7 Anxiety Triggers and How to Protect Yourself from Them
Is it any wonder, with the world in turmoil today, that we’ve seen a significant increase in issues relating to our emotional and psychological health?
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common conditions. With people upset about their health risk, loss of friends, family, or co-workers from COVID, or loss of a job or business, it’s no surprise that over 40 million people in the United States are struggling with these conditions.’
How Anxiety Affects Us
Today, I’m going to focus on anxiety, the most common triggers that create it (some of which might surprise you), and some suggestions on ways to mitigate it.
In general, mental health professionals indicate anxiety is created from one or more stressful life events, like work stress, juggling a family, or loss of a job.
But, in today’s environment where health risks, a ping-ponging economy, and social/political unrest are pervasive, it can seem like almost every aspect of your life is a contributing factor to anxiety.
How anxiety affects you personally can depend on whether you’ve developed healthy coping skills and incorporated regular stress-relieving activities into your daily routine.
Anxiety means different things to different people too. Some experience a mild uneasy feeling just beneath the surface and others ramp up to a full-scale panic attack that can lead a person to feel emotionally paralyzed and unable to cope.
If anxiety is ignored or left unmanaged, it can lead to more debilitating conditions like depression. It also tends to drain us energetically which lowers our ability to cope and find solutions.
As it is, anxiety creates unpleasant symptoms like nervousness, fear, rapid heartbeat, difficulty concentrating, sleeping issues, or outright panic. Not the kind of thing you want to experience on an ongoing basis, right?
But, let's identify the most common triggers and see which of these resonate the most for you.
1. Health Issues.
Not feeling well or being worried about an ongoing health condition is an anxiety generator because the quality of our health affects every aspect of our life. Things like our ability to focus on work, our family, or relationships.
For this reason, it’s especially important to do whatever we can, like eating healthier, exercising, and practicing mindfulness or meditation, to reduce stress and bolster our immune systems.
Did you know that certain medications significantly increase anxiety?
Here’s a surprise! Birth control pills and cough and congestion medication formulas can ramp up feelings of anxiety. That’s a new one for me!
Weight loss medications, even ones with natural herbal ingredients, can create anxiety as well. So, if you tend to have multiple triggers right now that are contributing to feelings of increased tension or anxiety, and you are taking a medication that adds to it, it might be a good time to talk to your doctor about a new med plan.
This wasn’t a surprise to me, but I know a LOT of people that love their coffee fix every day, multiple times a day! If anxiety is overwhelming you, though, this might be one trigger to try and cut back on.
The problem with caffeine is that a person may be increasing it to offset another health issue, like having trouble sleeping.
So, step back and look at the whole picture. See if there’s another issue that needs to be addressed first that may also be contributing to your overall sense of anxiety.
4. Irregular meals.
This was also a surprise to me as a trigger for anxiety. But, given that our blood sugar levels can play havoc on our overall physical and mental systems, I can see where skipping a meal or eating too heavy a meal on an ongoing basis could be an issue.
Eating smaller, but more consistent meals with plenty of protein, fruits, and veggies can help give our bodies what they need to absorb the physiological stresses that anxiety creates.
5. Negative Thinking.
I’ve talked several times in previous posts about the power of thought and how it affects us physically. But, negative thoughts only reinforce the fear and nervousness that anxiety produces.
Telling ourselves we can’t overcome anxiety or successfully solve a big life problem just throws more gas on the emotional fire. If you think about it, anxiety is created most when your thoughts are focused on the future.
You’re thinking up worst-case scenarios of all the bad things that could happen to you. Most of them, of course, never materialize, but you created stress and discomfort in the present by visualizing them.
The answer? Try to live in the present instead without worrying about exactly how the issue will resolve itself in the future. Use positive thinking to focus on and appreciate the good things that surround you now or visualize a more positive outcome that you can work toward.
Finances are a toughie. It’s hard to not get anxious when you’re worrying about how to pay the upcoming month’s rent. But, anxiety isn’t going to help you find a solution to the problem. In fact, it will distract you from finding it.
Anxiety is often a result of feeling like things are out of your control. So, shift your thoughts toward what you can do with the things that are under your control and work from there.
You’ll be surprised how many times that small shift can open up new solutions you were too anxious to even realize were right in front of you.
Conflict gives most people anxiety because it usually means some form of confrontation or working around other people’s agendas. But, you don’t have to accept conflict in your space.
If you’ve made every effort to work with someone on an issue and they aren’t willing the budge, sometimes the best solution is to disengage. Walk away.
So many times, we create anxiety for ourselves because we think we need to stay in the fight as a matter of principle or just to prove that our perspective is right.
But, is winning a point so important that it’s worth the higher costs to your health and mental well-being? By stepping away you are focusing on a higher priority, which is peace of mind. And isn’t that what we’d all like a little more of in this lifetime?
By being more conscious of the type of triggers that create the most anxiety in our daily lives, we can take the necessary steps to reduce their impact on our body and mind. You've got this!
So, until next time, my friend, as I always say….stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong!
P.S. Feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and can't seem to find a way out on your own? Click here for a free initial consultation to see if I can help!