Anxiety feels so draining and overwhelming. It often stops you from fulfilling your potential, and it can make you feel scared, lonely, and sad. And many times, it creates small nervous habits that creep into your life. You may not even notice them, or you don’t recognize they’re here because of your anxiety. Those habits are not only bad for your quality of life, but they also worsen the anxiety that’s already there. If you’re wondering what they are, feel free to check out these 5 surprising things anxiety makes you do!
1. Mindlessly scrolling through social media
There is an estimate that an average person scrolls through around 300 feet of social media content, which is the size of a Statue of Liberty! Even if this data sounds a bit far-fetched, it’s no secret that we’re often glued to our phones, and anxiety is a common culprit for that problem. When you’re worrying a lot, picking your phone up can become an automatic, mindless habit. In a way, you enter a new world while you’re on your phone, a world that is filled with pretty little things you like, and where you don’t have to feel anxious. Because of that, you keep coming for more, and before you know it – you’ve spent hours and hours looking at your screen.
2. Rewatching the same TV shows
Do you enjoy Netflix and chill? Binge-watching TV shows is not only fun, but it can also feel comforting and help you run away from worries for a while. But if you’re anxious, you may start watching the same shows on repeat. When you already know what happens, you get a feeling of familiarity and routine. Those feelings help you establish a sense of control since you’re not so anxious about what happens next. So by rewatching interesting storylines that you like, you feel more comfortable, and your anxiety finally leaves you alone for a bit.
While our ancestors looked for food for survival, today we seek it to survive emotionally as well. For that reason, you may find yourself looking for comfort in your fridge when anxiety gets the best of you. Chocolate bars, a pint of ice cream, or a bag of chips become a temporary relief. But no matter how nice it feels to eat your worries away, this anxious habit is not a healthy way to cope, and it can bring you even more problems in the long run.
4. Putting tasks on hold
It’s kind of counterintuitive to be procrastinating while anxious. Shouldn’t you be worried so much that you want to get everything done here and now? It would seem so, but it’s not always true. Feelings of anxiety can often lead you to avoid your responsibilities. There are numerous reasons why this could happen. You may have a fear of failure, so you wonder why even try. Or maybe you feel a strong need to be perfect, and it blocks you from starting the task because you don’t know how to achieve that perfection. And the worst part of an anxiety-procrastination link is that it’s a never-ending cycle – you’re anxious because you procrastinate, but you also procrastinate because you’re anxious.
5. Canceling plans last minute
Anxiety comes hand in hand with overthinking. And when it comes to plans, it feels like a great opportunity to overanalyze. You may think “what if something goes wrong, what can I expect, what if I won’t get through it”? This can make you cancel your plans last minute. Maybe you decide not to show up at that party, or you bail on your date. In extreme cases, you may even feel too nervous to go to your job interview! Socializing can feel so overwhelming and canceling just feels easier, but in the long run, you’re robbing yourself of good opportunities, which creates another reason you feel bad about yourself.
Do you think these habits became a part of your days? Are there some other anxious habits you do when life gets a bit too hard to handle?
Hopefully, this article helps you be more mindful of those little things. Because noticing bad habits is the first step towards changing them!
Boyes, A. (2013, March 13). 6 Tips for Overcoming Anxiety-Related Procrastination. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201303/6-tips-overcoming-anxiety-related-procrastination?amp
Eating Disorder Hope. (2019, April 16). Anxiety and Overeating – What’s the Overlap and Why Do They Overlap? https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/treatment-for-eating-disorders/co-occurring-dual-diagnosis/anxiety/anxiety-overeating-whats-the-overlap
Fayard, J. V. (2021, June 26). https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/people-are-strange/202106/why-rewatching-tv-shows-feels-so-good. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/people-are-strange/202106/why-rewatching-tv-shows-feels-so-good
Glashow, C. (2021, February 23). Why People With Anxiety Cancel Plans Last Minute. Anchor Therapy, LLC. https://www.anchortherapy.org/blog/anxiety-why-cancel-plans-hoboken-jerseycity-hudson-county-nj-therapist-counselor
Wharton, C. (2021, October 27). The Scary Truth About How Zombie Scrolling Impacts Mental Health. Newport Institute. https://www.newportinstitute.com/resources/mental-health/zombie_scrolling/