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4 Habits That Can Worsen Your Mental Health and Anxiety

When you’re living with anxiety, it can seem like there’s no relief from your symptoms. The sweaty palms, racing heart rate and continuous loop of negative thoughts might feel like too heavy of a burden to bear. Out of desperation, you turn to bad habits that you hope will improve your situation, but will only make your mental health worse in the long run. What are these negative behavioral patterns, and how can you take steps to improve them?

1. Poor Sleep Hygiene

Whether you struggle to fall asleep in the first place, or wake up exhausted because you’ve been tossing and turning all night, insomnia is a common calling card of anxiety. If sleep eludes you night after night, you might think the solution is to drink a nightcap before bed or use drugs that make you sleepy. However, over-reliance on these substances can create sleep disorders, and they can also be addictive.

Make going to bed something you look forward to each night by doing soothing activities such as journaling, meditating, bedtime yoga poses, taking a bath, practicing breathing exercises or drinking a cup of herbal tea. All these things will help you get in the right mindset to fall asleep more quickly and catch your full seven to nine hours of shuteye. 

2. Lack of Exercise

If you’re feeling heightened anxiety, you might feel tempted to push your workouts to the back burner. After all, it’s another thing to add to your plate, and you’ve already got more than enough to worry about. However, you shouldn’t let your fitness goals go by the wayside when you’re struggling with your mental well-being. Exercise is tremendously beneficial for both your mental and physical health, and you’ll emerge from a sweat session with an all-natural mood boost, courtesy of chemicals like serotonin.  

3. Bad Nutrition

Anxiety can lead to heightened cravings for comfort foods like French fries and sugary snacks. Unfortunately, sweet and starchy foods can cause your anxiety levels to spike, which is exactly the opposite of what you want. Try swapping out your empty calories with healthy foods that fight anxiety, like blueberries and asparagus, and see how much better you feel.  

4. Overuse of Social Media

If your phone is always within reach, you might have a habit of checking the news or browsing through social media whenever you have a free moment. If you’re trying to improve your mental health, it’s best to limit your time on social media. Some research suggests sites like Facebook can increase stress levels and lower self-esteem. To combat this, set designated times for social media use each day so you can gradually taper off your reliance on these websites.

We’re Here When You Need Us

If you’re living with anxiety and a co-occurring substance abuse problem, don’t wait any longer to get the help you need to make a full recovery. Vista Taos Renewal Center is an accredited drug and alcohol rehab providing holistic care in a tranquil setting. Please contact us today to learn how you can make a fresh start.  

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COVID-19 update: The health and safety of our clients at Vista Taos Renewal Center continues to be our highest priority. Due to the national rise in cases of COVID-19, all potential clients entering the Vista Taos program shall be tested for the virus and must receive their results prior to admission. Vista Taos continues to work closely with the New Mexico Department of Health, adhering to the highest standards of care for our clients, and will provide subsequent testing after admission as needed. For assistance in finding the most efficient testing sites, please contact our Director of Community Relations, Jeremy Lihte, at (575) 425-1913
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