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Understanding Your Anxiety Triggers

5 Things that Can Trigger Your Anxiety

Events and situations that lead to anxiety's token symptoms are known as triggers. Understanding the people, places and things that trigger your panic or anxious feelings is the first step to healing. Read on to learn how to identify common triggers and deal with them in healthy ways.

What Are Anxiety Triggers?

While anxiety can begin with no obvious cause, over time, most people begin recognizing specific actions or situations that promote feelings of panic and anxiety. Known as triggers, these factors aren't the cause of anxiety; the actual reasons behind anxiety disorders are complex and can include genetic traits or past experiences. That said, since these triggers can exacerbate anxiety and signal significant episodes, it's important to identify them. Once you recognize potential triggers, you can take steps to either avoid them or approach them in thoughtful ways.

List of Potential Triggers

There are a variety of things that can trigger panic and anxiety, including:

Substances: Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and illicit drugs are all known to increase anxiety. Often, these substances can create a cycle of anxiety, in which you rely on them to ease your symptoms, only to end up experiencing ongoing issues as a result. Many times, people gain considerable control over their disorders by quitting one or more of these substances.

Poor sleep: A mountain of research has shown that poor sleep can significantly exacerbate anxiety. Prioritize your sleep by getting seven to nine hours of shut-eye each night. Limit known sleep disruptors such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and blue light from smartphones and tablet devices. If you still experience sleep issues after improving your sleep hygiene, get tested for a potential sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, especially if you snore, wake up with headaches or awaken frequently at night.

Social situations: Unpredictable social interactions can trigger anxiety in many people. You can help yourself feel more at ease by planning for both unpredictable interactions and situations you can anticipate. This helps increase your confidence and reduce negative thoughts.

Money: Finances can trigger anxiety in many people. Whether you're worried about making ends meet, getting out of debt, saving for retirement or keeping up with peer,; money worries can feed your anxiety. By making a sound plan to overcome your financial hurdles over time, you can help ease your anxiety and maintain a healthier state of mind.

Eating habits: When people skip meals or consume too much sugar, they tend to experience more anxiety. Make sure you eat several small meals every few hours to keep your blood sugar regulated. Try to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts and whole grains, which contain lots of slow-digesting protein and fiber that keep your insulin levels from spiking throughout the day.

Dealing with Triggers

While it can be tempting to completely avoid anxiety triggers, this isn't always practical. Although it's generally best to avoid unhealthy triggers such as alcohol, drugs, additives and caffeine, it's better to overcome anxiety relating to work, social interactions and irrational fears with the help of a counselor.

By working with a therapist, you can gain insight into how to prepare for situations that cause anxiety. You can also gain effective tools to help you work through difficult instances in a healthy way that allows you to continue to heal and live your best life.

Our caring therapists can help you overcome life's greatest challenges. Contact us today!