There isn’t anyone in this world who does not engage in some sort of “habit”…and often on a daily basis.
Some people walk fast, while others twist their hair, for example. While most of these are actually benign behaviors.
You should know that there are some habits that actually could be a sign that you suffer from anxiety.
Below are ten of the most common behaviors that people often erroneously refer to as “habits, without realizing that they may be attempting to compensate for feeling anxious:
So many people smoke now…although many are learning that it can cause great harm to their health.
There are many smoking cessation programs available which one can access.
Note that smoking is often a telltale sign of anxiety.
2. Nail Biting
Thousands of people bite their nails every day.
This ordinarily does not do much harm to people, except that it may lead to infection around the nail.
Pay attention to the fact that you may be engaging in “nail biting” because you feel nervous and stressed.
3. Hair Pulling
This is more common than people think.
Some people pull hair out from various regions of the body (eyelashes, eyebrows, scalp, etc…) when they feel anxious about something.
Often this is done unconsciously.
If done regularly and in excess, it can lead to hair-loss, and may be a sign of a more serious disorder known as “trichotillomania” (a close relative of a disorder known as OCD-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
Just note that this could indicate that you have anxiety.
4. Leg Bouncing
This can’t do any harm to you…except to drive other people nuts watching you bounce your leg!
However, it could be a sign to you that you need to relax more and are suffering from anxiety.
5. Foot Tapping
This can’t cause any problems, other than to annoy others who are watching you tap your feet!
Although…your feet might get tired!
Bear in mind that “foot tapping” may be more than just a habit…it may indicate that you are stressed out.
Most of us love to eat!
But if done in excess, it could cause significant weight gain and lead to a variety of health problems.
Comfort foods, such as brownies, cookies, fast food, and other high-sugar/high-fat snacks can cause obesity.
Keep in mind that your “habit” of overeating may be a clear sign of anxiety.
This could create a problem in that you may not get adequate nutrition and you could lose significant amounts of weight.
Which is referred to as “anorexia” in the medical world.
It is essential to get the proper vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy.
Please note that undereating could be a sign that you have anxiety.
This is known in the medical world as “hypersomnia”.
It can’t do any harm to you, but if you are oversleeping you may be depressed.
Depression is a close relative of anxiety, so be aware that you may have “hypersomnia” because you suffer from anxiety.
This is known in the medical world as “insomnia” and can effect what’s known as cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is effected when sleep is inadequate.
Balanced cortisol levels are highly essential to having proper sleep, and thus keeping anxiety at a minimum.
If you have “insomnia”, then this may be a clear indicator that you have anxiety.
10. Skin Picking
This “habit” can cause harm to you, in that it may create scarring or infection to the area that is being picked.
Note that sometimes people who engage in this “habit” are doing it to relieve stress or anxiety.
There are four easy steps to help you to better understand your “habit” and its cause:
Step 1. Pay attention to your own behavior, and notice your “habits.”
Step 2. Ask others what habits they see you engaging in, of which you may be unaware.
Step 3. Document in a journal what these habits are, and when you engage in them. (e.g. “I seem to pace just before a big exam in school.”)
Step 4. Over time, you can establish a pattern of when you engage in a particular habit, and thus pinpoint the cause.
Seven Foods that Cure Anxiety
Whole Grain Foods
Those that can tolerate gluten may benefit from foods with whole grains, like whole grain pasta and bread.
Studies have shown that true whole grains (some “whole grain foods” still contain processed ingredients) have several benefits for those with anxiety:
- Whole grain is rich in magnesium, and magnesium deficiency may lead to anxiety.
- This contains tryptophan, which becomes serotonin – a calming neurotransmitter.
- Whole grains create healthy energy while reducing hunger – both important for anxiety.
These foods can have a powerful effect on anxiety, and contain nutrients that have been stripped out of modern day diets.
Seaweed has many of the same benefits as whole grains.
Not only is it rich in nutrients – it also appears to have a high magnesium content, and kelp and other seaweed appear to be very high in tryptophan content.
Seaweed is a good alternative to whole grains for those that are gluten sensitive.
Blueberries are more than a delicious fruit. Many consider it to be a superfood.
It’s rich in vitamins and phytonutrients (plant nutrients), with a variety of antioxidants that are considered extremely beneficial for relieving stress.
Many experts also believe that peaches fall into this category as well, because they have nutrients that appear to have a sedation (calming) effect.
Acai berry is essentially the newest super food, and one that has received a great deal of press recently.
It may not be the weight loss fruit that many people claimed it was, but acai berries are still rich in phytonutrients like the blueberry, and the antioxidant levels are off the charts.
Almonds are an underrated food.
They contain zinc, a key nutrient for maintaining a balanced mood – and have both iron and healthy fats.
Healthy fats are an important part of a balanced diet, and low iron levels have been known to cause brain fatigue, which can contribute to both anxiety and a lack of energy.
Chocolate – especially pure dark chocolate without the added sugars or milks – is also a great food for those living with anxiety and stress.
This type of food reduces cortisol – the stress hormone that causes anxiety symptoms.
There are also compounds inside dark chocolate that improve mood.
Maca root is not exactly a popular food item in grocery stores, but the powder can be added to several foods and beverages and is found in a variety of health food stores.
It’s believed that this root has more phytonutrients than nearly every type of fruit and vegetable, including magnesium and iron – two important nutrients for controlling anxiety.
It also is often used for healthy stamina and energy.
Other Foods for Anxiety and Stress
Healthy eating is one of the best ways to control anxiety and stress.
In fact, one of the best things you can add to your diet is more water.
Many studies have found that dehydration affects as many as 25% of those with persistent stress or more, and dehydration is known to cause more anxiety.
As for foods, anything with magnesium, vitamin B12 (and other B vitamins), zinc, and antioxidants can be beneficial for helping you deal with stress.
There are also herbal supplements like kava and passionflower that may be valuable for anxiety.
Food is NOT the only answer.
There are ways to improve your stress and anxiety with your diet, but lifestyle changes, training, and a better understanding of your own anxiety is crucial.
Diet is only the first step.
Take the 7 minute anxiety test to understand your anxiety further.
Controlling Anxiety with Food
All of the above foods are beneficial for dealing with your anxiety.
They provide vitamins and nutrients that are known to calm the mind and body while also increasing energy and stabilizing your mood.
Combine those foods with a balanced diet that is free of fried foods and harmful ingredients and you should see a marked difference in your anxiety levels.
Still, it’s important to remember that understanding your anxiety is still step one.
I’ve helped thousands of people learn to deal with their anxiety and I always recommend they start with my anxiety test I created specifically to provide a snapshot of your current anxiety.
This test will help you:
- Find out what symptoms you experience are caused by anxiety (if any).
- Understand the core components of your anxiety experience (with graphs).
- Provide the next steps for overcoming anxiety.
Foods for anxiety are a great first step, but they’re only a first step.
Take my anxiety test, and learn what it takes to cure anxiety once and for all.