Living with anxiety can be pretty exhausting. There are a lot of little things that anxiety-ridden people do that make life incredibly dreadful most days. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. Below are a few actions that you may do that stem from anxiety.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list.
1. You ruminate over the worst-case scenario
Overthinking is a common symptom linked to mental disorders like anxiety. It is fairly easy for someone with anxiety to overthink about an event that seems rather harmless to a person who does not have anxiety. Such examples include not getting off at the right stop, people judging you, or even getting lost in a new town. You may tend to think about the worst-case scenario and act out in a bundle of nerves and fear, thus making everything worse.
2. Lying awake at night…
…and it’s not because you were staring at your phone before bed, either. While it is true that blue light from our phones and tablets may hinder sleep quality, there is a different reason why an anxious person is lying awake at night. Someone with anxiety may not be able to sleep because their mind is still racing from everything that they have to do in the morning all the way to their past mistakes. Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that anxiety can cause sleeping problems AND new research suggests sleep deprivation can cause an anxiety disorder.
3. Comparing yourself to others….constantly
Comparing yourself to others constantly is a form of anxious thinking. This can happen online on social media (esp. Instagram) or in real life (in school or at your job). Chronic anxiety comes sometimes comes with an inferiority complex — meaning that your brain tells you that you are not good enough. Constantly comparing yourself to others can take a toll on your mental health and may make you feel exhausted at the end of the day.
Not many people know it, but nail-biting is a stress reliever that may have more serious consequences. According to Avesh Sachan and TP Chaturvedi of the Indian Journal of Dental Research, nail-biting is associated with higher levels of anxiety and stress because chewing on nails reportedly relieves stress, tension, or boredom. If you chew and bite your nails, this is not a definitive sign that you have anxiety, but anxiety-ridden people may bite their nails to relieve any tension and stress.
5. Leg bouncing
While bouncing legs and tremors are fairly common, they may be a sign of anxiety (among other symptoms) according to Seunggu Han, M.D. Han states that along with a leg bounce, anxiety may include other symptoms such as:
- a pounding heart
- unsteady breathing
- sweating or chills
- a feeling of impending danger
- overall weakness
6. Thinking that mistakes are the end of the world
For most people, mistakes are not the end of the world. You make a mistake, learn and move on. However, for an anxious person, mistakes feel like the end of the world. You beat yourself up for the aforementioned mistake, solidifying the “I’m not good enough” mentality that often comes with anxiety.
7. Constantly apologizing
You constantly apologize even if the apology is not needed or if it is not your fault. You may find yourself apologizing to inanimate objects for bumping into them or saying sorry for asking a waitress to come to your table. According to Martin Antony, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Lab at Ryerson University, “[Apologizing] could be conceptualized as a safety behavior, an overprotective behavior, or compensatory strategy. All of these are terms used to describe behaviors that are designed to protect an individual from aversive emotions or potential threat.”
Constantly apologizing can actually be a coping mechanism from a traumatic childhood according to Bridges to Recovery, a mental health facility located in California. Those who had perfectionist parents or parents who gave conditional love (see growing up with narcissistic parents) may feel the need to apologize more often than not so as to receive love or prevent abuse.
8. Is You think it is always your fault
If you live with anxiety, every little action can make it feel like your fault. If someone sends an email at work about something “missing,” you may believe it’s your fault even though you are not responsible for it.
9. You may exhibit signs of perfectionism
One of the more common traits of perfectionism is anxiety. While they do not go hand in hand, those who suffer from perfectionism often have anxiety because they want everything done “their way” — which is nothing less than perfection. However, do you find yourself obsessing over little details? Refusing help from others because they “just won’t do it right?” You may be suffering from perfectionism as well.
10. “Imposter Syndrome”
There may be a chance that you have experienced imposter syndrome. Those who have a tendency to hide their anxiety may have this feeling. You have a feeling that you may be ratted out by someone who observes your actions. A vicious cycle of having anxiety about getting caught and trying hard to show “normal” symptoms thus creating even more anxiety can be mentally draining. Give yourself a break because anxiety is not a weakness. It’s a mental disorder that can be treated.
11. Cancelling plans and feeling guilty because of it
There are many forms of anxiety. There is one anxiety that is known as social anxiety. Social anxiety is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. They categorize this anxiety as both a health condition and a social phobia. Your anxiety makes you overthink future scenarios, which can put a damper on fun activities with your friends. Consequently, You beat yourself up about it until you feel ashamed and guilty, especially if it is a regular occurrence