Environmental causes of anxiety can be sneaky and harder to realize. Because it deals with more personal relationships, many times we don’t want to see that a romantic relationship, friendship or job is causing the stress that is giving us anxiety. Now, when talking about environment, that can include not only a personal relationship or job, but also includes school, financial stress and other situations we deal with on a daily basis.
Relationships- Big environmental cause for anxiety
How can a personal relationship cause us anxiety? Well, take friendships for starters. Some of us may have that one friend that we are never totally comfortable around. I had a friend that would put me down and disguise it as “just giving you advice”. That may well have been her intention but it usually came off as being judgemental and critical. It got to the point where I had to watch what I said and I felt like I was walking on eggshells around her all the time. Dealing with her caused me stress and anxiety. I am a huge proponent of being yourself. That may seem like a strange thing to say, but honestly, I felt I wasn’t being myself around this person.
What if it isn’t a friend but a loved one causing you to have anxiety. I know a woman who says she has anxiety all day wondering about what kind of mood her partner is going to be in. Many times communication is lacking and having to guess or make up our own reasons for why he/she is acting this or that way can leave us in a constant state of worry. It then becomes very easy for us to drive ourselves crazy by placing our own interpretation on our partners actions.
Of course it could be worse than that. Being in an abusive relationship, mentally or physically abusive, is of course, also going to be a reason for anxiety. Obviously, getting out of a relationship like that is of the utmost importance, but the anxiety can linger even after the relationship is over.
Negative environment can cause anxiety
Extremely negative people can also cause you to be anxious. I know a couple of people like this and what I find funny is that they themselves don’t suffer from anxiety. You would think that they would with all the gloom and doom they spread but maybe exposing other people to their negativity makes them happy. So, if there is someone like this in your life, they may be causing you stress which can lead to anxiety.
Workplace setting can cause anxiety
What about your job? Some jobs are just stressful by nature, for example, police officers, firefighters, airline pilots, military personnel etc; However even working behind a desk can be stressful if you’re not happy there or if you have to deal with an obnoxious boss or co-workers. Even running your own business can be stressful, especially if you’re the “do everything on my own” type.
I have been self employed for years and let me tell you, the stress from self employment can be crippling. When you work for someone else and you leave your office, hopefully, you leave the worries of your job at the office too. When you’re self employed, it becomes easy to be “on call” 24/7.
Education is stressful
School can also be a cause for anxiety. My youngest daughter is currently in college. She tells me at least once a week that she is having anxiety about her classes. Some reasons college students may be experiencing anxiety could be class load, parental expectations and worry about the future. Anxiety is not limited to college students only. Many high school students have anxiety due to wanting to fit in, deciding which college they should go to and their safety in the wake of so many school shootings. Social media has also been shown to cause anxiety by setting unrealistic expectations about life and lifestyles. It can make people believe they are missing out or that their lives are worse than everyone else’s.
Money situation worries
Finances are one of the most common causes of stress and worry. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I do know that I suffer from “worst case scenario” syndrome. I’ll lose my house, I won’t be able to pay my bills, I’ll have to keep working til I’m 80 and on and on. Financial anxiety can stem from an underlying fear, such as losing your job, not budgeting properly or spending too much money.
Those were just a few examples of how our environment can cause anxiety and I’m sure there are more that I didn’t mention here. I also didn’t mention solutions because our environments are very specific to us and what might work for one person won’t work for another. The purpose of this post was to help us identify if our environment can be a contributing factor to our anxiety.
Please check out my other post about brain chemistry and anxiety here.
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“If you’re going through hell, keep going” Winston Churchill