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Feeling anxious?

Feeling anxious?
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Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses). We all get anxious over certain circumstances (say, a big presentation at work), but if you’re experiencing feelings of nervousness or unease for no apparent reason, one of these subtle, everyday triggers might be to blame for triggering anxiety. Here’s what you need to know about managing those triggers and preventing your feelings from escalating.

You drank too much coffee

You drank too much coffee
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“We think nothing of that extra cup of coffee, but caffeine makes the body nervous and jittery and triggers the fight or flight response,” explains psychologist Nikki Martinez. Overdoing it on the lattés and espressos has been shown to produce symptoms that are indistinguishable from an anxiety disorder, according to a study from the British Journal of Psychiatry. If the anxiety is due to a substance (ie caffeine), it is not considered to be generalised anxiety disorder.

Discover 10 things that happen to your body when you quit coffee. 

You’re getting breaking news alerts all day long

You’re getting breaking news alerts all day long
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“Our 24/7 news is terrible for our stress levels,” says psychiatrist Beth Salcedo, MD. Most of the stories are focused on violence, war and anger, often leaving the audience feeling rattled. But that doesn’t mean you need to tune out entirely to what’s going on in the world. Rather, Dr. Salcedo recommends checking in on the news just once a day.

Try these 12 breathing exercises to help you relax in minutes. 

You’re hungover

You’re hungover
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A pounding headache and nausea aren’t the only after-effects of drinking too much. Excess alcohol is one of the main triggers of anxiety, according to research published in the journal Nature: Neuroscience, as heavy drinking can rewire the brain and make you more susceptible to anxiety disorders. Alcohol is also known to disrupt your sleep, and sleep deprivation can boost your anxiety levels, according to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

You’ve taken medicine

You’ve taken medicine
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If you’re sick and wondering to yourself, “Why do I feel anxious?” look no further than that over-the-counter medication on your nightstand. “It’s important to read ingredients,” says New York-based neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez. “Things like acetaminophen, doxylamine succinate, which is a sedating antihistamine, and dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant, all can trigger anxiety and a general on-edge feeling.”

You’re thirsty

You’re thirsty
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If you’re not drinking enough water, you’re going to have more than just a parched mouth. Even mild dehydration can trigger disturbances in mood, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition. Other research looks at what happens when you change the typical amount of water people drink. The study published in PLoS One found that increasing water intake for people who normally don’t drink much benefited their mood. And the decrease in water for people that are used to drinking more also reduced feelings of calmness and positive emotions. It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking water at meals and throughout the day to prevent feeling off-balanced.

Try these genius tricks to guarantee you’re drinking enough water. 

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Your blood sugar is low

Your blood sugar is low
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We’ve all heard that you can get “hangry” from not eating (that’s an unfortunate blend of hungry and angry), but you can also feel anxious as well. “People who are under stress and have anxiety often feel that their appetite shuts down,” says Dr. Hafeez. “However, skipping meals leads to a drop in blood sugar, which only keeps the anxious feelings going. It creates a vicious cycle.”

Your diet is unbalanced

Your diet is unbalanced
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Falling down on the job of getting all your nutrients, especially B vitamins, can wreak havoc on your mood and make you feel anxiety for seemingly no reason. “Studies have shown that diets lacking in beef, pork, chicken, leafy greens, fruits, nuts and eggs can lead to depression,” says Hafeez. “People who suddenly drop these foods out of their diets can feel anxious and irritable.”

These are the foods that can make anxiety worse.

You’re always plugged in

You’re always plugged in
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Facebook and Instagram can be fun, but spending too much time on online social networks can become a source of your anxiety. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry on teens and young adults looked at time spent on social media, TVs and computers. They found that the more time kids spent looking at screens the more severe their symptoms of anxiety and depression. Another study from the non-profit Anxiety UK also found that a majority of social-media users negatively compare themselves to others, get stressed when social media isn’t available, and even have difficulties sleeping after browsing social media.

Learn just how much time you’re spending on social media. 

It’s Sunday night

It’s Sunday night
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Of all the anxiety causes, it wouldn’t quite seem like the day of the week would matter, but that dreaded end of the weekend can impact our wellbeing. “It’s common for people to feel anxious or get the ‘Sunday Blues’ as the weekend winds down in anticipation of the workweek ahead,” Dr. Hafeez says. “When your mind begins to focus on reports, kids’ activities, and the long list of to-dos, it’s easy to slip into an anxious state of mind.”

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