Four Things You Do Every Day That Are Making Your Anxiety Worse

Anxiety is pretty damn common.

An estimated 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety and panic disorders.

And even if you don't have a diagnosed disorder, you've probably experienced feelings of anxiety or panic at some point in your life.

While anxiety can be triggered by specific events, such as work-related stress or a recent breakup, it can also be caused by everyday things or routines you're not even thinking about.

Here are four sneaky causes of anxiety.


Hate to break it to you, but the liquid courage you're chugging in uncomfortable social situations probably isn't doing your anxiety any favors.

It may feel better in the moment to have a few too many glasses of wine in social situations, but research has found using alcohol to cope with social anxiety leads to more severe anxiety -- and one reason could be because you start relying on alcohol as a crutch.

So the next time you find yourself reaching for alcohol when you're anxious, take a breath. Do you really need it?

You'll probably be better off without it in the long run.

Drinking coffee.

Don't get us wrong, we're huge fans of coffee.

It's full of antioxidants, makes you happier and coffee drinkers apparently live longer.

But because caffeine is a stimulant, too much of it can worsen anxiety. We're not suggesting you give up coffee, but if you suffer from anxiety, try cutting back a little.

Another option? Matcha, a powdered green tea that gives you an energy boost and calms you down.

David Madelbaum, cofounder of the matcha company PANATEA, tells Elite Daily,

With matcha, you don't get the jitter and crash that can be associated with coffee. Matcha contains a particular amino acid, L-Theanine, that is known to reduce stress, decrease anxiety and enhance mood. Drinking matcha creates this sense of calm alertness and focused energy within the mind and body. It’s no wonder Buddhist monks have historically used matcha before meditation and samurai warriors before battle!

Plus, matcha is delicious. Give it a try!

Sitting around

There's nothing better than holing up with Netflix for an entire day when you're feeling anxious, right?

Unfortunately, your "Mad Men" binge won't do much for your anxiety -- especially if that's what you're doing instead of exercising.

When it comes to anxiety, exercise is extremely helpful.

In fact, research has shown regular exercise is just as effective in treating anxiety as antidepressants, and symptoms of anxiety and depression can be alleviated for hours after a vigorous exercise session.

Do yourself a favor on those anxious days and set aside half an hour for a jog. You won't regret it.

Staying up too late

We've said it before, and we'll say it again. You need your sleep.

And no, we don't care how much fun you're having digging through the Instagram photos your crush was tagged in 72 weeks ago.

Even if you don't normally experience symptoms of anxiety, exhaustion can get it started.

According to a study conducted out of the University of California, Berkeley, lack of sleep can activate regions of the brain that make us worry.

Plus, when we're sleep-deprived, our resources are depleted and we're a little less rational. So in the same way you're more likely to be grumpy or more emotional when you're tired, your anxiety is more likely to be heightened.

Get your recommended seven to eight hours, people!

We're not saying you need to ditch your coffee, alcohol, Netflix binges or occasional late night altogether.

But tweaking your habits or routine just the slightest bit could mean big changes when it comes to anxiety, so give it a try.