By: Rachel Fowler, MS, LPC
Everyone, including children, have habits that make anxiety worse—for example, staying up late one night to finish a movie or skipping a meal because we lost track of time in the day. Those examples might have little to no effect at first, but once they become habits, they have significant consequences on your body. Unhealthy habits can increase stress levels in the body and cause chemical imbalances making anxiety worsen. Anxiety can quickly spiral out of control for anyone, especially in children, when paired with unhealthy habits.
Anxiety can present itself in multiple ways in children. Each child’s experience with anxiety is different, and so are the symptoms. Anxiety’s common physical symptoms are shaking/trembling, increased heart rate, stomach pains, rapid breathing, and headaches. Mood-related anxiety symptoms are feeling irritable, tired, and an overall sense of panic or fear.
What Are Some Common Habits That Make Anxiety Worse in Children?
1. Not Drinking Enough Water
Dehydration causes increased cortisol levels, the stress hormone, throughout the body. Prolonged levels of cortisol in the body can mimic symptoms of anxiety. High Cortisol levels cause fatigue, increase irritability, and make it difficult to concentrate.
2. Skipping Meals
Healthy blood sugar levels are essential to mood stabilization. Like adults, when children skip meals, there is an increased chance of their blood sugar levels dropping. In addition, low blood sugar levels cause irritability, dizziness, shaking, and increased heart rate.
3. Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep affects children the same way it affects adults. Not getting enough sleep causes irritability, moodiness, and decreased concentration. All these symptoms are common when discussing anxiety.
Why is it Important to Identify Anxious Habits?
These habits and many others make anxiety worse by exaggerating the symptoms commonly related to anxiety. The child’s window of stress tolerance will get smaller. This leads children to feel higher levels of stress and nervousness. Therefore, the child is more likely to act out, show unwanted behaviors, and experience anxiety.
Psychoeducation for Children With Anxiety:
The child and families can benefit from understanding how seemly harmless habits can increase their stress and worsen their anxiety. Therefore, these habits make it more difficult for children to manage their anxiety and complete daily activities. Creating and establishing healthy habits early in life is essential to managing and coping with stress.
Begin Therapy or Support for Mental Health in Katy, TX!
Have you noticed your child struggling with habits that make their anxiety worse? If you feel like your child could benefit from counseling and help improve their mental health. Let one of the therapists at The Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide mental health counseling, as well as other mental health services.
If you are ready to lessen your child’s anxiety, one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide counseling and mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more about emotionally focused therapy
- Meet with one of our incredible therapists!
- Find ways to help your child today.
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!