Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the world. These disorders impact 40 million American adults, which encompasses almost 20% of the population.
Anxiety disorders can range from mildly discomforting to downright debilitating. If left untreated, they can cause significant distress to individuals and their families.
When it comes to managing your symptoms, understanding your anxiety triggers is key. Having this insight can help you prepare and adapt to challenging situations. Let's get into some of the most common triggers people face.
Fear of Rejection
We are wired to want to connect with others. And while the fear of rejection isn't always conscious, this anxiety can affect how you connect with others, perform at work, and take appropriate risks.
This fear can manifest itself in numerous situations, including:
when meeting and interacting with new people.
presenting an important idea in school or work.
sharing vulnerable feelings or thoughts with someone.
asking other people for help.
In some cases, this fear of rejection can lead to a severe phobia in social situations. It can also prevent people from telling the truth, especially if they're worried that others will disapprove of it.
Fear of Failure
The fear of failure is also a persistent undertone in most anxiety disorders. While it's normal to want to succeed, mistakes are an inherent part of growth and learning.
This fear can present itself in the following ways:
avoiding trying something new because you're not sure if you'll "be good" at it.
procrastinating difficult tasks.
extreme perfectionism in school or work.
stagnation to avoid taking risks or making changes.
Sometimes, this fear emerges after a real or perceived experience of failure. Other times, it comes from a place of internalized pressure. For example, if you grew up in a household with high expectations, you may assume that your external accomplishments determine your worth.
Fear of Powerlessness
We are wired to want a sense of power and control. It's rooted in our survival instincts- this security ensures our likelihood for coping and mitigating danger.
In modern society, the fear of powerlessness often looks like feeling afraid of the "unknown." Instead of embracing life's natural ebbs and flows, you may try to account for every possible outcome.
You might try to control the actions of other people. You may also struggle with extreme indecisiveness because you feel terrified about making the wrong decision.
Fear of Your Own Emotions
This fear is usually a combination of some of the other fears. Most people have limited experience in identifying, understanding and coping with their feelings. Moreover, we live in a world that often dissuades emotional intelligence.
The fear of your own emotions can look like:
continuously numbing yourself with drugs, alcohol, or other compulsive vices.
intellectualizing how you feel ("it isn't that bad." "other people have it worse.").
pretending you don't have feelings at all.
using your feelings as weapons to justify inappropriate behavior.
How Do You Cope With These Anxiety Triggers?
Anxiety is a normal emotion. The goal isn't to avoid it altogether- that would be unrealistic and ineffective. Instead, it's much better to focus on how you can learn to prepare and manage your symptoms when they arise.
Mindfulness refers to embracing the present moment and accepting your current reality for what it is. Mindful people tend to cope with life's challenges more effectively. They also tend to be more compassionate, confident, and happier.
You can achieve mindfulness through conscious meditation. You can also focus on active listening, single-task skills (as opposed to multitasking), and practicing gratitude.
When it comes to managing rough emotions, a good workout can boost numerous feel-good hormones. Research shows that physical activity helps with emotional regulation and confidence, both of which can reduce anxiety.
Keep in mind that you don't need to exercise for hours every week to reap the benefits. Adding a simple walk or a few yoga stretches can make a tremendous difference.