A lot of people come to me for hypnotherapy for anxiety, and it’s certainly a very effective therapy when it comes to calming the mind and changing our thought processes.
However, before you shell out for therapy, it’s worth noting that there can often be external factors that are causing (or exacerbating) your anxiety symptoms that you can change yourself very simply, for free.
So in order to save you money (and do myself out of business!) here is a list of 9 of those things:
1. Food allergies
MSG, caffeine, aspartame, transfats, refined carbs… these things are in so many common foods and drinks, and they can all cause anxiety symptoms. See more details here: https://www.prevention.com/food/foods-that-make-you-anxious
Solution: Get on a wholefoods diet to make sure you’re not eating anxiety for breakfast.
2. Tech overload
Electro-magnetic frequencies or EMFs (the electrical frequencies from all the technology that surrounds us these days) can affect some people a lot more than others. One of the symptoms of electro-magnetic sensitivity is cardiac disturbance, which many people will understandably just put down to stress.
If your anxiety seems to worsen when you’ve been exposed to more electricity than normal, then this might be you.
Solution: Switch off your cellphone, unplug yourself and get out in nature. Go barefoot if you can, to ground yourself.
3. Blue light
Artificial lights from cellphones, screens, TV, and fluorescent bulbs can be overly stimulating to the system, messing up your circadian rhythms and disturbing your sleep.
So if you’re suffering from insomnia, rather than putting it down to anxiety, try protecting your eyes from that invasive blue light from the screens that play such a big part of our lives these days.
Solution: get some blue-light blocking glasses, get away from those screens as often as possible, and use natural light as much as possible.
4. Other people
If you’re highly sensitive and empathic you may find that being around too many people feels overwhelming and brings on symptoms of anxiety.
Solution: make some ‘me-time’ just for yourself and recharge your batteries.
5. 24/7 world
Our busy world with all its technology demands that we are ‘on call’ 24 hours a day, and this is just not normal for humans. We need to rest and recuperate.
Solution: set strong boundaries and learn that it’s OK to say no.
6. Multi-task madness
Since when did multi-tasking become something to be proud of? Trying to do too many things at once can end up making you feel distracted and demented.
Solution: learn mindfulness and apply it to every task you do.
7. Medication side-effects
Sometimes anxiety can simply be a side-effect of the medication you are taking.
Solution: talk to your doctor or health professional about this possibility – they may be able to prescribe something that suits you better.
8. Horror movies
Watching horror movies or thrillers can cause symptoms of anxiety. Pretty unsurprising really, considering that’s what they’re for. But these effects can last longer than we might expect. More details here: http://ur.umich.edu/9899/Mar29_99/9.htm
Solution: choose a feel-good movie instead – or better still, go for a peaceful walk in nature (preferably not somewhere that reminds you of the Blair Witch Project).
9. No news is good news
Forget horror movies – what about that horror show that you probably watch every night?
Caution: watching the news can be damaging to your mental health! Being exposed to a selection of all the most horrific things that have happened in the world that day might not be the best thing to send you off to a peaceful nights’ sleep…
As this article points out, “news leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads”. We get an unbalanced and fearful view of society, and start to worry that every teen wearing a hoodie is about to mug us.
Solution: limit your news exposure; don’t get caught up in 24 hours CNN, and just read it in the paper rather than watching it in all its full technicolour glory.
I hope that this blog has been of help to highlight some possible causes of anxiety symptoms. Of course, anxiety is a complex issue which is usually caused by a mixture of internal and external factors. If you feel you need support to help you overcome anxiety, you are welcome to contact me to book a free telephone consultation and discuss things further.
Lisa Murphy is a counsellor and hypnotherapist based in Glasgow who specialises in anxiety, anger management, and weight loss.