Are you one of those who keep their mobile phones switched on by the bedside while sleeping? Do you wake up at odd hours because you constantly feel that there is an update on the mobile, a new assignment from work or a random message for a dinner date? If that be the case, you are disrupting something more fragile than your sleep, your body-brain ecosystem.
It has been found in studies that the electromagnetic waves from a switched on mobile can be debilitating for a person, especially while sleeping at night. When one does not get sufficient rest, his or her body's fight-or-flight response mechanism responsible for sensing fear and danger aggravates, leading to stress, panic attacks and anxiety.
The growing role of technology and social media in daily life has remarkably increased the risk of developing anxiety disorders. The burden to compete and succeed has pushed people into a rat race with no end. With no time to take a break from the hectic schedule, people develop numerous unhealthy lifestyle practices. Some of such risk factors are discussed below:
Preoccupation with social media – Besides the predominance of smartphones, the preoccupation with social media or social networking sites (SNSs) is one the significant factors responsible for provoking anxiety attacks. People develop the tendency of competing with each other based on their updates. Due to the desire to appear the best and present their life as a fairytale, users become too obsessed with the number of likes, thumbs-ups, etc.
Coffee – Since coffee contains high amounts of caffeine, a chemical that induces wakefulness, the consumption of more than two to three cups of coffee a day is responsible for inducing anxiety. It interferes with the feel-good hormones in the brain, like dopamine and serotonin, and causes restlessness and pangs of anxiety. So, while a person could be drinking coffee to increase productivity and decrease anxiety, it may prove counterproductive instead. Tea – green or herbal – is a better alternative to coffee. However, one should be careful even in the case of tea about the amount and frequency of consumption.
Working late hours – While the early bird gets the worm, those who are chronically late end up whining about the lost time and opportunities. Someone who is dedicated to his or her work and methodically finishes it in time, feels good at the end of the day. This assures mental peace and happiness. On the contrary, a person who works late hours feels panicky, especially when the deadline approaches. This increases heartbeat, sweating, etc. due to the activation of the defense mechanism.
Imbalance in behavior – Though procrastinators suffer from chronic anxiety, the reverse is true as well. Perfectionists, or those who believe in doing things the right way, could also suffer from the pangs of anxiety. The ideal way to live is to strive for a balance between the two.
Spending time alone – The proverb "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" stands true for people spending excessive time in front of computers and alone. People who are too busy working and making money stand susceptible to all forms of anxiety disorders and depression. Since human beings are social animals, they need to engage with their near and dear ones, colleagues and friends to feel complete and sane. Also, when one talks, there is a substantial reduction in stress and anxiety levels. The past studies show that senior citizens are more likely to experience emotional and psychological well-being when surrounded by more friends.
Seek happiness, not loneliness
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental disorders affecting the American population. Though the roots of psychiatric disorder are in the fear of the unknown or the known, other factors like psychosocial environment, childhood conditioning, presence of a prior mental health condition, etc. significantly increase the risk. While factors like childhood conditioning and psychosocial environment cannot be altered, it is possible to do away with certain undesirable activities that could aggravate anxiety.