What Triggers Your Anxiety? 10 Common Triggers to Know and How to Manage Them

Being afraid from time to time is normal. For example, you might get sweaty hands before a public speaking or you might be afraid to sell your house. However, if you experience intense, persistent worry on a regular basis, you may have an anxiety disorder. When a person is afraid, they experience anxiety or worry about everyday activities and situations. Severe anxiety can affect a person’s ability to function in everyday activities.

Triggers are stimuli that bring your fear to the fore. For example, if you are afraid of being rejected, your fear may be triggered when a friend stops texting you. Knowing your triggers is important to managing your anxiety. By knowing what your anxiety triggers are, you can develop specific coping techniques to help reduce or eliminate your anxiety.

Read on to learn more about it common anxiety triggers and how to recognize them. And remember to find a great personal or personal contact online therapist can help you deal with persistent anxiety.

Continue reading: 7 ways to support a partner with anxiety

Common triggers for anxiety

Anxiety looks different for everyone, so your triggers will be unique to you. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are some common anxiety triggers and possible coping techniques.

1. Being in social situations

Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, involves feelings of self-esteem and worry about being judged in social situations. You may notice sweaty palms, rapid heart rates, and other symptoms of anxiety even when thinking about attending a party.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, people with social anxiety disorder may avoid social situations altogether. If you’re experiencing this trigger, it can help to make sure you bring a friend or family member who can put your mind at ease. Start by going to smaller gatherings and work your way up to larger events.

2. Taking certain medications

Substance-induced anxiety can be caused by taking or stopping certain medications, including steroids, stimulants, and decongestants. These drugs can affect your brain chemistry and lead to anxious thoughts. If you suspect a new drug is causing anxiety, you should talk to your doctor about alternatives.

woman taking medication

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3. Drinking too much caffeine

Along with prescription and over-the-counter medications, caffeine is a common stimulant that can lead to increased anxiety. While caffeine is harmless to many people, it is ultimately mood-altering and can make anxiety symptoms worse. If you suspect caffeine to be a trigger, consider weaning yourself off foods and beverages like soda, caffeinated coffee, and chocolate.

4. Not getting enough sleep

Lack of sleep, especially severe sleep disorders such as insomnia, can be a sign of an anxiety disorder. If you’re worried about the next day’s events or stressed about a social interaction that happened today, you can toss and turn until dawn.

Nighttime anxiety can actually interfere with your rapid eye movement sleep. That spins fear and sleep into a vicious circle. You can’t sleep because you’re anxious, and then you wake up tired and anxious because you didn’t sleep well. If you think lack of sleep is a trigger for your anxiety, consider making changes to your sleep patterns sleep routine. Eliminate light and noise from your sleeping environment and avoid caffeine and alcohol just before bed. A night tea can also help.

5. Being in a crowded or messy room

Sometimes external clutter can trigger internal stress. When you look around and see dirty dishes or stacks of mail, you may be overwhelmed by the number of unfulfilled tasks in your life. Disinterest in tidying up can also be a symptom of depression, which is often associated with anxiety. If you think a messy home is triggering your anxiety, make a short list of chores you need to do each day. It can also be helpful to bring in outside housekeeping to relieve your stress related to cleanliness.

6. Being stressed

Stress is usually defined as a response to an external source, such as B. the loss of a job or a difficult relationship at home. Stress usually goes away when its cause disappears. On the contrary, anxiety is generated internally and does not always go away when an external stressor ends. Although the two phenomena are often related, they do not always occur simultaneously. That being said, an increase in stress can make your anxiety worse.

If stress is an anxiety trigger for you, consider ways to limit external sources of stress. Remove unnecessary commitments from your calendar, put your bills on autopay and let your boss know when you need help at work. And as simple as it sounds, sometimes breathing techniques and similar coping mechanisms can help relieve anxiety caused by stress in the short-term.

7. Experiencing financial problems

Money is another common cause of anxiety for many people. 77% of Americans say they are concerned about their financial situation. Debt can feel crippling and many people live paycheck to paycheck. When money issues make you anxious, taking action can help. Explore debt consolidation options and check out budgeting apps to help you manage your money. Consultation with a financial advisor can also be helpful – some offer a free initial meeting.

Woman with financial papers calculating numbers while making a worried expression on her face

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8. Being in conflict

Fear of conflict may be related to social anxiety disorder. Whether it’s a work conflict or a quarrel at home, a state of frustration can often trigger anxious thoughts and feelings. Talking to a therapist can help you manage this trigger around people you can’t remove from your life.

9. Experiencing major life transitions

According to a 2020 study, moving, divorce, and changing careers are among the most stressful life events. Almost half of all respondents in the study said moving was the most stressful life event they had ever experienced, while 33% of respondents said getting married was their most stressful experience. Major life events can definitely trigger both stress and anxiety.

If you know that transitions induce anxiety, start planning the steps to complete the transition (call movers for quotes, buy boxes, hire maid) whenever possible. While fear can cause people to freeze, creating action items and checking them off can help you feel more in control.

10. Engaging in “negative self-talk.”

If you’re already anxious, annoying yourself can make symptoms worse. Cognitive therapy can help you find healthier ways to deal with your mistakes and learn to break negative thought patterns.

Use these tips to identify and manage your anxiety triggers

There are many myths about fear, including that it is made up or is the same as shy. In fact, fear doesn’t just go away, you can learn to manage your triggers. Here are some steps you can take today to identify your anxiety triggers and start managing them.

  • Working with a therapist: One of the best ways to identify triggers is to have an objective psychologist talk to you about your anxiety history. A therapist can help you reflect on past situations that made you feel triggered. When you see a pattern, you can better predict what will cause anxiety in the future. Your therapist can also work with you to develop positive self-talk.
  • Writing a diary: Tracking your own journey daily allows you to identify triggers in real time and track patterns. Writing also creates a place where you can feel safe when you are panicking. Looking back at past entries can be very revealing.
  • set limits: Once you’ve identified what your triggers are, set healthy boundaries with your triggers in mind. For example, if you know that social situations trigger anxiety, you can start saying no to events that you know you will not enjoy. If you know that travel is an anxiety trigger, consider booking a separate hotel room for yourself for your next getaway with friends.
  • Inform yourself: Learning about an anxiety disorder can also help you deal with it and avoid the most common triggers. While you can’t think your way out of the anxiety, you can learn tips and tricks about what has worked for other people in terms of reducing symptoms.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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