Recognizing Your Anxiety Triggers

So, you are just scrolling through your Facebook feed, and you came across a post from an old friend that somehow made you feel mysteriously uncomfortable. For the rest of the day, you just think gloomy – and everything you sense, including what you hear and see, irritates you. You are asking, “Why am I like this? What’s wrong with me?” well, you are not the only one.

It is mysterious how evil thoughts can easily penetrate our minds simply because of random stuff we deal with regularly. Anxiety is a tricky adversary – it is a mental condition that brings forth feelings of fear, tension, and pressure – sometimes without accurate explanation or cause. It just happens for most people. And again, you are not the only one. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that 40 million people in the United States struggle through this wicked disorder. For some, the symptoms can be too difficult to stay sane while dealing with other life struggles.


Without a robust support system, let’s say, a simple bonding and heart-to-heart talk with parents, anxiety may lead to more severe conditions like depression. It is like a cancer of the mind. Each day it grows, it becomes more powerful – until it claims the person’s life, at which point it is all but too late to do something. To deal with anxiety is to deal with its root causes – the question is, do you know what causes yours?  

These anxiety-causing elements are called triggers. Such triggers are unique to an individual and can affect him in many different levels with varying effects – but all lead to the condition – a worried, tensed, panicked state of mind that will give it all to make all the hurtful thoughts disappear. We must know of these triggers so that we can react to them even before they get us. What are these triggers? Let’s find out.


1. Personal Traumas

Your past experiences, whether you remember or not, can trigger your anxiety. These may come as environmental stimuli such as smell, the sound of a song, or a particular image associated with your trauma. For example, some people become anxious upon seeing bloody images as they find it vaguely familiar to a personal experience that happened in their past. Some of us also become utterly sad when we hear that old song we used to listen to with our loved ones who are no longer with us.

2. Medical concerns

Receiving rather sad news about your health often leads to anxiety. Some of us get devastated upon learning that we have a condition or chronic illness that could impede our natural way of life – that everything is never going to be the same again. While going through this phase, it helps to discuss things with your doctor and a therapist. Being open and proactive about our physical health despite some bad news is a courageous move, and that itself shows how we can be strong mentally when our body fails.

3. Diet

Did you know that the stuff you consume may also trigger anxiety?

While others relish a dose of caffeine to start their day, others seem to get the jitters and panic attacks in the day throughout. So, what gives? Several studies suggest that caffeine intake induces anxiety among people with general panic and social anxiety disorders. If you feel jitters and chest pains after having a gulp at your favorite coffee, you might want to start transitioning to better, non-caffeinated alternatives to kick start your day.

Likewise, when you skip your meals, you also in for an anxiety attack. Not eating deprives your body of the necessary amount of sugar and energy it needs, causing muscle weakness, jitters, and rumbles all over the body. Eating a balanced diet saves you from this trouble. Provide your body with nutrients and enough hydration so that you also maintain a clear and sane mind.

4. Conflict and Stress

Chest pains after a long fight with a loved one? That is probably anxiety. Feeling irritated and stressed because of the pile of office works left undone? Probably the same issue.

Having conflicts, especially with your family members, is generally a negative experience to encounter. With anxiety lurking inside your head, emotions can be a lot worse and heightened. You start imagining things and scenarios that most probably won’t ever happen, making you feel more miserable and desperate. It is the same with feeling stressed out at work. When you feel drained, you begin to create ‘possible’ negative consequences or reflect on your supposed weaknesses and inabilities. It is what anxiety was hard-wired to do. The best way out of this is to have someone to talk to; a therapist may help you understand the situation. It will also help resolve the conflict yourself, be the bigger person, and move on, although this one’s a bit tough to do.

5. Medications

Some prescription drugs and over-the-counter meds can cause feelings of discomfort and unease. These feelings might be the same as anxiety symptoms, and it can lead to a series of unwanted thoughts inside the head, flipping the switch back on. Particular medications such as birth control pills, weight loss tabs, and medicines for cough and colds can have similar effects. Hence, if you have anxiety issues, it will help if you talk with your doctor and try to find out about alternatives to such medications.

6. Social Engagements

Do you ever sometimes go to a social event or party and exclaim to yourself, “Ugh, people.” Well, pretty much all introverts do – if they ever attend a party. Social events such as parties could house all kinds of people – obnoxious and shy-types threw in a mixture. Unconsciously or otherwise, these kinds of social situations may trigger anxiety – just to have conversations with someone not close to our circle give us the nerves — not to mention the unintelligible noise of music and people partying! This too much input is a lot for our vulnerable minds to take in. So, the best option for us to choose the kind of event we want to get ourselves into and bring someone trusted with us.

7. Financial problems

Who is not stressed with financial bills? As a child, we often fantasize magically becoming an adult, to see what it feels like to do whatever we want. Until we finally become an adult and start paying the bills. 

Sometimes, when we are not making ends meet, our anxiety triggers, leading us to question everything about our personhood. We know people who end their life because of the financial crisis. It is ridiculous sometimes to think that material things can enormously affect our mental health – but then again, it is accurate, and it is happening. We can deal with it by seeking help from loved ones and other people – find a financial advisor to sort your economic issues out for you. Look for more productive ways to improve your lifestyle without relying too much on paid services and products.

8. Sleep deprivation

You can’t undermine a good night’s sleep’s benefits to your body. Likewise, you can’t underestimate the adverse effects on your body if you deprive yourself of them. Sleep is the body’s way to recharge, replenish, and repair the body after a day’s activity. If you deprive yourself of sleep, your mind becomes an open house for anxiety and negative thinking. An extreme lack of sleep can also lead to severe effects like delusions and hallucinations. Let your mind rest through sleep. If you have sleeping disorders, you have to seek immediate medical attention.

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