What Triggers Anxiety - 17 Surprising Causes Anxiety is your body’s natural responseto stress, and it can happen for many different reasons. It can happen during ordinary moments, orstrike without warning - and it may be tough to pinpoint the exact cause. But some things can make anxiety worse. 


Certain triggers can make it more likely thatyou’ll experience anxiety, panic, and several other related conditions. 

Let’s find out what they are!

 Number 1 - Food Additives The things you eat can affect your mood. Mood swings and strong emotions, like anxiety,can occur after eating foods and beverages that contain artificial sweeteners such asaspartame, high fructose corn syrup, food dyes, and flavorings such as MSG. Food additives have even been linked to ADHDand autism in children. Artificial additives in food - like sweetenersand dyes - are neurotoxins that can wreak havoc on the nervous system, leading to increasedsymptoms of anxiety.

 Number 2 - Certain Medications And Supplements You may find this hard to believe, but yourprescription and over-the-counter medications may be triggering your symptoms of anxiety. That’s because the active ingredients insome medicines can make you feel uneasy or unwell, and they can set off a series of eventsin your brain and body that can trigger anxious feelings. Among the worst offenders are birth controlpills, some headache and migraine pain relievers, cough medicines and decongestants, asthmamedications, and many weight loss supplements. Various herbal supplements like St. John’sWort, ginseng, and Kava Kava may also trigger or exacerbate anxiety.

 Number 3 - Food Sensitivities Food sensitivities, or allergies, can leadto digestive issues, stomach pain, or even breathing difficulties. These symptoms can cause anxiety in and ofthemselves, but there’s also increasing evidence that food sensitivities can alteryour mood directly. Common foods like gluten, soy, or dairy canimpact hormone levels and other vital chemicals in your brain.

 Number 4 - Skipping Meals We live busy lives, so it’s no surprisethat we skip a meal here and there. But if you’re used to having three mealsa day, skipping just one of them can cause a drop in your blood sugar. And if this goes on, you can begin to havefeelings of anxiety and irritability. You may also experience light-headedness,confusion, and weakness. 

Number 5 - Dehydration Dehydration affects not only your body’sphysiological functions but your mood as well. When you don’t get enough water, you startto feel tense, confused, and even angry. If you have an anxiety disorder, bodily changescaused by dehydration can bring on a panic attack or feelings of generalized anxiety. One of the easiest things you can do to keepyour anxiety under control is to make sure you’re always well-hydrated.

 Number 6 - Too Much Caffeine Do you need a jump start every morning witha cup of coffee or tea? So do millions of others, and not just firstthing in the day. But ingesting caffeine every time your energytanks is not good. In fact, too much of it can lead to what’scalled “caffeine-induced anxiety disorder.” While a bit of caffeine can undoubtedly improvefocus, too much can cause a racing heartbeat and trigger a panic attack. It can increase nervousness and other anxietysymptoms, including sweaty palms, ringing ears, and even feelings of impending doom.

 Number 7 - Cigarettes, Drugs, And Alcohol Relying on smoking, drinking, or other substancesto calm yourself can backfire in a big way. When it comes to smoking, the nicotine incigarettes is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that can increase your heart rateand make your blood pressure spike. Furthermore, the carbon monoxide in cigarettesmoke causes breathing problems - that your body responds to as if it’s suffocating. And this can significantly increase the probabilityof having a panic attack.

 According to the Anxiety and Depression Associationof America, people with anxiety issues are two to three times more likely to become substanceabusers than the general population. Both alcohol and drugs can cause panic attacks. Their harmful effects on the central nervoussystem can alter your brain’s ability to keep you calm.

 Number 8 - Nutritional Deficiencies Vitamins and minerals are so important. Vitamins B, C, and E are all vital for yourcentral nervous system to work, with B vitamins especially involved with your mood and metabolism. Magnesium is a known stress reliever, andnot having enough of it can make you feel irritated and tired. Selenium is another essential mineral thataffects the neurotransmitters in the brain, helping to control your mood. And if you don’t have a balanced level ofomega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, you can also be at an increased risk of anxiety.

 Number 9 - Negative Thinking Repeated negative thinking has a dangerouseffect on the human psyche and our emotional well being. When you’re stressed out, your mind is morelikely to churn out automatic negative thoughts that are quick, off-the-cuff subconsciouscriticisms. These can include statements such as “Whydid I do that?” “Why am I so stupid?” and other persistentself-criticisms that can severely damage your self-confidence and emotional state. If you tend to use a lot of negative wordswhen thinking about yourself, you need to learn to correct your thoughts and refocusyour language when you start down this path.

 Number 10 - Becoming A Parent Becoming a parent is a significant life-changingevent. It is undoubtedly exciting, but it can alsobe very triggering in terms of anxiety and stress. Parents-to-be often have a lot of fears abouthow they will do in their new role. They may also worry about the health of thebaby, and the birth itself can be extremely nerve-wracking too. But a stressful pregnancy is not good forthe mother or the baby. Any condition that is negatively affectinga mother-to-be - including anxiety regarding pregnancy - should be evaluated by a healthcareprofessional.

 Number 11 - Social Situations Some people may experience anxiety beforesocial gatherings, or when meeting someone for the first time. For example, you may feel particularly anxiousin situations such as public speaking, performing, a job interview, or mixing with a crowd ofstrangers. Of course, it is perfectly natural to feela healthy amount of fear during these situations. But for some people, the anxiety is so overpoweringthat it stops them from engaging in activities they would otherwise enjoy.

 They may feel excessively self-conscious andbecome socially withdrawn. This could be indicative of social anxietydisorder. Having a friend tag along to these kinds ofevents can alleviate these feelings. However, that won’t always be possible. So you need to find different ways to copewith these types of situations - to make them more manageable in the long-term.

 Number 12 - Aging As people age, they face multiple stressesthat can bring on bouts of anxiety. They tend to encounter challenges such ashealth changes, memory problems, or deaths in the family. Even seemingly happy changes, such as retirement,can provoke stress. As estimated by the Geriatric Mental HealthFoundation, 10 to 20% of older adults suffer from anxiety. And this figure is probably higher in actuality,as many may not recognize the symptoms.

 Number 13 - Heart Problems Panic attacks can be very frightening. Your skin can get clammy, you can’t catchyour breath, and your heart is pounding like crazy. But sometimes problems with your heart itselfcan be the cause of anxiety. People with generalized anxiety disordersare at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. During a heart attack, one-third of peoplewill experience anxiety symptoms like heart palpitations and shortness of breath. These symptoms can often afflict people forup to a year or even more, and women seem to experience them more commonly than men.

 Number 14 - Overactive Thyroid Gland The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland inthe front of your neck. It produces thyroid hormones that are importantfor regulating your metabolism and energy levels. But, if your thyroid is overactive, it producestoo many hormones - which can make you feel anxious, nervous, irritable, and can causeheart palpitations as well as insomnia. If you’ve been experiencing anxiety symptomsand your neck is swelling, you’re losing weight rapidly, you cannot tolerate heat,and you feel fatigued, be sure to get your thyroid checked.

 Number 15 - Receiving A Diagnosis Of A SevereIllness If you receive a diagnosis for a chronic illness,it can severely turn your life upside down - resulting in a great deal of stress andanxiety. A life-changing disease can progress afterthe initial diagnosis, leading to even more anxiety. Sickness also affects family and loved ones,bringing worries about emotions and finances. You can have a bit of control over a severeillness by remaining upbeat, proactive, and very involved in the process with your healthcareproviders. Talking with a therapist or a counselor canbe useful, too - as they can help you learn to manage your emotions around your diagnosis.

 Number 16 - Financial Concerns Your mental health can be significantly affectedby financial difficulties such as living with debt, losing a job, or having a fluctuatingincome. These can all trigger feelings of anxiety. Learning to manage these types of triggersis essential for your mental wellbeing, and in some cases, may require seeking professionalhelp. A trusted financial advisor can help you navigatetroubled waters when it comes to money, and it can go a long way toward alleviating stress.

 Number 17 - Personal Triggers Sometimes, anxiety triggers are very personal- like a bad emotion or a bad memory. A place, a smell, or a string of music canremind you - consciously or subconsciously - of a bad memory or a traumatic time in yourlife. This frequently happens in post-traumaticstress disorder, but it can occur in other types of anxiety as well. Getting to the root cause of personal triggersoften takes time, but with work and perhaps counseling, you can learn to overcome them.

 Anxiety triggers can be different for eachperson, but some are commonplace among people with these conditions. And since many people have more than one trigger,it can be helpful to identify any triggers that you may have, so that you can take stepsto prevent or manage them. Do you suffer from anxiety? If so, what triggers have you identified? Let us know in the comments below! 

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