Examining The Different Contributors to Anxiety: Diet, Lifestyle Choices, and More

Updated January 22, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

Anxiety is never fun to deal with. To date, anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and unease regarding events in the past, present or future. In many cases, people who experience anxiety can also undergo various symptoms, such as the lack of interest in being around others, increased heart rate, nervousness, sweating and more. Now as you might imagine, anxiety doesn't just happen for no reason. There are various situations and scenarios which are more prone to causing anxiety.

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A Brief Overview Of Anxiety

It goes without saying that one of the best ways to prevent and overcome anxiety is to understand its different contributors. However, before this can happen, it's first important to review anxiety and have, at the very least, a basic understanding of this emotion and all that comes along with it.


There are a variety of symptoms which are commonly associated with anxiety. In most cases, people are aware when they are undergoing feelings of anxiousness even if they struggle with controlling these feelings. Sweating, restlessness, and struggle with concentration are some of the most obvious indicators of anxiety. Additional symptoms include irritation, trouble with sleeping, and worrying. The degrees and amount of symptoms which are experienced can vary; however, none of them are very good.


The appropriate treatment measures for anxiety can vary depending upon a series of factors. In cases where someone is simply feeling anxious, they can often overcome this by temporarily focusing on another matter, breathing deeply, counting to ten, or otherwise engaging in healthy practices which will help to calm them down.

When someone is experiencing chronic anxiety or an anxiety disorder, this is where matters can become a little more complicated. Anxiety of this nature can also be indicative of another underlying issue and therefore require more extensive and professional treatment. Counseling, and therapy have each been documented as proven, successful treatment options for individuals who struggle with a serious nature of anxiety. Sometimes, a combination of the aforementioned treatment measures can also be helpful. Ultimately, it all boils down to the individual at hand and what they are dealing with.

Various Contributors To Anxiety

Anxiety does not just appear out of nowhere. Contrary to certain beliefs, there is always a cause, even if this cause isn't readily apparent or easy to tell from a distance. Understanding how various factors can contribute to or exacerbate anxiety is so important. Sometimes we have to make certain changes if we want to improve our mental and emotional health. This isn't always the easiest thing in the world, but at the end of the day, you will thank yourself.


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Many people don't realize this, but the quality of a person's diet can impact their emotional health. For individuals who already struggle with anxiety on one level or another, diet makes such a big difference. You are what you eat; the foods and liquids which you put inside your body are going to impact you, whether for better or for worse. Diet is a critical part of health and nutrition on all levels. Thankfully, there are a variety of dietary steps you can take if you are looking to ward off or lessen anxiety.

Water, protein, and carbohydrates are each crucial, healthy elements which should be regularly consumed inside the body. First and foremost, the body is made of very high amounts of water. With the energy that is exerted throughout the day, staying properly hydrated is so important. It can also improve your general mood, whether you realize it or not. Like water, the frequent consumption of protein and carbohydrates is very important. Protein is well-documented as an amazing source of energy, particularly for your blood sugar. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, boost serotonin in your brain, a chemical which is responsible for feelings of calmness.

Just as including certain things in your diet, limiting the intake of other things is also equally as important. If you are someone who deals with anxiety, then you will want to steer clear of alcohol and caffeine. The consumption of these elements may taste great at first, but the later effects aren't so awesome. Alcohol has been proven to have significant impacts on people's emotions and quality of sleep. Likewise, caffeine consumption is linked to increased feelings of nervousness and struggles with sleeping at night. In layman's terms, alcohol and caffeine are the worst enemies of anyone who is struggling to overcome anxiety.

Lifestyle Choices

Diet is certainly a critical contributor to anxiety, but it's not the only contributor, not even by a longshot. The lifestyle choices which an individual regularly partakes in will certainly impact their emotional state, and if this person is trying to cope with anxiety, then the impacts of their lifestyle decisions will be significantly impacted. A person can have the best diet in the world but if they are living a lifestyle which isn't conducive to their mental or emotional health, then a nutritious diet will be rapidly overshadowed by an unhealthy lifestyle.

There are many aspects which comprise an individual's lifestyle, but for most people, work is one of these factors. Believe it or not, the quality of your workplace environment is paramount, especially when it comes to anxiety. How do you feel about your work? Do you love your job or do you dread waking up every morning? What is your working environment like? How do you feel when you are around your coworkers, business partners, or clients? Each of these questions matter and should be answered with some serious thought and consideration. If you don't like your answers, then you may want to consider making certain changes, even if it's initially uncomfortable.

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Relationships are another part of a person's lifestyle that can contribute to the existence of anxiety. The people who you surround yourself with matter; they can lift you up or tear you down. They can inspire you or drain you. Ultimately, it's up to you to determine whether or not your relationships are healthy and setting up to experience emotional health and mental health at the highest quality. If you find your anxiety frequently worsening when you are around certain people, then this is a sign that change is in order.

Like your workplace and relationships, the quality of balance is another part of your lifestyle which matters. Balance matters for so many reasons, particularly regarding anxiety and general emotional health. Did you know that many people experience anxiety because they have overextended themselves or otherwise failed to achieve balance? We live in a society that glamourizes pushing yourself and going the extra mile, and to a certain extent, this is okay. However, it stops being okay when your health takes hits and you start to experience anxiety. Finding balance will help you in so many areas of life, especially when it comes to anxiety.

Issues from the Past

When we don't deal with things from our past, they have a way of catching up with us. They can catch up in a variety of ways, including the manifestation of anxiety. If you find yourself constantly on edge or dealing with frequent anxiety, then there may be a deeper issue at hand; anxiety may merely be a symptom of deeper problem which needs to be addressed before you can heal.

Everyone goes through tough times in life. Sometimes, it can be tempting to sweep these issues under the rug, pretend as though they don't exist and attempt to will them into nothingness. Unfortunately, this isn't how it works. When you fail to deal with issues from the past, they will linger, fester, and manifest in various ways. This isn't healthy or conducive to your health or wellbeing. Sometimes, we may not even be consciously aware of the fact that we have yet to deal with issues which are causing us to struggle with present day anxiety.

It's Okay To Ask For Help

It's all well and good to examine the different contributors to anxiety. However, if this is an emotional plight that you regularly find yourself struggling with, you may need outside help, and that's okay. Anxiety can be very tough to deal with and it has a way of sneaking up on people. You may feel as though you are alone; you may struggle with knowing who you can trust or confide in, but there are good people out there who can help you if you allow them to do so.

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Here at BetterHelp, we have some really great counselors and therapists who would be thrilled to work with you. Whether you are battling anxiety or another matter entirely, it's very necessary for you to know that you are not in this fight alone. Tough times can often feel alienating and it can be easy to forget that there are other people in the world who can be there for you. Everyone deserves a shoulder to lean on sometimes.

No matter who you are or what your situation may be, BetterHelp will always be here for those who are open and receptive to the assistance. You can contact us anytime simply by clicking here.

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