Unveiling 9 Common Causes of Anxiety and Coping Strategies

Unveiling 9 Common Causes of Anxiety and Coping Strategies

What triggers anxiety?

Although the causes of anxiety can vary from person to person, it is common for them to be related to specific situations that exacerbate symptoms in some individuals. Research has established a connection between mood and anxiety disorders and changes in the chemical and structural balance of the brain, which genetic and environmental factors may influence. The symptoms of these disorders originate from imbalances in the emotional centers of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functions such as decision-making and behavioral regulation. In addition, parts such as the amygdala and hippocampus also play a crucial role in emotional processing and stress response.

However, there are specific events, emotions, and experiences that can trigger and aggravate anxiety symptoms, leading sufferers to ask, “What triggers anxiety?” At Integrative Healthcare Center, we are here to help you identify these causes of anxiety that may be worsening your symptoms, offering practical strategies for effective symptom management.

Common Causes of Anxiety

Identifying the triggers of anxiety is paramount for managing your symptoms more effectively. Let’s delve into the nine most common causes of anxiety:

  1. Everyday Stress: Day-to-day life often presents stressful situations that contribute to anxiety symptoms. Challenges such as job-related issues, financial difficulties, significant life changes, or interpersonal conflicts can all trigger anxiety episodes.

  2. Physical Health Problems: A diagnosis of illness, whether it’s your own or a loved one’s, can heighten anxiety. The intense emotions associated with health issues can create uncertainty and fear about the future, contributing to anxiety. Chronic pain accompanying the health issue can breed feelings of frustration and helplessness, further exacerbating anxiety.

  3. Substance Use: Consuming caffeine, alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription medications can initiate or intensify anxiety symptoms. Certain over-the-counter medications contain active ingredients that can induce stress and disrupt the nervous system, triggering physiological responses that contribute to anxiety—for instance, cough and congestion remedies, thyroid medications, corticosteroids, and asthma treatments. Healthline research also discovered that caffeine could induce anxiety-like symptoms such as restlessness and an elevated heart rate.

  4. Poor Eating Habits: Research by Clinical Nutrition ESPEN during the COVID-19 pandemic identified a correlation between poor eating habits and anxiety, particularly in physically inactive individuals. Excessive consumption of sugar and fast food may be contributing factors to anxiety. Moreover, skipping meals can cause blood sugar levels to plummet, leading to feelings of unease that often provoke anxiety.

  5. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations due to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause can affect anxiety levels. As per Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology research, women have 50% more chances to suffer from anxiety disorders and depression due to estrogen level variations in the brain.

  6. Excessive Worries and Fears: Constant worries and fears can foster a pattern of negative thoughts that trigger anxiety. The mental narratives and scenarios you create can induce chronic worry or excessive rumination about past, present, or future problems, impacting your mood and initiating anxiety. It’s crucial to recognize phobias or intense fears of specific situations, such as flying, public speaking, or confinement, as these can also induce anxiety.

  7. Social Events: Many individuals may experience social anxiety. This form of anxiety manifests as a persistent and uncontrollable fear of being in crowded places. Situations requiring interaction with strangers can induce anxiety symptoms like an increased heart rate and perspiration.

  8. Past Trauma: Traumatic experiences such as abuse or severe accidents can become triggers for anxiety if you don’t address them with professional help.

  9. Personal Triggers: Each individual may have unique triggers. While it might be challenging to identify these independently, the assistance of a mental health professional can prove invaluable. Certain smells, locations, and sounds that remind you of a traumatic life event can trigger anxiety symptoms. These triggers can be either conscious or subconscious. 

Coping Strategies for Anxiety Triggers

After identifying your anxiety triggers, it’s crucial to learn how to handle situations that can prompt these triggers. Effectively managing the causes of anxiety is critical to maintaining your well-being. Although specific circumstances, such as physical illness or complex news, are beyond our control, implementing healthy strategies can aid in reducing anxiety symptoms during these situations.

Here are some strategies to manage the causes of anxiety:

  1. Redirect Your Thoughts and Speech: Many anxiety triggers originate from imagined scenarios and the language we use to communicate with ourselves. By pinpointing situations that lead us into a downward spiral of negativity, reframing our thoughts and speech can help counteract anxiety symptoms. You can train your brain with daily positive affirmations like “I am capable of achieving what I set out to do,” “I am excited about today’s presentation,” or “Everything will go well on this trip.” While positive affirmations won’t alter circumstances, they can change the way your body responds to those thoughts.

  2. Learn Breathing Techniques: The Harvard Business Review suggests that proper breathing exercises can help manage stress and negative emotions both immediately and in the long run. There are various breathing and meditation exercises you can explore to foster calmness, resilience, mindfulness, and self-regulation.

  3. Seek Professional Help: Mental health professionals can assist you in identifying anxiety triggers that interfere with your daily life. Additionally, you can manage anxiety symptoms through treatments like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a safe alternative to traditional drug treatments that could cause secondary symptoms contributing to anxiety.

  4. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle: Regular exercise aids in releasing endorphins, reducing stress, and improving mood, thereby counteracting chemical imbalances that may trigger anxiety. Furthermore, a balanced and nutritious diet that limits excessive consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods can help prevent anxiety symptoms.

  5. Set Boundaries: Learning to say “no” is essential for establishing healthy boundaries in our relationships and responsibilities. Prioritizing our emotional well-being and avoiding overloading ourselves with tasks can also help prevent anxiety triggers.

  6. Strengthen Your Relationships: Connecting with others is crucial for expressing our feelings, as emotional support plays a key role not only in mental health but also in overall well-being.

  7. Prioritize Rest: Adequate rest is crucial for emotional regulation and anxiety reduction. Establishing a routine to ensure at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily can enhance both brain function and physical health.

Seek Professional Support at Integrative Healthcare Center

Managing anxiety can be a complicated journey, but it’s certainly not an impossible task, particularly when you have the proper professional guidance. At Integrative Healthcare Center, we specialize in addressing mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.

Our center, located in Nashua, New Hampshire, offers an array of services, including psychiatry, TMS therapy, and biofeedback. These services not only alleviate anxiety triggers but also tackle other often associated issues such as depression, sleep disorders, chronic pain, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Contact our team of professionals at (855) 599-9987 to schedule a complimentary consultation. Explore our range of mental health services and wellness therapies tailored to your needs.

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