5 Surprising Triggers for Anxiety and Easy Ways to Handle Them

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Author Name: Beth Rush
Date: Friday March 29, 2024

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Anxiety isn’t just worrying about something going wrong. It’s also an uneasy feeling in your body that occurs for various reasons. Check out some surprising triggers for anxiety that people often don’t consider when evaluating if it’s something affecting their mental health. If they’re recurring for you, use the following tips to fortify your mental well-being overnight.

What Are Anxiety Triggers?

Anxiety triggers are any interior or exterior factor that activates your nervous system negatively. If you experience one, your body becomes on alert to help you survive what it assumes is an emergency. Experts estimate that 31.1% of U.S. adults will have an anxiety disorder at some point during their lives, so you’re not alone if anxiety affects your daily life.

How to Know if You Have Anxiety

Someone might have anxiety if they feel on edge, irritable or restless. It can also keep them from sleeping or concentrating. Sometimes, anxiety appears as muscle tension that results in body aches or headaches.

As you note triggers for anxiety in your life, consider how often you’ve felt those common anxiety symptoms. If they occur daily or weekly, you may be living with a higher level of anxiety than before.

5 Triggers for Anxiety That Might Affect Your Life

There are numerous triggers for anxiety you might experience every day beyond stressful conversations or relationships. See if any of these influences happen to you to understand your mental health better.

1. Loud Noises

Even if you love living in a city or having something playing in the background while you work, loud noises might influence your anxiety. The constant overbearing volume of noises causes overstimulation, which occurs when one or more things activate your sensory inputs for an extended period.

Here are a few examples of noises that could put you on edge:

  • Someone talking loudly for a long time
  • Constant noise coming from your TV
  • Emergency sirens passing your living space a few times each hour
  • An air conditioning unit that’s impossible to ignore when it turns on
  • Horns honking on the highway

Having a physical reaction to noises could mean you need to talk to your doctor. Individuals who are more sensitive to sound may have other conditions like sensory processing disorder or autism spectrum disorder. If that’s the case for you, a diagnosis could help you and your doctor arrive at more helpful management techniques for your condition.

2. Instinctive Negative Thoughts

You don’t need to actively dislike yourself to have negative thoughts influencing your anxiety. They may be so common that they’ve become a subconscious belief that erodes your self-esteem, thanks to people or traumatic events making you believe that way.

Your self-image could be one of your biggest triggers for anxiety. Ask yourself important questions to get honest answers, like:

  • How often do I focus on my shortcomings?
  • Are my mistakes more important to me than my successes?
  • What do I feel when I look in the mirror?
  • How often do I compare myself to others?
  • When someone compliments me, do I instinctively reject it as false?

People can always improve their self-esteem by repeating positive self-talk or surrounding themselves with better influences in social circles. However, recognizing the negative thoughts is an important part of understanding what adds to your daily anxiety.

3. Some Medications

If you take prescription medications, your doctor considered your health history before recommending them. However, some ingredients can cause anxiety even if you didn’t have the condition before. Common medications that cause anxiety include:

  • Amphetamine salts
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylphenidate
  • Prednisone
  • Dexmethylphenidate

Corticosteroids and stimulants like these activate the nervous system more strongly in some people than in others. If you take these types of medications, talk with your doctor about your anxiety. They may reduce your medication’s strength or start a new prescription to support your health more effectively.

4. Hot Temperatures

Higher indoor or outdoor temperatures affect the brain. Feeling overheated can make people more irritable or stressed because their nervous system is more active. If reflecting on your anxiety reveals that it’s only an issue in specific warmer spaces, this could be the primary trigger for anxiety in your life.

5. Dehydration

The body needs water to maintain its functions. Water fills cells and aids blood production, allowing the brain to get more oxygen. When you’re dehydrated, the brain receives less oxygen because the blood can’t flow as effectively. It may trigger anxiety symptoms because your body is trying to tell you it needs more water.

Some people may deal with dehydration because they don’t want to drink more water. They might not have many bathroom breaks during the day or feel able to carry a water bottle. Either way, you can get more water by eating fruit or setting reminders to stop by a water fountain at least once an hour.

Simple Ways to Manage Your Anxiety

Anyone who knows they have anxiety can manage it more effectively with tips like these. See if they could improve your quality of life without much effort.

1. Go Somewhere Cool and Quiet

If higher temperatures and overstimulation influence your mental health, take a daily break where it’s cool and quiet. Sit in a closet, storage room or an empty office space. You can practice deep breathing with video guides like the one below to further manage your anxiety symptoms and feel more comfortable in your body.

2. Eat a Healthier Diet

You can also improve your mental health by modifying your diet to fight anxiety. Drinking the equivalent of five cups of coffee could give your body enough caffeine to induce panic attacks during your day. Sugar also activates the nervous system by causing inflammation, which results in anxiety symptoms.

Try drinking caffeine-free beverages and reducing your sugar intake. Anxiety-fighting teas and less processed foods will make your body feel better and fortify your mental health. These are some of the triggers for anxiety people don’t consider but experience a significant positive difference when adjusting for them.

3. Spend More Time Outside

You’ll avoid spending time around certain people, hot indoor environments and loud noises by going outside. Take breaks throughout your day to breathe fresh air. Research shows that spending time outdoors improves your overall mental health by reducing stress. Whether you take a walk or lounge on a bench, your anxiety will fade away.

When to Seek Help

Triggers for anxiety are mostly manageable on your own, but they can be too overwhelming for some people. You should talk with your doctor or a therapist if your anxiety prevents you from enjoying your life. If you can’t enjoy socializing, sleep through the night, digest food or go a day without a panic attack, some expert help could be just what you need to manage your unique levels of anxiety.

Gain More Control Over Your Mental Health Today

Use these tips to recognize and regain control over these triggers for anxiety. Your mental health doesn’t have to cause daily battles. Simple routine modifications or a chat with your doctor could be what you need to live without anxiety symptoms disrupting your life.

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