August 20, 2018

ACCORDING TO THE American Psychological Association (APA), millennials experience more stress and are less able to manage it than any other generation. Not surprisingly, millennials are also more anxious than older Americans. The APA reports that 12 percent of millennials have a diagnosed anxiety disorder—almost twice the percentage of Boomers. Anxiety not only harms our wellbeing but also sabotages our productivity. Not only that, this generation may be entrapped in bad habits that are compounding their stresses even more. Learn about these eight common habits that instigate stress and compromise our wellness:

  1. Bad sleep habits

Perhaps the most prevalent contributor to anxiety is poor sleep. A study by the University of California at Berkeley found that lack of sleep “may play a key role in ramping up the brain regions that contribute to excessive worrying.” Common causes of insufficient sleep include going to bed at different times, not making sleep a priority and spending time on phones or laptops right before bed.

Do this Instead:

Form a long, boring night time routine free from technology, keep a journal by your bed to write down thoughts that keep you awake, and exercise during the day to wear out your body.

  1. Skipping sustenance

Eating consistently regulates not only our metabolism and insulin levels but also our mental stability.

“Waiting too long to eat or missing out on breakfast may lead to unsteady blood sugar levels, which can cause anxiety-like sensations, including shakiness, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty speaking,” writes Body and Health. Dehydration has a similar effect. Because food and water are biological needs, anxiety naturally follows hunger and thirst.

Do this Instead:

Eat meals regularly. Keep granola bars or nuts at your desk or in your purse. Bring a water bottle to work and sip it throughout the day. Have a glass of water right when you wake up and before you go to sleep.

  1. Drinking too much coffee

Drinking coffee makes us more alert and, in many cases, helps us perform better on short-term tasks. But it can also make people jittery, irritable and nervous, especially if they’re already predisposed to anxiety. Sensitivity to caffeine is, in fact, heightened in people with panic disorder and social phobia, and caffeine can provoke panic attacks in some individuals. Caffeine is also diuretic, which can cause dehydration—an anxiety trigger established above.

Do this Instead:

Try weaning off coffee by switching to just one cup a day, decaf or black tea. If you feel calmer and more in control after a couple weeks without it, commit to quitting and pull out all the stops.

  1. Excessive sitting

America’s surge of anxiety symptoms parallels our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. But, until a recent review by BMC Public Health, it was unclear whether the two were actually linked. After lengthy analysis, researchers found that the risk of anxiety risk increases as sedentary behavior increases—and, specifically, sitting time spikes one’s likelihood of experiencing anxiety.Subscribe to HuffPost’s wl guide to taking care of your mind and body.

Do this Instead:

If you work at a desk all day, you’re not doomed. Get up and walk around every ninety minutes. Offset your sitting time with regular exercise, which halves your risk of anxiety and depression.

  1. Too much time on your phone 

A 2014 study by Baylor University found that American students spend an average of nine hours a day on their phone. Of course, technology vastly improves our lives in innumerable ways. But too much of it makes us anxious. Screen-based entertainment increases central nervous system arousal, which can amplify anxiety. Social media is similarly associated with low moods and depression.

Do this Instead:

Next time you’re waiting or have nothing to do, leave your phone in your pocket or purse. Relinquish it as a means of alleviating boredom and instead use it consciously as needed for its useful functions.

  1. Not “clocking out”

According to data from FORBES’ @Work State of Mind Project, millennials become anxious and irritated when work intrudes on our personal lives. But our bad work-life balance is our own choosing. BDA’s assessment explains, “Millennials do not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office, but by the output of the work performed. They view work as a ‘thing’ and not a ‘place.’” Even after we leave the office, we’re still at work.

Do this Instead:

We can still be ambitious, work long hours and impress our bosses without sacrificing psychological health and personal boundaries. So clock out: In your calendar, schedule a defined, consistent time at night to stop working. When time’s up, mark that task complete and go take care of yourself.

Conclusion

If the annoyance, pain and performance impairment of day-to-day anxiety isn’t enough to quit these bad habits, perhaps this is: According to Harvard Medical School, anxiety is implicated in heart disease, migraines, chronic respiratory disorders and gastrointestinal conditions.

Despite our youth, chronic anxiety is not sustainable.  By swapping out these daily practices, we can improve our moods and our lives one habit a time. Explore our range of powerful and innovative stress-reducing products here


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