Hey Optimist Minds!
Anxiety is a natural condition that our mind and body experience when we perceive a threat. It doesn’t have to a real or physical threat. Simply the thought of a negative possibility is enough to trigger the anxious reaction.
Think of your anxiety as an excess of energy and alertness. It’s designed to prepare you for dangers around you but at times, it can get a bit too much. When the level of anxiousness exceeds what is appropriate for any given situation, it becomes a problem.
The extra energy and vigilance brought by the anxiety then make us behave in unusual ways. Sometimes, these behaviours might seem odd to spectators. In this video, we’re going to explore seven weird things you do when anxious.
Before we start, we want to clarify that not everyone who’s anxious will behave in these ways. Similarly, just because you do these things, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an anxiety disorder.
Now, let’s begin.
Have you ever been able to sit still when feeling anxious? Probably not.
Cognitive research suggests that fidgeting is associated with how stimulated we are. Fidgeting acts as a self-regulation mechanism to help us boost or lower our attention levels depending on the situation.
Anxiety causes you to fidget so you can feel less stimulated. That’s why fidget spinners and toys are popoular amongst individuals with anxiety disorders.
You bite your nails.
Also known as onychophagia, nail biting is commonly seen as a manifestation of anxiety. Not just your nails, you might also bite your cuticles or try to peel your skin off with your mouth.
Besides being unattractive and unhygeinic, nail biting can also damage your teeth. So, if your anxiety is making you do this, it might help to see a counsellor to learn replacement habits.
You rearrange your stuff.
Many people find that obsessive behaviours serve as an effective thought control strategy. That’s why, when you’re anxious, you might feel an urge to reorganise your room or alphabetise your books.
These tasks are tedious and require attention to detail. Doing them temporarily distracts you from your anxious thoughts. It also gives you something to do with all that energy and alertness.
You excessively engage in your hobby.
If tidying up and organising articles isn’t you thing, you might instead keep yourself busy doing things that do interest you. Maybe you like to bake a lot. It can be quite meditative and you cheer yourself up with baked goodies.
Or, perhaps, you like to sketch. Everytime you’re anxious, you start drawing in your various notebooks. Such coping mechanisms only gets weird if you’re so anxious that you end up making hundreds of brownies or doodles in the middle of the night.
You shake your legs.
Restless leg syndrome is a condition characterised by a nearly irresistible urge to move the legs, typically in the evenings. It causes you to shake your legs uncontrollably at a fast pace.
This can be a little annoying for people sharing your living space. But more importantly, it’s a a risk factor of higher prevalence of anxiety and depression.
You bite your lips.
Some people have a habit of biting or sucking on their lips as a soothing technique. If you do it when you’re anxious, then you probably don’t notice it till you get hurt.
With dehydration, there might be a little dry skin to pick on. Then, you start biting the skin off your lips as a release of nervous energy. Before you realise it, your lips are chapped or bleeding.
You start pacing around.
Another way to discharge anxious energy is to walk. Walking even serves as an effective remedy for many physical and psychological issues. But you don’t always get to walk outdoors if you’re feeling anxious.
So, instead, you might start pacing in circles indoors. It almost feels automatic because your body takes over and makes you move.
Have you ever found yourself doing any of these weird behaviours? Do you do something else that’s strange when you’re facing anxiety? Let us know your thoughts and stories in the comments. The Optimist Minds community could surely benefit from you sharing.
A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.
Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.