Even if you don't realise it, habits literally make up our entire day. The way we brush our hair, tie our shoelaces, put our clothes on are all habits. However, some of our habits aren't all that good for us.
Some of our habits could be causing us to stress out more than we should be. And who wants that? Especially because stress could be stopping you from reaching your health goals. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and seek ways to de-stress.
Sadly even though you think you are doing the right thing, you could be making it worse.
If you feel like you are constantly stressed and pulling your hair out, check out these habits that could be causing it. There is no better time than now to change your habits!
Here are some things that stressed-out people tend to do:
Habit #1 - Eating the wrong foods
People don't realise how much food can affect our mental health. Often when we are stressed or had a bad day all we want to do is sit down with some "comfort" food. However often feeding our stressed feelings can actually leave us feeling worse, both physically and mentally.
This is because many "comfort" foods like ice cream and potato chips actually contain chemicals that can boost stress and anxiety. Plus usually, we eat way too much of these foods at once just giving us a stomach ache.
If you do feel like you need to eat when feeling stressed eat foods that contain chemicals like serotonin that can actually give us a feel-good boost. Around 90% of serotonin is produced in our gut, so what we feed our gut is really important.
Avoid foods containing saturated fat and refined sugars as a start!
Habit #2 - Drinking too much caffeine
Don't worry you don't have to give up coffee altogether. However, I do want to tell you that drinking multiple cups of coffee a day can overstimulate you. Meaning you could be unnecessarily anxious and on edge from the caffeine. So my recommendation is to keep the caffeine to a minimum.
Habit #3 - Smoking cigarettes
Many smokers think that smoking is calming their nerves. However, the truth is that smoking is actually just relieving their nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
The truth is nicotine and smoking actually makes anxiety worse and can even cause anxiety in the first place. Cigarette smoke negatively affects the biological systems responsible for mood and anxiety disorders. Not only does smoking cause structural brain changes but it weakens your immune system oxidative and nitrogen stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and epigenetic effects in pathogenesis.
By now, everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health.
Fortunately, your body is extremely resilient, and many negative effects of smoking cigarettes can be reversed. Many smokers who quit actually report feeling less anxious and depressed after only a few weeks of quitting.
Habit #4 - Drinking alcohol
Just like smoking, regularly drinking alcohol can actually make your anxiety and stress worse. Now don't get me wrong, you probably will feel better at the moment. However, when the alcohol wears off you will most likely feel more wound up and even more stressed out.
Alcohol interferes with the serotonin levels in the brain, which as I mentioned above actually makes us feels better.
Personally I don't drink alcohol at all, because I found drinking actually caused me to have a panic attack. This is because, on a physiological level, you experience symptoms similar to those that come with anxiety... Like headaches, nausea, dehydration, dizziness, drop in blood sugar, difficulty concentrating and increased heart rate.
For most people having a drink occasionally is generally safe. However, if you begin to rely on alcohol to cope with your anxiety, you’ll find that you need to drink more and more to get the same effect. This, in turn, can lead to a dangerous addiction and can stop you from being able to cope with stress and anxiety in a healthy way.
Quitting alcohol can include some awesome benefits, including elevated mood, increased confidence, better concentration and improved sleep quality.
Habit #5 - Not drinking enough water
In previous blog posts, I have talked about the importance of water, and this is just another reason why we need to make sure we are drinking enough water. Drinking plenty of water is one of the easiest ways to reduce anxiety.
Studies have shown that even mild dehydration causes stress, confusion, tension and fatigue. This is because your brain and organs are not getting the water they need to function properly.
And think about it like I mentioned above both coffee and alcohol can make your anxiety and stress worse. But it can take up to three times the amount of water to flush out these beverages.
Habit #6 - Not getting enough sleep
Sleep is essential for our well-being. If we don't get enough it can make us sluggish, cranky and just not our best selves. If you are between the ages of 18 and 64 you should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep nightly.
I am sure you have heard this before but if you have difficulty sleeping, put away all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. And create a more healthful bedtime routine like reading, journaling, drinking sleepytime tea or meditating.
Habit #7 - Not exercising
When we are busy we often try to eliminate tasks to free up some time. However, instead of cutting down the tv or social media time, we choose to cut out exercise instead.
This is the last thing you want to happen! Yes, it may take up a little time but it is a great way to get those endorphins flowing. But remember you don't have to work out for a long time, something is better than nothing. So if you can only fit in 15minutes, that all good. Just remember every step counts.
Studies show that even just a 10-minute walk can relieve anxiety and stress.
Habit #8 - Constantly checking social media
Studies show that social media is a major source of stress for many people. Constantly checking sites like Facebook and Instagram is one of the most common habits that make anxiety worse.
This is because it can lower your self-esteem, productivity, sleep and even cause you to isolate yourself.
If you are constantly checking social media it might be time for a social media detox.
Habit #9 - Constantly venting
Yes, venting can feel good and it can help, however, venting all the time isn't as good. If you get to a point where negative things are all you talk about, they are going to end up being all you think about as well.
So have a little rant, get whatever you to do off your chest, but afterwards let is go and be done with it. You don't want whatever was bother you to bog you down.
Habit #10 - Rushing through life
As a society, we are all rushing around trying to fit in work, friends, exercise and self-care. It can seem like an impossible task so we rush through everything and are anxious about not getting it all done. But it is time to remember to enjoy our lives. After all, what is the point of all our hard work if we don't enjoy the benefits of it.
So take a minute to slow down and enjoy your day.
That is all 10 tips! I hope they help you find ways to de-stress so you can start enjoying your life again.
What you should do now
I have been where you are and I have women all over the world (just like you) transition to eating a plant-based diet. If you are looking for a guide to help you find the healthiest way to eat, check out these blog posts it is a great place to start.
If you are interested in weight loss, download this fantastic FREE Mini Weight Loss Guide and other resources.
If you would like to fast track your weight loss, check out my Weight Loss Starter Kit.
And finally, if you want to join the Where My Footsteps Go Community click here.