If you are one of the reported 40 million Americans who struggle with anxiety daily, you probably know how hard it can be to avoid the seemingly unavoidable triggers. Intense feelings of panic, fear, and apprehension are typical conditions of anxiety, with possible physical symptoms such as chest pain, headaches, and increased heart rate.
While anxiety itself is relatively common, there can be several underlying reasons, some reaching as far back as childhood. For some, however, anxiety can surface for no discernible reason at all. One of the best ways to manage anxiety is to head it off at the pass, so to speak; by learning to detect the trigger warnings before they occur, you may be able to avoid the more severe effects.
Here are 10 of the most widely revealed anxiety triggers and how to manage them.
Stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand, and while the two terms are often used interchangeably, the former has an impact on the latter. There are countless stressors in one’s daily life, such as work, school, parenting, and other personal obligations, and while there may not be much you can do about the stressors themselves, you can learn to lessen their impact.
Managing your stress is crucial to enjoying a rewarding life. Meditation, taking personal time for yourself, adopting a hobby or sport, or seeking the help of a professional therapist are just a few widely regarded ways to keep stress–and subsequent anxiety–at a minimum.
2. Problematic Family
Family can be both a blessing and a burden at times. If hostile familial situations and family members are a severe source of anxiety, it may be time to step back and temporarily sever ties until a progressive shift occurs or you feel better equipped to manage them.
You are also well within your right to avoid family gatherings where tensions, personal attacks, and uncomfortable altercations run high. You may not have chosen the family you were born to, but you can certainly decide whether or not to partake in anxiety-inducing relations.
4. A Hostile Work Environment
Showing up to an oppressive or antagonistic workplace day after day can take several tolls on one’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. While occasional work-related stress is natural, being subjected to workplace abuse is not.
Speaking with an HR representative, boss, or manager may help to alleviate any issues you’re experiencing. And if you still feel that the work environment is uninhabitable, it may be time to start discreetly looking elsewhere.
3. Financial Burdens
Money is often (and understandably) cited as the greatest source of anxiety. Mounting debts, unemployment, and concerns about saving can all be anxiety-triggering. It may be worth your while to seek out a financial advisor who can help you set up a savings plan, manage your debts, and work within a budget that allows you a bit more stability.
Many websites can guide you to the right individuals, many of whom work on a sliding scale or volunteer basis.
Few people enjoy encounters with others, especially under threatening conditions. Whether it’s a coworker, partner, friend, or family member, acquiring a set of conflict resolution tools may help you better articulate your needs and work towards a mutual conclusion.
Travel can be an exciting break with the usual pace, but it can also trigger several anxieties, especially if you’re traveling a long distance. In such instances, preparation is everything. Making sure transportation, accommodation, finances, and itineraries are all secure and in place, before you depart will not only put your mind at ease but allow you to look forward to your journey ahead.
5. Public Events Or Gatherings
Social gatherings, particularly ones you feel more obligated than enthusiastic about attending, can understandably put one on edge. If your line of work or personal obligations requires you to make unwanted public appearances, you can practice speaking and engage ahead of time in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Repeating positive mantras, even simple ones such as “I’ve got this,” can go a long way to brightening a pending event.
8. Negative Thought Patterns
Believe it or not, your internal dialogue largely determines your ultimate outlook on life and yourself. Always putting yourself down, as well as harboring resentments towards others, will only increase your anxiety while decidedly decreasing your quality of life.
Allow yourself to feel a negative thought or emotion at the moment, then let it go. Additionally, try getting into the habit of saying something positive about yourself at least once a day, such as “I’m great at ____” or “I’m proud of myself for accomplishing ___.”
9. Poor Lifestyle Choices
Nutrition, quality of sleep, and lackluster exercise habits can all affect one’s anxiety levels. Eating poorly or at odd hours, not getting enough sleep (or conversely too much), and failing to get moving for at least 30 minutes a day can exacerbate anxiety, as well as hinder your physical health.
10. Previous Trauma-Related Triggers
As mentioned above, much of what triggers our anxiety can stem from deep-rooted past issues as far back as childhood. In this instance, it’s essential to speak with a professional therapist or counselor who can guide you through the underlying causes of your anxiety, as well as the solutions for overcoming it.
Consider Online Therapy
If your anxiety triggers are proving more challenging to overcome than not, there are some proven and trustworthy online therapy options available. Speaking with a professional counselor in person or via online therapy can not only help you pinpoint your aggravators but manage them in ways that will help you maintain a healthy and productive life free from the shadow of anxiety.