What Triggers Anxiety?

At some point in our lives, we all struggle with some level of anxiety. For some, anxiety can sneak into our minds and we can quickly manage it with our basic coping skills (deep breathing, exercise, challenging self-talk, etc.). However, for others, anxiety can be persistent and feel quite overwhelming. Anxiety can be triggered by a variety of factors, depending on your specific situation and triggers. However, there are some common triggers for anxiety.

Do you struggle with anxiety? Today we’ll take a look at the common triggers for anxiety to help you understand and manage your symptoms.


What is Anxiety? 

Anxiety and anxiety disorders share some or all features of excessive fear, anxiety (anticipated fear) and in some instances, behavioral disturbances that are related to the fear. The wide array of symptoms could include anything from having fearful thoughts of an upcoming event, to having a physical panic attack and everything in between. Anxiety is very treatable with a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and therapeutic intervention. However, when left untreated anxiety can deeply impact your physical and mental health.


Common Types of Anxiety Disorders

  • Separation Anxiety Disorder: excessive distress when seperated from home, kids, loved ones, etc.
  • Specific Phobias: animals, heights, germs, flying, medical appointments, etc.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: overwhelming fear about social situations where individuals may be scrutinized or negatively judged by others.
  • Panic Disorder: recurrent and unexpected panic attacks
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Excessive anxiety and worry 
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to compulsive behaviors. 

Anxiety disorders can also be induced by medications or other medical conditions. For example, anxiety can start after introducing new medications.


Common Characteristics of Anxiety

Although there are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, they all include perceived and intrusive thoughts of fear. In some cases, the fear exacerbates itself into co-occurring physical symptoms such as panic attacks. Some common characteristics of anxiety may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Repetitive thoughts related to fear
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle aches, pain, low energy, chest pain, etc.
  • Experiencing difficulty falling asleep
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • And more

what causes anxiety


What Causes Anxiety?

It is not uncommon to experience some of the symptoms of anxiety, but what is causing it? Physiologically speaking, anxiety is a manifestation of a nervous system that is detecting unsafety or danger. As a result, it goes into overdrive and we experience physiological symptoms such as an increased heart rate and shallow breathing. This can be accompanied by anxious thoughts and anxious behaviors.  Anxiety can also be an accumulation of different emotions we have not expressed. Sometimes it can feel like nothing at all has triggered your anxiety, but when you slow down to really assess the situation it is likely you’ll find the root causes of your anxiety.

Start by asking yourself, what is my anxiety or fear in regards to?  Determine if these are about the past or future. This may provide you with some insight of where to begin. For some people, an event may cause bouts of anxiety, such as an upcoming wedding for a friend that is exasperating a variety of things like social anxiety, financial constraints surrounding purchasing a gift, travel, etc. When one small situation feels very overwhelming, there may be a few factors contributing to feeling anxious and a professional therapist can help.

Common causes of anxiety may include but are not limited to:

  • Social events
  • Test taking
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Relationships
  • Being bullied
  • Financial difficulties 
  • Receiving a new/unexpected medical diagnosis
  • Traumatic stress 
  • And more! 


BE Psychology’s Therapy for Anxiety 

At BE Psychology, we understand that anxiety can sneak up on you without much notice. However, you and your loved ones do not have to face these challenging times alone. Our team of professional mental health practitioners, psychologists, and consultants have the clinical experience to offer a personalized treatment plan to help you develop the tools needed to manage and overcome anxiety. 


Contact a member of our team to discover how anxiety therapy can help you and your loved ones.

reem shaheen counseling psychologist

Reem Shaheen – LMHC