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RELAXATION / MENTAL HEALTH / SLEEP

How Excessive Worrying Can Affect Your Daily Life

by BetterSleep
Nov 23 2023 • 6 min read
Last Updated on Nov 29 2023
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There are times when the stress of the world around you, whether it’s anxiety related to your job, romantic and family relationships, or finances, can get overwhelming. It becomes very difficult for even the most emotionally stable people to compartmentalize their emotions, and this stress starts bleeding into their daily lives. 

Suddenly, previously routine tasks become difficult and this puts a strain on your body. Things that used to bring you joy seem hollow, and it becomes a vicious cycle that seems unbreakable. 

The good news is that there are ways to manage this worry and even learn how to live stress-free. Let’s learn how!

Understanding Worrying and Anxiety 

General anxiety disorder, commonly referred to as GAD, is a condition where excessive and out-of-control worrying affects every aspect of one’s life. It can also have physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, inability to get to sleep at night, weariness, and difficulty focusing. 

The friendships and romantic relationships of people with GAD might suffer because they may withdraw from participating in social activities or appear excessively nervous. 

However, exercises like gradual muscle relaxation and deep breathing can help reduce physical stress and promote a sensation of comfort and relaxation. Taking deep breaths can be especially beneficial during times of stress.

How Worrying and Anxiety Can Affect Your Daily Life 

Chronic anxiety can result in habitual negative thinking that becomes a part of your everyday life. This makes it difficult to snap back to reality and be level-headed once these negative thoughts become prominent in your mind, making your brain constantly revolve around the “what-ifs” and worst-case scenarios.

Similarly, persistent worrying can have a significant impact on your daily life, potentially disrupting your eating habits, lifestyle choices, interpersonal connections, sleep quality, and work performance.

In fact, people who worry excessively often find themselves overwhelmed by anxiety, leading them to turn to harmful coping mechanisms, such as smoking, alcohol and drugs, or uncontrolled eating.

Can Excessive Worrying Make You Physically Sick?

Chronic (or continuous) worry can manifest in a physical form. Because acute anxiety can trigger your fight or flight response, it can cause your body’s nerves to release stress hormones like cortisol. 

Cortisol can raise your blood sugar and even increase the level of fat storage in your body. This can lead to symptoms like fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, sweating, and obesity. 

Excessive levels of stress in the body that are left untreated can result in more serious problems, such as short-term memory loss, digestive disorders, heart attacks, and even strokes. 

The Relationship Between Anxiety and Sleep

It’s also common for people who worry excessively to have trouble falling asleep. For instance, serious sleep disturbances, often called insomnia, are a very common symptom in people with chronic anxiety. 

So, if you have anxiety, it’s possible that you may often stay awake at night, replaying scenarios from the day and overthinking, never relaxed enough to doze off. In this tired state of wakefulness, you may often suffer from higher sleep reactivity, which means you are more likely to experience sleeping problems when experiencing stress.

Sleep anxiety can also bring on a sense of dread and unpleasantness, as well as a sense of worry that has no real root. Additionally, anxious thoughts as you fall asleep can lead to vivid and disturbing dreams that keep you up in the middle of the night. This can disrupt your sleep cycle and make you feel tired when you’re awake. 

Best Ways to Stop Worrying

There are many ways you can mitigate feelings of worry and anxiety and still lead a normal life that is full of happiness and peace. Let’s look at some of the most effective: 

1. Exercise Daily 

When you’re really active, you burn through a lot of energy. This makes you feel tired and can help you fall asleep faster — that’s what we call sleep latency. So, keeping up with your exercise routine can help you get to sleep more quickly and get the quality rest your body needs.

On top of that, regular exercise also means more time spent in the deep sleep phases, which are the most restorative parts of your sleep cycle. During these deep sleep stages, characterized by slower brainwave activity, you’re less likely to be woken up by disturbances, leading to an overall improvement in your sleep quality. 

Plus, these deep sleep phases have some fantastic benefits for your immune system, heart health, and muscle repair and growth. For instance, consistently engaging in physical activity results in greater muscle regeneration, which improves your performance. 

2. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

Stress can cause a change in our relationship with food. Some people start eating a lot when they’re stressed, and some people forget about eating, depriving themselves of nutrition. 

You need to eat a healthy, balanced diet, full of proteins, fruits, and vegetables. And remember to always leave room for a little treat! 

3. Practice Mindfulness

Being on high alert all the time can be emotionally and mentally draining. That’s where daily meditation comes in. It can be amazing at controlling the negative thoughts in your mind, allowing you to “unstick” yourself from the worries that keep you up at night.

Plus, daily meditation can decrease the harmful hormones in your body, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which is the hormone released during our “fight or flight” response. 

4. Focus on the Present

If you practice mindfulness, you will be able to focus on the present moment without judgment or worry about the past or future. This well-needed break can relax your senses and help you snap back to reality and just live in the moment. 

5. Perform Deep Breathing Exercises

Engaging in progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises can help relieve physical tension, promoting a sense of ease and calm. Taking deep breaths can be particularly beneficial during moments of heightened anxiety.

6. Keep a Stress Log

Maintaining a stress log can help you track when you feel stressed and what your triggers are. By reviewing this tracker, you’ll be able to see which factors in your everyday life are becoming a cause of stress for you and identify the steps you can take to tackle those issues.

The Bottom Line

Constant worrying can hurt your mental and physical well-being, as well as your ability to stay focused and enjoy life. You can’t control the negative thoughts that seep into your mind, but you can control how you deal with them and the steps you take to rise above them. 

Remember that you, alone, can decide to break away from the cycle of worry and start living life on your terms. And we can help you with that. 

BetterSleep can be a wonderful companion in your journey towards a more stress-free life. We have some incredible ways to help you meditate and refocus on the now. Take our quiz today to help us understand your sleep needs and create a tailored plan for you.

What’s more, we offer access to incredibly helpful breathing exercises, so you can balance your breathing and get some much-needed peace at the same time. Want to learn more? Sign up to BetterSleep today and reclaim your chance at a life without worry.

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