You might be surprised at some of your daily habits and lifestyle choices that could make you experience temporary symptoms that feel like anxiety.

Skipping meals: Waiting too long to eat or missing out on breakfast may lead to unsteady blood sugar levels, which can cause anxiety-like sensations, including shakiness, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty speaking. Prevent these blood sugar swings by eating frequent small meals and keeping snacks on hand.

Being dehydrated: Dehydration can cause more than just thirst and dry lips. It can also set the heart racing and make you feel light-headed and dizzy, all sensations that are common during anxiety attacks. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stave off any "thirsty" mood swings.

Consuming caffeine: Many people depend on their morning coffee for a jolt of energy and to kick-start their powers of focus and attention. But since it is a stimulant, caffeine can also kick-start feelings of anxiety. The jitters, shakes, and irregular heart rhythm you might get after a dose of caffeine can feel an awful lot like a panic attack, especially if you are already susceptible. Caffeine is also a diuretic, meaning it makes you urinate more and can lead to dehydration (see above).

Drinking alcohol: Where caffeine shakes you up, alcohol often smoothes over the rough edges of anxiety - at least for a little while. But as you drink more - and as your body digests the alcohol - you can experience confusion and physical symptoms that resemble anxiety. For people with anxiety disorders, alcohol can become a problem especially when used as an emotional crutch or a way to "self-medicate" against their symptoms.

Smoking: Research has shown that many smokers have a history of anxiety disorder. This does not mean that cigarettes or nicotine cause anxiety. As with alcohol use, people with anxiety disorders may lean on alcohol as a crutch or self-medication. For some, smoking appears calming. But nicotine also ramps up blood pressure and heart rate, two physical symptoms that can mirror anxiety. Also, smokers with a history of anxiety disorders are less likely to quit, possibly because nicotine withdrawal symptoms can cause or worsen anxiety symptoms.

Texting at bedtime: In one research study, kids and teenagers who used computers or cell phones right before bedtime reported having a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. Kids sent a staggering average of 34 texts or emails per night, with a monthly tally of around 3,000 bedtime messages! All of this nighttime stimulation leads to a loss of quality sleep, which can spill over into daylight hours and increase risks of learning disabilities, depression, and anxiety. Turning off the computer and phone long before bedtime can help children and adults to get a good night's sleep and help everyone to better cope with the day to day stresses we face and have more energy for healthier habits.

Breathing unevenly: Meditation is often recommended as a way to soothe stress and anxiety. Steady, even, and mindful breathing may help to calm you, and uneven breathing can do the opposite. Hyperventilation (rapid, shallow breathing), holding the breath, and shortness of breath can be symptoms of anxiety as well as triggers.

Ignoring an unconscious cue: This is one of the "psychological factors" mentioned above. Sometimes an anxiety trigger is so subtle that you are completely unaware of anything associated with it. An anxiety cue (also called a conditioned stimulus) might be a scent, a song, a certain place you visit, or a particular situation. The link between these unconscious cues and anxiety could be rooted in a past trauma or anxious experience that you need to resolve or revisit. For example, if you notice that catching a whiff of a cleaning product or sanitizer seems to set off your anxiety symptoms, perhaps it comes from a childhood fear of dentists or doctors. Try to keep track of the moments when you feel the most anxious: Where are you when it happens? What's going on around you? What do you hear, smell, or see?

More about the psychological causes of anxiety