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8 Anxiety Triggers You Must Be Aware Of

man feeling anxiety

8 Anxiety Triggers You Must Be Aware Of


Anxiety is a mental health condition characterized by feelings of worry, uncertainty, and fear. It may also cause panic attacks in some people as well as physical symptoms like chest pain, hyperventilation, fatigue, and sweating.

Anxiety can come and go due to certain triggers. But when these feelings last indefinitely and significantly impair your life and activities, that's an anxiety disorder.

The cause of anxiety disorders is a mystery that experts have failed to accurately unravel. Genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role. However, certain elements, emotions, and experiences can trigger the symptoms of anxiety to manifest. Anxiety triggers may include caffeine, negative thoughts, money problems, stress, and difficult tasks.

Identifying your anxiety triggers is important as it's a step towards managing the condition. When you know what triggers your anxiety, you can avoid or counter them.


Here's what might be triggering your anxiety

1.       Caffeine

People with panic disorder and social anxiety disorder are particularly susceptible to the anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine. So, if you've always relied on a morning cup of coffee to jolt you to life, it's time to dial down on that routine.


2.       Negative thoughts

Anxiety involves feelings of worry, uncertainty, and fear. These are what you typically feel when you begin to have negative thoughts. For example, allowing yourself to feel inadequate or worried about the future can trigger your anxiety.

If your thoughts are often pessimistic, try to refocus and use more positive words. It may also help to work with a therapist.


3.       Money problems

Financial challenges can significantly trigger anxiety. You're worried about your debts and kids' welfare without a visible means to settle them. Money problems can even hinder depression treatment outcomes. You may need the help of a financial advisor or financial wellness coach to deal with this anxiety trigger.


4.       Social gatherings

If you have a social anxiety disorder or social phobia, the thought of going to parties will most likely make you anxious. The idea of being in a room filled with strangers can be debilitating.

One way to counter this is to always go to events with a friendly companion. But for long-term help, you may need to see a psychiatrist.


5.       Physical health challenges

Being diagnosed with a life-threatening or chronic condition can trigger anxiety as it causes more than enough worry. In addition, if you already have an anxiety disorder, such news can worsen your anxiety symptoms.

It's advisable to seek mental health care while treating the chronic condition. You don't want to leave one unchecked as it can hinder improvement in the one being treated.


6.       OTC medications

Certain OTC prescriptions may trigger anxiety symptoms by making you feel uneasy and unwell. Such medications include birth control, weight loss, and nasal congestion pills. They contain compounds that set off a chain of events in your body and mind, causing anxiety symptoms to manifest.


7.       Stress

Stress is one of the major triggers of anxiety. Overworking yourself all day without rest is enough to cause anxiety in anyone. But when it goes on for the long term, it can lead to long-term anxiety or worsen your symptoms.

Furthermore, stress can cause you to skip meals, lose sleep, and drink alcohol to relax, all of which can trigger or worsen anxiety.


8.       Thought of doing something you've never done in public

Have you ever been told to deliver a lecture in front of a large crowd? Even the thought of reading aloud in front of your class can cause you intense worry.

Having a seemingly difficult task ahead of you is one notable anxiety trigger. In times like this, you may want to take a deep breath and tell yourself, "I've got this!" Speaking words of affirmation to yourself can also help reinforce your confidence and counter your insecurities.


How to identify your anxiety trigger

In addition to the above, some personal experiences can trigger your anxiety, such as a smell, image, or thought. Perhaps, the element brings an ugly past experience to mind.

To detect your anxiety trigger, keep a journal and write down the event preceding your anxiety. By keeping a record, you'll identify a pattern or likely scenarios that often make you anxious.

Note that sometimes you can't counter these things yourself, especially in severe cases. Anxiety disorder can impair one's quality of life. If that's already happening, do not hesitate to get help from a licensed mental health professional.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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