Anxiety Triggers - 11 Common Anxiety Triggers to Understand Mental Health
Anxiety is a mental health condition that causes feelings of worry, fear, or tension when exposed to certain triggers. For some people, anxiety disorders can be so severe that it causes panic attacks and extreme physical symptoms like chest pains or heart palpitations.
The cause of anxiety and anxiety disorders can be foggy and difficult to ascertain, as it is likely to be caused by a variety of factors. These factors range from things such as genetics, the environment somebody lives in, and personal history - and they all play a role.
It has been shown that some events, emotions, and experiences can cause your symptoms of social anxiety to worsen when exposed to them. These are known as anxiety triggers, meaning that they will range from person to person, many triggers are shared among people with social anxiety and similar conditions.
It is also common to find that someone suffering from an anxiety disorder has multiple triggers, or even discover what triggers anxiety attacks in them can be for seemingly no reason at all. Because of this, it is key to discover and recognise any anxiety triggers you may have in order to take steps in managing them effectively.
You may be wondering what can trigger depression and anxiety. Causes can range from subconscious anxiety triggers to ones that are fully known to you, this guide covers the 11 most common anxiety triggers, and what you can do to keep them under your control.
An upsetting, distressing, or difficult health diagnoses, such as cancer or a chronic illness, can trigger anxiety or make existing anxiety symptoms worse. This type of trigger is extremely powerful due to the immediate and personal feelings it produces in people receiving the information.
You can help to reduce your anxiety caused by health issues by being proactive and engaged with your go-to medical practitioner. In order to come to terms with your diagnosis, and to learn how to manage your emotions, talking with a therapist may be helpful.
Did you know that certain prescription and over the counter medications can cause symptoms of anxiety? This is because some of the active ingredients in these medications can cause anxiety or depression symptoms or side effects that make you feel uneasy or unwell.
Because of these side effects, a series of events in your mind and body, such as thinking your medications aren’t working or pondering if you’ve taken too much, can lead to additional symptoms of anxiety.
Some medicines that could act as anxiety triggers include:
- Birth control pills
- Cough and congestion medications
- Weight loss medications
- Pain relief
If you find that you feel anxious for a period after taking medications, and think the two may be linked, talk with your GP about how these drugs make you feel so that they can help you look for an alternative that doesn’t act as an anxiety trigger while still doing what they’re supposed to for you.
Ah, that morning cup of coffee. Some people simply cannot go without their morning cuppa in order to prevent feeling lethargic all day, but did you know that the high caffeine content in some coffees and teas can actually act as anxiety triggers?
According to a 2010 study, people who suffer from panic disorder and/or social anxiety disorder, are especially sensitive to the anxiety triggering effects of caffeine.
Some drinks and foods that trigger anxiety, like coffee and energy drinks, can make already existing symptoms worse. So If you find that you feel more anxious after your essential cup of coffee in the morning, or after that iced latte on your chore run through the city, we recommend stopping drinking or cutting back on your caffeine intake by substituting non-caffeinated options where possible.
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Research from a 2010 review of natural treatments for anxiety suggests that magnesium can be helpful as a natural remedy and treatment for those who suffer from anxiety. Research in 2017 further proved this claim, discovering that magnesium does, in fact, reduce anxiety.
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We know the benefits that intermittent fasting can have on your body, but your blood sugar can drop when you don’t eat anything for long periods of time. This means that your hands can start being jittery, and your stomach will start rumbling, both of which can act as anxiety triggers.
Making sure to eat balanced meals is important for a multitude of reasons. Not only will it provide you with the necessary energy and important meals to keep your body running properly, but staying healthy will also prevent feelings of anxiety.
If you have a busy lifestyle and can’t make time for three meals a day, or you take part in the intermittent fasting diet, then healthy snacks at times that are convenient for you will act as a great way to prevent low blood sugar, feelings of nervousness, agitation, and anxiety. Remember, food can affect your mood, and not eating has the potential to make someone particularly grouchy.
Your mind controls many aspects of your body, and the same rings true with symptoms of anxiety. When you find yourself upset or frustrated, the words you tell yourself can trigger anxiety - and those who suffer from various forms of body dysmorphia and other similar disorders never find themselves speaking in praise when it comes to themselves.
Do you tend to use a lot of negative words when thinking or talking about yourself? Learning to refocus the language you use when thinking of yourself can prove to be helpful, and working with a therapist can be an incredibly helpful tool during this process.
Having debt, or worries about saving enough money to get by, can act as anxiety triggers. Unexpected bills, sudden costs piling up, and general money fear all act as anxiety triggers - and this is an all too common one in this day and age.
Learning to manage these types of anxiety triggers may require seeking help from a professional, such as a financial advisor who is qualified to talk about money and give you the best possible advice.
Feeling like you have a companion by your side and helping to guide you through tough financial situations can ease your concerns about your finances and reduce your symptoms of anxiety.
Parties or Social Events
A room full of strangers doesn’t feel like fun to a lot of people. You're not alone in feeling this way, and events that force you to make small talk or perform social interactions with people you don’t know, or are barely acquainted with, can all act as anxiety triggers. If this is a frequent occurrence, however, you may be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder.
To help ease these feelings of worry or unease, always try to bring a plus one where possible. Having someone that you know acting as a companion by your side during tough social scenarios can be one of the best things for you to feel more comfortable.
It is also a good idea to work with a professional to discover what the solution for this can be, helping you to find coping mechanisms that will help to make these kinds of events more manageable in the long term.
Relationship problems, family issues, arguments, and disagreements are all the kinds of conflicts that act as anxiety triggers. If conflict particularly triggers you, either due to poor experiences in the past or growing up in a particularly volatile household, you may need to learn conflict resolution strategies.
Also, it is a good idea to work with a therapist or other mental health specialist to learn how to manage the feelings of anxiety that conflicts can cause.
Daily stresses, like traffic jams, missing your train, or simply running late, can all cause anyone anxiety. However, long-term or chronic stress can lead to long-term anxiety disorders and worsening symptoms; as well as a range of other health problems related to stress.
In trying to deal with stress, people may resort to certain behaviours like skipping meals, drinking alcohol, and not getting enough sleep. These factors can all act as anxiety triggers, or worsen your pre-existing anxiety. If you’re wondering “why does alcohol trigger anxiety?”, it is due to its nature as a depressant. Alcohol abuse can lead to negative thoughts, major depression, and alcohol-induced anxiety attacks from occurring.
Treating and preventing stress and anxiety often requires the learning of coping mechanisms with the help of a therapist or counsellor. They can help you to learn and recognise the sources of your stress, and handle them effectively to prevent them from becoming overwhelming or problematic for you to handle.
Public Events or Performances
Public speaking, talking in front of your boss, performing a presentation, participating in a competition, social phobias, or simply reading out loud can all act as anxiety triggers. If this is a requirement for your place of work or hobbies, a doctor or therapist can work alongside you to help you devise ways to be more comfortable in these settings.
Also, a bit of positivity can go a long way. Positive reinforcements from friends and colleagues can help you to feel more comfortable and confident in these sorts of events.
Personal anxiety triggers can be difficult to identify, but getting in contact with a mental health specialist who is trained to identify them will help you greatly in the long term.
Can smells trigger anxiety? Smells, foods, a place, or even a song can all act as anxiety triggers. They act as personal triggers, either as conscious or subconscious anxiety triggers, that can remind you of a bad memory or traumatic event in your life.
Those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently experience anxiety triggers from environmental triggers, forcing them to suffer from reminders of bad events in their lives which could lead to panic attacks.
The process of identifying your personal triggers may take time, but it is of great importance to recognise them so that you can learn to overcome them.
3 Top Tips to Help you With Identifying Anxiety Triggers
Learning and identifying your triggers will help you to understand them fully, meaning that you can work to avoid them and start dealing with anxiety triggers even better. Learning specific coping strategies can also help you handle the triggers when they do happen. Our top three tips for identifying your triggers include:
Start a journal:
Write down when you realise your anxiety is noticeable, and record what you believe has led the trigger to manifest. There is also a range of apps that can help you track your anxiety which is freely available.
Work with a therapist:
Some anxiety triggers can also be difficult to identify yourself. A mental health specialist is fully qualified and trained to help you with this process. They may utilise tactics like talk therapy, journaling, or other methods to help you recognise your triggers.
Be honest with yourself:
Anxiety can cause negative thoughts and poor self-assessments to manifest themselves in your mind. This can make identifying your triggers difficult because of your anxious reactions, but it is important to be patient with yourself during this process, and ensure that you are willing to explore certain events and things in your past in order to recognise how they affect you today.
What to Know About Anxiety Triggers
While occasional anxiety is common during typically anxiety-inducing situations, chronic feelings of worry, fear, or dread are not common or normal. Suffering from anxiety in silence is not the answer, and suffering from overbearing anxious thoughts in your daily life is a sign you should seek professional help.
One of the main positive takeaways from this is that anxiety is a highly treatable mental health condition, although it is very common for people to not seek treatment either because they don’t recognise their symptoms as anxiety or because of stigma.
We hold the belief that, if your anxiety is impeding your day-to-day life, you should seek help. Getting in touch with a mental health specialist will help to find a treatment plan that can ease your symptoms, and help you cope with anxiety triggers.
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