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Alcohol and Mental Health

12 Common Anxiety Triggers and How To Deal With Them

July 12, 2023
11 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 12, 2023
11 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 12, 2023
11 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 12, 2023
11 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Reframe Content Team
July 12, 2023
11 min read

Imagine standing on a skyscraper in the heart of a bustling metropolis. For most of us, this evokes a sense of awe and wonder. But for Emma, it is a source of unease. Each time she looks down, her heart races, her palms dampen, and her breath quickens. She’s queasy. Emma's anxiety trigger, like the skyline before her, looms large.

Anxiety triggers are unique to each of us, yet they all evoke a visceral, overwhelming response. Their power lies not in the physical threat they pose, but in the invisible grip they have on us.

But Emma refuses to succumb to the grip of her anxiety. Armed with powerful coping strategies, she reclaims inner peace amidst the discomfort.

Join us as we delve into the intricacies of anxiety triggers. In this article, we’ll explore common anxiety triggers and the practical techniques that can empower you to face them head-on.

1. Health

Health concerns often trigger anxiety. These can be rooted in our fear of the unknown, of our own mortality, or of the prospect of pain, financial distress, or discomfort.

It's vital to remember that concern for our health is a valid fear. This anxiety can be mitigated by practicing relaxation techniques, staying on top of our preventive care and other medical treatment, and maintaining an open dialogue with our healthcare providers.

Reducing the sense of uncertainty can lessen fear, enabling us to manage health-related anxiety more effectively.

2. Finances

Financial instability or unexpected expenses can cause significant anxiety.

Financial distress is often accompanied by feelings of uncertainty or helplessness.

Manage this trigger by developing a realistic budget and seeking out financial resources — or financial advice from a professional, if it is available to you.

3. Work Pressure

Excessive workloads, tight deadlines, and challenging office dynamics can stoke anxiety. Unemployment can also be extremely stressful.

Learning to prioritize tasks, take regular breaks, and foster a healthy work-life balance can effectively manage this stress. Building supportive relationships at work and creating an organized work environment can also mitigate work-related anxiety.

And if it’s unemployment wreaking havoc on your mental health, consider seeking out professional feedback on your resume and job-search strategy.

4. Relationship Challenges

Conflicts or disputes with friends and loved ones can induce anxiety. Effective ways to navigate these situations include open, honest communication, utilizing conflict resolution strategies, or seeking mediation or family therapy when necessary. Understanding and validating each other's feelings can also contribute significantly to conflict resolution.

It's crucial to remember that all relationships have ups and downs. Healthy communication, empathy, setting boundaries, and professional guidance can help navigate these challenges. You should also feel empowered to sever ties from people — including family — who cause you repeated harm or are abusive.

5. Social Interactions

For some, social situations can be anxiety-inducing. This could be due to fear of judgment, a sense of inadequacy, or past negative experiences.

To manage this, we can work on building social skills, practice self-affirmations, and seek professional help when needed. Joining supportive groups with similar interests can also help improve social confidence.

6. Perfectionism

To manage a tendency towards perfectionism, it's important to practice self-compassion, set realistic goals, and seek therapy or counseling if needed.

Failure is a part of life, but the fear of failure can be a potent source of anxiety. Reframing our perspective on failure — viewing it as a learning opportunity rather than a catastrophe — can significantly diminish this fear.

Celebrate effort and growth, not just success!

7. Trauma

Trauma can be a major anxiety trigger. It can encompass emotional or physical abuse, neglect, loss of a loved one, childhood bullying, natural disasters, accidents, terrorism, witnessing a violent incident, and experiencing discrimination, such as racism. Sometimes a word, a sound, a smell, or a place can derail you — reminding you of a traumatic event or time.

Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) can arise from experiencing trauma — in fact, 1 in 3 people develop PTSD. To manage PTSD and other symptoms of trauma, it's important to seek therapy or counseling, practice self-care, and consider joining a support group. Symptoms can be severe and include panic attacks and suicidal ideation.

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please get help now. A crisis hotline provides trained counselors who can walk you through it. If you need immediate help, here’s where to start:

8. Changes in Routine

Unexpected changes in our daily routine or lifestyle can induce anxiety.

New places, experiences, or situations — these can all trigger anxiety. The unfamiliar can seem daunting, but preparation and gradual exposure to new environments can help manage this.

Incorporating flexibility into our routine and adopting a mindset that embraces change can help manage this anxiety trigger. Starting with small steps can make the process less overwhelming. Viewing change as an opportunity for growth can also be beneficial.

9. Stimulants and Other Substances

Anxiety can sometimes be triggered by stimulating substances. Too much caffeine, for instance, can make you jittery — and can lead to anxiety and other uncomfortable symptoms. If you’ve been feeling overstimulated, take a look at your caffeine intake, including energy drinks, teas, and sodas in addition to coffee.

It’s not just stimulants, though. Drinking can also worsen anxiety, as it changes your brain’s chemistry. Consider cutting back on alcohol as a way to reduce anxiety.

Certain medications can also send you spiraling. Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms if you take medications; they could be playing a role in your anxiety.

10. Lack of Sleep

It's important to practice good sleep hygiene, such as sticking to a regular sleep schedule and avoiding screens before bedtime. Avoid drinking aa a way to help you get to sleep, as this actually worsens sleep quality throughout the night.

11. Fear of the Future

Uncertainty about the future is a common trigger for anxiety. It can lead us down a path of endless "what ifs."

Mindfulness techniques, which encourage us to stay present and focus on the here and now, can help reduce this fear. Additionally, setting realistic, achievable goals can provide a sense of direction and reduce anxiety about the future.

12. Personal or Global Crises

Personal or global crises — such as a pandemic, natural disasters, or climate change — often spark anxiety. It's natural to feel overwhelmed in such situations.

Find a balance, a way to stay informed without over-consuming news. Limit your news consumption to a certain amount of time (e.g., 10 minutes) and avoid doing so right before bedtime, for example. Connecting with loved ones and practicing self-care can help manage this anxiety.

Find a way, too, to connect with your community. Define what causes you’re most passionate about, find local organizations that make an impact on this problem, and learn how you can help. Be part of the change!

Paving the Path Forward

Understanding what triggers our anxieties is a solid first step towards gaining control. Each of us has the power to navigate life’s twists and turns with strength, resilience, and grace.

It’s also helpful to know when you need support — and to know that it’s okay to ask for help. We all need help sometimes!

Reclaim Control and Thrive With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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