual situation into account.
Are there any herbal remedies that can help?
I’ve already mentioned the benefits of Confidence Essence when it comes to addressing problems such as conflict or performance but if you’re more interested in specifically tackling the symptoms of anxiety then I would definitely suggest trying our gentle remedy AvenaCalm.
Prepared using the oat herb (Avena sativa) which contains antioxidant polyphenols, this tincture can help to prevent oxidative stress which can interfere with your neural pathways and brain activities. This can help to relax your body, making you more resistant to mild symptoms of stress and anxiety. If taken close to bedtime it can also help to support your sleep patterns so, if you’re tossing and turning at night, this could be a really good option for you!