8 Habits That Are Actually Signs Of Anxiety

DISCLAIMER :This article is purely for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for any medical diagnosis or treatment. Please speak to a professional health care provider about any diagnosis or treatment. 

It’s easier to miss the details of things. When you have anxiety, you’re usually aware of the panic attacks and the other physical symptoms that you go through but there are some habits that are so common that you overlook them and brush them off. If, however, they are ongoing and you do them repeatedly, it may be a sign of anxiety. Please remember that anxiety manifests differently from person to person and the symptoms will vary. So what are some habits that are actually signs of anxiety? 

  1. Not Being Able To Sleep Through The Night

Struggling with falling and staying asleep and always waking up early may be signs of anxiety. It seems like something is always on your mind making it hard for you to actually relax. Dr A. Clark, a licensed clinical psychologist stated that it’s important to be getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep at night. If you’re not, it might help to see a professional. 

  1. Biting Your Nails

It’s a common habit that you don’t pay too much attention to but it’s used to actually cope with unease and distress in your life. It can start at a young age, triggered by external events that make you feel anxious, overwhelmed or nervous. Without treatment, it can follow you into adulthood where you’ll find yourself biting your nails during a  meeting or at a social event. 

  1. Creating Many To-Do Lists

Being organized is a positive trait and can help people direct their focus and time better. But when you’re making long, unending to-do lists and organizing your home multiple times a day, that may be a sign of anxiety. If you feel like you can’t rest until you’ve followed a certain routine and planned your next day and it makes you uneasy, it’s a good idea to speak to a professional. 

  1. Double Checking Everything

Katie Leikam, a licensed therapist, stated that people with anxiety regain control of their lives by being structured and obsessive through their day. This might be a sign of anxiety, especially if it interferes with your daily life and stops you from living it well. Seeking professional help would be needed in this case. 

  1. Playing With Your Hair Excessively

If playing with your hair constantly and pulling and twisting your strands is an ongoing habit, you might be engaging in anxiety reducing behaviors. Licensed clinical psychotherapist, Dr Helen Odessky says that hair pulling is self-soothing behavior that aims to calm down a person’s anxiety. The extreme end of the spectrum would be a disorder called trichotillomania. If this extreme compulsion comes about, let a therapist know. 

  1. Avoiding Making Eye Contact

As an anxious person, you feel vulnerable enough just being outside. When you have to stare people in the eyes, it’s even worse. In a social situation, your eyes might be looking for exits, scanning for threats or gathering information about the experience, says licensed professional counselor, Amanda Ruiz. You already feel like people are judging you so by looking them in the eyes, you feel even more judged and uncomfortable. 

  1. Apologizing As A Reflex

Being able to be personally accountable and knowing when and how to apologize is a healthy trait. When you do it excessively, though, it starts to lose its meaning. People with anxiety feel guilty about things beyond their control and feel the need to apologize as they habitually take things personally, so they feel sorry for almost anything, says psychotherapist Janika Joyner. They might even feel inadequate about things about themselves and apologize for that too. 

  1. Relying On Inanimate Objects As Safety Blankets

If you find that you can’t leave the house with some object and that the thought of it makes you feel anxious, this might be a sign of anxiety. Whether it’s a pair of earphones or chewing gum, if you feel like you can’t do without it and your day is doomed to fail, you might need to talk to a professional. 


Thank you for reading until the end. And remember that enjoying cleaning up and organizing or apologizing occasionally doesn’t mean you have anxiety. But if you do some of these things excessively in an attempt to decrease your anxiety levels or if it’s started to worry you, please reach out to a professional for help. While anxiety does lie to you about your abilities and health, healthy lifestyle changes, medications and therapy can help you rid yourself of excess stress and become more calm, perseverant and happier. 

See you soon. 


*Bakardzhieva, T. (2017, November 21). Common habits caused by anxiety. Thrive Global. Retrieved December 14, 2021, from https://thriveglobal.com/stories/common-habits-caused-by-anxiety/ 

*selfcarevisuals. (2021, November 23). 5 habits that are actually signs of anxiety. Can you relate to any? ❤️. Instagram.com. Retrieved December 14, 2021 from https://www.instagram.com/p/CWoERiuM-Nu/ 

*Steber, C. (2018, September 26). 15 little habits you won’t believe are signs of anxiety. Bustle. Retrieved December 14, 2021, from https://www.bustle.com/p/15-little-habits-you-wont-believe-are-signs-of-anxiety-12016423 

*Varney, J. (2018, October 2). 10 habits that could actually be a sign of anxiety. Scary Mommy. Retrieved December 14, 2021, from https://www.scarymommy.com/10-habits-actually-sign-of-anxiety-disorder/  

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