Common Anxiety Triggers and How to Cope

Jul 18, 2023

Shelby Cook, LISW-S

Common Anxiety Triggers and How to Cope

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Did you know anxiety affects over 40 million adults in the United States? Anxiety is an emotional reaction to an environmental change or a situation characterized by tension, worried thoughts, and increased blood pressure. Simply put, anxiety is your body’s response to stress and danger. 

On the other hand, an anxiety trigger is an emotion, situation, feeling, or action that can initiate an episode of anxiety. In severe cases, these triggers can cause a serious panic attack, which can be dangerous for your health. Some signs of anxiety triggers include dizziness, nausea, headache, dry mouth, sweating, hot flashes, chills, increased heart rate, and shaking. If a change of event makes you feel any of the above-mentioned symptoms, keep reading the article to learn about the five common anxiety triggers and how to cope with them.

1.    Lack of Sleep

Not getting enough sleep or suffering from insomnia is one of the leading anxiety triggers. Sleep can have a great impact on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Sleeplessness can cause irritability and add to your stress, triggering anxiety. So, if you aren’t sleeping properly, we recommend creating a realistic sleeping schedule and practicing good sleep hygiene to ensure your brain gets sufficient rest at night.

2.    Drinking Too Much Caffeine

Most people cannot start their day without a cup of hot coffee or tea. While caffeine helps you in waking up, it is a common stimulant that can trigger anxiety. According to a study, drinking 5 cups of coffee can increase anxiety triggers in people suffering from panic disorder. The best thing that you can do is limit your caffeine intake and switch to non-caffeinated options.

3.    Medications

Certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescriptions can trigger anxiety. These medications have active ingredients that can make you feel unwell or uneasy. This can trigger your hormones and cause your body and mind to react to the change, increasing anxiety. These medications include antidepressants, thyroid medication, birth control, antihistamines, nasal decongestants, corticosteroids, and cough and congestion medications.

The best way to cope with medication-induced anxiety triggers is to talk to your healthcare provider and tell them how the drug makes you feel. The doctor will probably give you a new prescription.

4.    Skipping Meals

According to a study, having an improper and unhealthy diet can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. When you skip meals, your blood sugar level drops which causes a rumbling tummy and jittery hands, leading to anxiety. Thus, make sure to eat a balanced diet so that your body and brain have the nutrition and energy that they need to function throughout the day. In case you don’t have the time to eat three proper meals, eating healthy snacks is an excellent way to prevent low blood sugar.

5.    Everyday Stressors

From a toxic work environment, a long grocery line, and a traffic jam to overwhelming yourself with responsibility and managing several things simultaneously, even the most normal environmental changes can trigger anxiety. These stressors can also cause you to drink alcohol, skip meals, or not get enough sleep. Preventing and coping with daily stressors require professional help. A counselor or therapist can teach you how to stay calm and act in stressful situations.

Ending Note

Even though occasional anxiety is common, the constant feeling of fear, dread, and worry is a sign that you must seek help from a professional right away. We hope that our guide helped you learn about anxiety triggers and taught you how to handle them.

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Anxiety & Depression Association of America. (2022). Anxiety Disorders – Facts & Statistics. Retrieved from Anxiety & Depression Association of America

National Library of Medicine. (2022). Effects of caffeine on anxiety and panic attacks in patients with panic disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine Science Direct. (2019). Nutritional Psychiatry: Towards Improving Mental Health by What You Eat. Retrieved from Science Direct