Growth & Healing

16 Things That Make Anxiety Worse

If you struggle with anxiety, you know how overwhelming it can be.

Sometimes, it feels like your mind is working against you, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to shake off the feelings of worry and fear.

While there are many factors that can contribute to anxiety, there are also things that can making it worse.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common things that can exacerbate anxiety symptoms.

One of the biggest culprits when it comes to making anxiety worse is stress.

When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can trigger the fight or flight response.

While this response can be helpful in certain situations, it can also make anxiety symptoms more intense.

Additionally, chronic stress can lead to physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, and fatigue, which can further exacerbate anxiety.

Another thing that can make it worse is caffeine.

While many people rely on caffeine to help them stay alert and focused, it can also increase feelings of anxiety and nervousness.

This is because caffeine stimulates the production of adrenaline, which can trigger the fight or flight response.

If you’re prone to anxiety, it’s a good idea to limit your caffeine intake or avoid it altogether.

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Things That Make Anxiety Worse

Lifestyle Factors

Poor Sleep Hygiene

One of the major lifestyle factors making anxiety worse is poor sleep hygiene.

Not getting enough sleep or having a disrupted sleep pattern can lead to increased anxiety levels.

It is important to maintain a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and create a relaxing environment in your bedroom.

Unhealthy Diet

Your diet can also play a significant role in increasing anxiety levels.

Consuming high amounts of sugar, caffeine, and processed foods can lead to increased anxiety and panic attacks.

It is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

Lack of Exercise

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining good mental health.

A lack of physical activity can lead to increased anxiety levels and depression.

It is important to engage in regular exercise, such as walking, jogging, or yoga, to reduce anxiety and promote overall well-being.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse, including drugs and alcohol, can significantly worsen anxiety symptoms.

It is important to avoid or limit the use of these substances to reduce the risk of anxiety and other mental health problems.

Seeking professional help is important if you are struggling with substance abuse issues.

By taking steps to improve your sleep hygiene, diet, exercise routine, and avoiding substance abuse, you can help reduce anxiety levels and promote overall well-being.

things that make anxiety worse

Psychological Triggers

Anxiety can be triggered by a variety of psychological factors.

Understanding these triggers can help you manage your anxiety more effectively.

Stressful Events

Stressful events such as a job loss, financial difficulties, or the death of a loved one can trigger anxiety.

These events can cause a significant amount of emotional distress and can lead to feelings of helplessness and uncertainty.

It is important to seek support from family and friends during these difficult times.

Negative Thinking Patterns

Negative thinking patterns can also trigger anxiety.

Catastrophizing, which involves imagining the worst-case scenario, can lead to feelings of anxiety and panic.

Overgeneralizing, which involves making broad negative statements about yourself or the world around you, can also contribute to anxiety.

It is important to challenge these negative thoughts and replace them with more positive and realistic ones.

Overwhelming Responsibilities

Overwhelming responsibilities such as work, school, or caregiving can also trigger anxiety.

It can be helpful to break these responsibilities down into smaller, more manageable tasks.

Prioritizing tasks and setting realistic goals can also help reduce anxiety.

Personal Relationships

Personal relationships can also trigger anxiety.

Conflict with a partner or family member can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.

It is important to communicate openly and honestly with your loved ones and to seek support from a therapist or counselor if needed.

Overall, understanding your psychological triggers can help you manage your anxiety more effectively.

By identifying and addressing these triggers, you can take steps towards a healthier and more balanced life.

Environmental Influences

Work Environment

Your work environment can have a significant impact on your anxiety levels.

High-pressure jobs or jobs with a lot of deadlines can cause stress and anxiety.

A noisy or cluttered workspace can also be a source of anxiety.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, try to take breaks throughout the day to clear your head.

You can also try to make your workspace more comfortable by decluttering, adding plants, or using noise-cancelling headphones.

Social Media Exposure

Social media can be a double-edged sword when it comes to anxiety.

On one hand, it can be a great way to connect with others and find support.

On the other hand, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety.

Seeing other people’s seemingly perfect lives can make you feel inadequate or anxious.

It’s important to remember that people only show their highlight reel on social media and that everyone has struggles.

If social media is causing you anxiety, consider taking a break or limiting your use.

News Consumption

The news can be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking, especially if you’re constantly bombarded with negative stories.

While it’s important to stay informed, it’s also important to take breaks from the news when it becomes too much.

Consider setting limits on your news consumption or only reading news from reputable sources.

It’s also important to remember that the news often focuses on negative stories and that there are also positive things happening in the world.

Health-Related Concerns

Anxiety can be exacerbated by a variety of health-related concerns.

Here are a few examples:

Chronic Illnesses

If you have a chronic illness, you may be more prone to anxiety.

This is particularly true if your illness is unpredictable or causes pain.

Chronic illnesses can also lead to financial stress, which can exacerbate anxiety.

Medication Side Effects

Some medications can cause anxiety as a side effect.

For example, stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can increase anxiety in some people.

If you are experiencing anxiety as a side effect of medication, talk to your doctor about alternative options.

Caffeine and Sugar Intake

Caffeine and sugar are both known to increase anxiety.

Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase heart rate and cause jitters, while sugar can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes.

Reducing your intake of caffeine and sugar may help alleviate anxiety symptoms.

Overall, it is important to be aware of how your health-related concerns may be impacting your anxiety levels.

By taking steps to address these concerns, you may be able to reduce your anxiety and improve your overall well-being.

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Genetic and Biological Factors

Anxiety is a complex condition that can be caused by a variety of factors.

While environmental factors can play a significant role in the development of anxiety, genetic and biological factors can also contribute to the development of this condition.

Family History of Anxiety

If you have a family history of anxiety, you may be at a higher risk of developing this condition yourself.

Research has shown that anxiety disorders can be hereditary, which means that they can be passed down from one generation to the next.

If you have a parent or sibling who suffers from anxiety, you may be more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety yourself.

Neurological Imbalances

Anxiety can also be caused by neurological imbalances in the brain.

Neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine play a crucial role in regulating mood and emotions.

Imbalances in these neurotransmitters can lead to symptoms of anxiety.

Additionally, abnormalities in brain structure and function have been linked to anxiety disorders.

It is important to note that while genetic and biological factors can contribute to the development of anxiety, they are not the sole cause of this condition.

A combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors can all play a role in the development of anxiety.


works cited

10 Surprisingly Common Anxiety Triggers : Intrepid Mental Wellness, PLLC: Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (

11 Anxiety Triggers and How to Identify and Manage Them (

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