So, we anxious people tend to find out more and more about how complex this disorder/anomaly that's called anxiety really is.
I grew up being both a person with tonnes of anxiety, and a person who 'asks too many questions'. After awhile, I just couldn't believe the lack of answers that our society as a whole had about anxiety, so I've fully delved into answering some of these questions.
For one, it seems like so many of us have anxiety, and it's consistently brushed off as a result. Plenty of us get anxious over many common things: before a meeting or a date, about anything that we don't particularly want to do, and a plethora of other short-term, passing events. But when anxiety is prolonged, and it's to the point of negatively affecting your everyday life, then the origin of this anxiety should really be rooted up.
Instead of just masking the symptoms, see if any of these unexpected causes could be contributing to your uncomfortable state:
1. Too much protein
Last Christmas, (I'm a hypochondriac), I was able to narrow down the cause of an unusually large amount of anxiety to a new high protein, low carb diet. I played with my hair so much (a tried and true nervous habit), that I ended up at the Dr.’s with completely normal blood and EKG tests and unfortunately, tendonitis from all that hair play. As soon as I put carbs back in my diet and chilled on the protein, I felt so much better. I did a little research to come to this conclusion, and what-do-you-know – protein blocks the synthesis of serotonin, which is needed for mood regulation (including the regulation of anxiety).
2. Serotonin Imbalances
If your serotonin levels (80 - 90% of which are in the digestive track), are too low or too high, both are argued to cause high levels of anxiety. It probably depends on the person and type of anxiety, but here’s an article challenging the traditional theory about anxiety being linked to only low serotonin. How do you know if you have a serotonin imbalance? Trial and error, I guess – try tryptophan or reducing your protein intake, which boosts serotonin, and see if you feel better after awhile. I’m definitely not a Doctor, but that’s exactly what I did, and I found my answer. (I have naturally low serotonin, and tryptophan does actually help me.)
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a significant cause of anxiety. Low blood sugar not only mimics anxiety symptoms like shaking, clammy skin, and moodiness, but just having those symptoms alone can incite hypochondria-like anxiety that any ‘normal’, ‘non-anxious’ person would feel.
4. You might be surrounded by toxic people/assholes
“Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, surrounded by assholes”.
Yeah, I’m lumping anxiety in there too, but think about it – say your place of work is really not the most loving or creative/whatever-you-need-it-to-be place – wouldn’t that make you feel like crap? You’re probably spending 40+ hours a week there! If it’s your coworkers or a group of friends that’s causing your anxiety, consider changing the group vibes somehow, or maybe just leave. (You're totally not a tree!) If your family is the toxic group, however - best of luck. May you have strength.
Now, there’s not a lot of info out there on radiation from laptops, cell phones, and wifi causing anxiety, but I 100% believe it to be true, so I shall share this nugget of my perceived truth. (This article backs me up.) When my phone or computer is too close to my heart, I feel obvious palpitations and headaches, which immediately vanishes once I move those objects away from me. I don’t know if it’s the radiation that causes my ensuing anxiety or the paranoia about why I’m having heart palpitations that causes the anxiety – but either way, check it out – it might be a factor for you.
6. Hormonal Imbalances
That’s right – it’s just PMS! Just kidding, but - maybe it is? All humans – male, female, and everything in between - have a mix of progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone – it’s not too hard to imagine how that whole cocktail of sex hormones could get thrown off balance. So, before you and your Dr. jump to any conclusions about how to treat your anxiety, rule out these hormonal conditions first.
7. You might just be smoking too much weed
Yeah, man – weed is so strong these days. (The indica strains tend to cause the most anxiety for me personally, but each person is different.) Also, your body chemistry changes as you get older, so you might want to try switching up that dosage. (Or to CBD oil, which is amazing.)
Is your anxiety still a mystery? Get the rest of the Hidden Causes of Anxiety list emailed to you right here:
So, any of these different factors could be playing a role in your anxiety, but I actually believe anxiety to be a pretty natural part of being a human. It's more like a disposition that prepares you for stressful circumstances. AND, it might even mean that you're smarter than the average bear, since recent research has linked having anxiety to having a higher IQ.
I grew up thinking that anxiety was a disadvantage, and was pretty frustrated with the lack of research and answers that were behind all of my burning anxiety questions: Where does anxiety come from? Is it in the mind first, and body later, or vice versa? Am I psychosomatic? Is anxiety even all that bad? What if it's an evolutionary advantage? Is anxiety my soul speaking out against my daily lifestyle?
While I didn't expect any of the existential questions to be answered, (they never are!), I did want to know exactly where anxiety came from. So I've been working really hard in my little home office, and now - I'm 96% sure that I do know where anxiety comes from.
Anxiety comes from an active imagination!
In 2017, I developed a theory that the imagination naturally produces 8 by-products, (I made this handy infographic), and chances are, you’re producing almost all of these by-products every single day. Any of the by-products - including anxiety - can be good or bad, and everyone has different ideal amounts that they’d like on a regular basis. (I personally like less anxiety and more creative projects).
Basically, we use our imagination to not only dream up an ideal house, body, or lifestyle that we want, but we dream up doom and gloom too - this manifests into anxiety. There's actually a super cool flowchart quiz that helps you recognize where your imagination energy is going so that you can channel it back into more desirable by-products like creative projects before it ever reaches the point of debilitating anxiety.
Take the Imagination Flowchart Quiz and find out where all of that imagination energy is going - get it emailed to that inbox!
Since writing this article, some more notable causes of anxiety (that your Doctor never talks about), have cropped up and accumulated. To get the rest of the hidden causes of anxiety list, (at least one of these probably applies to you!), drop those letters into these boxes below: