It’s the morning after the night before. You had too much to drink, and you can feel the creeping physical signs of a hangover. Maybe it’s a headache, dry mouth, churning stomach. But it feels like something else is going on inside too. ‘Hangxiety’ is a term we often use to describe the combination of the physical signs of a hangover, alongside the emotional experience of anxiety. I spoke to Happiful all about why it happens, and how to cope. Click here to read the full article, and read on to learn what I had to say.
Why does 'hangxiety' happen? People drink alcohol for all sorts of different reasons, but we often drink to feel relaxed and to lower our inhibitions. The downside to this is that when the alcohol wears off, we are left feeling all of the same things that we felt before. So if we're prone to anxiety, then we'll find that it’s still there - even if we have temporarily forgotten our fears and worries. And there might be an added layer of embarrassment, guilt or anger, based on what happened, or what we did, while we were drinking.
Coping with 'hangxiety'
Understanding. The first step is to understand what’s going on. You might be overwhelmed by the combination of your physical hangover and your feelings of anxiety. Take stock and acknowledge that your hangover and the accompanying physical symptoms are likely to be exacerbating your anxiety. Notice if you’re spiralling into negative thoughts or catastrophising.
Tackling the hangover. Then consider what you need to do in order to tackle the hangover itself. This might involve sleep, water, food, fresh air, whatever helps you to alleviate that hangover feeling.
Coping with the anxiety. Different approaches work for different people. It might be helpful for you to unpick exactly what your anxiety stems from. Is it related to the events the night before? If so, it might be worth talking it through with someone else who was there, to gain some perspective and avoid catastrophising. Or perhaps it’s an underlying feeling that often follows you. If this is the case, then I’d suggest seeking some professional support to help you to look at the root cause of your anxiety, and to offer you coping strategies.
If you decide to cut down your drinking as a way of coping with hangxiety, here are a few tips:
Accountability often helps, so you might want to share your goals with other people.
Consider alternative options for socialising so that it doesn’t always feel as if having fun has to be accompanied by alcohol.
Notice how much better you feel when you don’t drink, or when you drink less. This can provide you with the ‘evidence’ or motivation that you might need in order to continue.
Keen to explore more?
I love working with people to help them to understand themselves, and why they feel the way that they do. If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch. Click here to contact me or click here to book a free 30-minute introductory chat.