Anxiety affects people around the world every day. In the United States, anxiety and anxiety disorders are increasingly common. Unfortunately, many people don’t talk about anxiety and anxiety triggers. Anxiety triggers can not only start anxiety attacks or panic attacks, but they can also lead to self-medicating or self-soothing with drugs or alcohol. However, avoiding anxiety triggers and keeping your nervous system balanced is possible.
If you or a young man in your life is struggling with anxiety, Red Oak Recovery® can help. Our holistic treatment programs cater to young men struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Learn more by calling us today at 828.382.9699. Don’t let anxiety control your life.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a physical, emotional, and mental state. When a person experiences anxiety, their nervous system is in a state of dysregulation. This means that their body is in a state of fight, flight, or freeze. When posed with real danger, say physical threat, this state is normal and healthy. However, a dysregulated state is increasingly common in non-life-threatening situations.
Symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling restless or nervous
- Physical and mental tension
- A constant sense of impending danger
- Increased heart rate
- Trembling and shaking
- Difficulty concentrating
Once it is in a state of anxiety, it’s hard to calm the nervous system and return to a regulated state. For many, this challenge may mean medications or self-medicating to self-soothe and handle daily anxiety.
What Is an Anxiety Trigger?
An anxiety trigger is an action, feeling, emotion, interaction, or place that triggers an episode of anxiety. Everyone’s anxiety triggers are different. However, there are often common triggers in today’s society. These might include:
- Fear of failure as work or school communication
- Food sensitivities
- Financial worries
- Unhealed trauma, leading to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Undiagnosed mental health disorders
- Concerns about housing and job stability
- Concerns over the ecological crisis and natural disaster
These and many other common aspects of modern life can trigger anxiety. The key to managing anxiety is knowing your triggers and the best ways to self-soothe and re-regulate your nervous system.
Avoiding Anxiety Triggers
There are many ways to avoid anxiety triggers. Try these tips to quell anxiety and return to a state of calm.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
For many of us, a morning cup of coffee or tea extends well into the afternoon. As helpful as caffeine can be, it also increases heart rate and can contribute to anxiety. To reduce anxiety, reduce daily caffeine consumption or don’t drink caffeine when stressed.
Mindfulness is the practice of living in the present moment. Bringing the mind and body back into the present moment can break anxiety cycles and help regulate the nervous system. If you feel anxiety coming on, take a moment to breathe. Count your breath for four counts, then hold your breath for two counts. Finally, you can exhale slowly for four counts. Counting can help bring you into the moment while slowing your breath will slow your heart rate.
Get to Know Your Anxiety Triggers
If you’re triggered by emails, the news, or certain people in your life, establish honest and healthy boundaries around those triggers. Don’t check email first thing in the morning or late at night. These are times of day we’re more likely to ruminate on stress and worry. Anxiety is often about the past or the future rather than danger in the present moment. Creating boundaries around your triggers can give perspective and make triggers feel less life-threatening.
Eat Right and Sleep Well
Poor nutrition and sleep deficits both increase anxiety and can cause new things to trigger anxiety attacks. Reduce screen time and afternoon caffeine for better sleep. Focus on whole foods and balanced nutrition to help the body stay in a state of calm.
Studies show nature helps regulate the nervous system. Vitamin D and endorphins from exercise can also balance chemicals in the brain, reducing anxiety.
Treat Anxiety at Red Oak Recovery®
If you or a young man in your life needs help to treat anxiety, Red Oak Recovery® is here for you. Our dual diagnosis program helps young men build resilience and create balance in their lives. With a focus on wilderness therapy, the men at Red Oak Recovery® begin their healing journeys in North Carolina’s Appalachian region. Call us at 828.382.9699 today to learn about reducing anxiety with wilderness therapy.