It’s likely that you, like everyone else, experience moments of anxiety from time to time. Whether anxiety for you is rare or something you experience daily, we’re all familiar with the feeling, and it certainly isn’t a pleasant one. Previously on this blog we wrote about Busy Brain Syndrome, another thing that we’re all susceptible to and can lead to heightened anxiety. In this blog, we’re going to look more generally at anxiety.
When you’re feeling anxious, it can seem impossible at the time to change how you’re feeling. What you can do, however, is learn to identify what triggers your anxiety so that in future you can either avoid or limit your exposure to these triggers. Also, you could use your knowledge of your triggers to help manage your anxious response and look after yourself when you do get anxious. Remember, knowing yourself is hugely helpful when it comes to managing anxiety and soothing yourself in anxious moments.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common anxiety triggers. These are triggers that lots of us come across in everyday life, and unfortunately we can’t cut them out of our lives completely. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about them.
1. Parties or social events
This may well have become an even bigger trigger (and a more common one) for many of us over the course of the pandemic. We’re not used to being around lots of people, and after being told the dangers of social gatherings after the past year, having health concerns about parties and social events wouldn’t be surprising or unwarranted.
Even with the pandemic aside, parties have always been a major anxiety trigger for lots of people. This could be for a wide range of reasons: the loud music and voices around you could be giving you sensory overload, you could be feeling claustrophobic in crowds, you might be worried about how you present yourself, maybe you’re distressed by the pressure of having to meet new people. That’s far from all of the possible triggers that are presented at parties or social events.
If you find yourself getting anxious before, during or after parties then they are likely a trigger for anxiety for you. Does this mean you should avoid them altogether? No way! You can love parties and still find them anxiety inducing. There are a number of ways that you can address your party anxiety. If you find that it’s the crowd or the music that makes you anxious, try establishing a safe space for yourself when you arrive at the party. For example, stepping outside and away from the main action could give you a place to take a few deep breaths and gather your thoughts.
If you’re more concerned about the social pressures presented at parties, try and use your knowledge that parties are an anxiety trigger for you to separate what is a rational thought from what is an irrational thought brought on by anxiety. It isn’t easy to reason with the anxious part of your brain, and it does take practice. You could also try reaching out to friends or loved ones that you know can raise your spirits and ask them for the affirmations that you cannot give yourself at that moment.
2. Skipping Meals
Going hungry doesn’t just make us physically uncomfortable, but it can also cause us great emotional discomfort too. When we haven’t eaten, we can get irritable and be susceptible to mood swings and anxiety. Skipping meals is never a good idea unless you’ve been explicitly told to by a medical professional in preparation for a medical procedure or similar. Anxiety is just one of the reasons why skipping meals is a terrible idea. If you tend to skip meals, there’s a high chance that it’s one of your anxiety triggers.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy to change your routine though. If you’re in a pattern of skipping over breakfast or not making time for lunch, making time and effort to prepare and eat meals can be significantly challenging.
First of all, ask yourself why you skip meals. If you’re just too busy to eat then it’s time to reassess your priorities. Try speeding up meal times by planning and preparing ahead. You’ll be surprised at how much time you can save if you don’t have to think about what to cook, or if you even have something prepared ahead of time, ready to go. Try batch cooking – that’s when you make a massive amount of something so that it’s already cooked when you need to eat. Carve out an hour at some point in your week to either plan or prepare (or both!) your week of meals.
If you’re still concerned about time management, think of it this way: eating well and consistently will reduce your stress and anxiety levels, and this will ultimately do wonders for your productivity. If you take the time to eat, you’ll be more efficient in the long run.
Another reason why you might be skipping meals is that you’re concerned about your weight or self image. As we’ve said before at Voyager, skipping meals is never the answer to weight loss or self love. Skipping meals in order to lose weight is a dangerous habit. Instead, try looking into healthy recipes that can become part of a nutritious, healthy lifestyle.
Also, dehydration is also very important to look out for. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially at and after mealtimes.
Caffeine is a stimulant, so it may make you feel alert but with this can come anxious jittery feelings, which can make you feel very anxious. Do you find yourself feeling especially anxious after you’ve had an energy drink? If so, it would appear that caffeine is one of your anxiety triggers.
So what’s to be done? If you’re finding that caffeine is making you anxious and you want to feel less anxious then it may be time to cut down. Try looking for alternatives to what caffeine gives you. If you’re dependent on your morning coffee to feel alert and ready to take on the day, consider if a brisk 20 minute walk, or a cold shower might do the trick instead. Not only will a walk in the morning help you cut back on caffeine, but taking time to yourself for a walk can also be a meditative exercise that can really help you feel less anxious throughout the day.
If giving up coffee is an idea that makes you glum, you can keep it in your life with de-caff options. Also, be aware of other sources of caffeine in your life, like some fizzy drinks.
4. Financial Worries
Money problems plague millions of us every single day. They can be short term concerns (for example you might need to make a large one off purchase soon such as house repairs or vet bills) or long term concerns (such as paying the mortgage/rent or affording to feed yourself or family). These are probably the most easy to identify as anxiety triggers go. If you’re tossing and turning at night thinking about money, then I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that financial worries are an anxiety trigger for you.
Financial worries can also be the hardest to address, but there are steps you can take. First of all, you need to know what you’re dealing with. Many people simply don’t want to look at their financial situation in order to avoid the possibility of even more financial anxiety. You will not be able to put your worries to bed or fix your problems if you don’t know what you’re dealing with.
Sit down and see if you can figure out where you stand. Try making up a budget that feels manageable to you. It could really help to know what you can afford and what you can’t. Even if you find that your financial situation is unmanageable, once you know what it is, you can start thinking about your options. Try talking to your bank or seeking financial advice/support. Just starting to take the first steps towards financial stability can help you feel less anxious.
Do you find the very idea of disagreeing with someone stomach turning? If so, you may find that conflict is one of your anxiety triggers.
Not all conflict is negative, or is it always unproductive or combative. Plus, the fact of the matter is that conflict is everywhere. It can be present in our friendships, romantic relationships, family, and workplaces. If conflict makes you anxious this might fill you with dread – why can’t we all just get along!? But conflict isn’t unhealthy – in fact it can be very healthy if we go about it in the right way.
Disagreements are inevitable – human relationships are a two way street. Different people with different perspectives, priorities, and needs are bound to have misunderstandings, or simply differing ideas. If conflict triggers your anxiety, you may become increasingly conflict avoidant. This can cause a number of problems.
For one, it can mean that your personal relationships can deteriorate. Friends might do or say things that hurt you without even meaning it. If you don’t tell them, that friend won’t know that they hurt you. They won’t apologise because you haven’t prompted them to self-reflect, and there’s a chance that they’ll hurt you without meaning to again.
Conflict resolution can be healthy. If you’re really uncomfortable with the idea of engaging in any conflict whatsoever then start with baby steps. Think about what might make approaching conflict easier. For example, you could try writing down your feelings first so that you’re entering the conversation knowing what you want to get across, or try asking the other person if they’d be willing to talk to you in a private place. Most importantly, be respectful and constructive – if you are, then the conflict will likely go far more smoothly and be a positive experience for all involved.
Identifying your anxiety triggers
If you’re anxious often then it’s really helpful to know what your triggers are. It isn’t always obvious what makes us anxious, but there are ways to help identify anxiety triggers. Try keeping a diary of your moods and what you do throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be detailed, but it could help you to see patterns. Maybe you’ll notice that you get more anxious when you’re home alone, or around lots of people.
Another idea to help identify anxiety triggers is consistently practicing mindfulness. Mindful thinking just helps you to be more present from moment to moment and more aware of how you’re thinking and feeling. This can help you be more aware of your feelings and be more aware of when you’re starting to get anxious and why. A good place to start with mindfulness is meditation. There are lots of guided meditation podcasts and YouTube videos online, so why not start there?
Can CBD help?
While CBD is not intended as an anxiety cure, scientific research so far has been positive in showing that CBD has great potential to ease anxiety and to help people relax. At Voyager we want CBD to be accessible to everyone who believes that it will help them. That’s why we sell high quality CBD isolate products at fair prices.
If you’re anxious about certain things, such as money, you may not find buying CBD helpful. CBD, however, could be a big help in allowing you to remain calm in certain situations. Our blog about taking CBD before a date highlights how CBD could make some social occasions less stressful and more enjoyable.
If you’re new to CBD but think it could benefit you, try taking a read of our blog on beginners tips. Then take our quiz to see what product is right for you. If you’ve been taking CBD for a while but still feel anxious, maybe you could try a higher dosage, such as in our 1500mg or 3000mg oils.
CBD can also be added to the things you already do to relax. For example, there are a number of potential benefits to a CBD bath. Our CBD bath blocks contain 100mg of CBD and come in a soothing Lavender & Frankincense fragrance variety – perfect for relaxing after a stressful day!