Today I want to talk about a particularly tricky part of anxiety and depression- recognising your own triggers. Without knowing what causes your anxious feelings, you will never be able to control them, or even move past them. Mental Health is a very individual thing, and it really is totally unique to each person. Take phobias for example: I am terrified of Spiders and the dark, but you might be scared of heights. It's all about knowing what sets you off with feelings of discomfort, anxiety and stress. So today I want to give you a few steps to take in order to identify what your triggers really are. They might surprise you.
Are you overthinking?
First of all, think back to your whole day. Is there anything which you are still thinking about? Maybe being sat next to someone on the bus, dropping something in front of people at work, or even just being in a crowd of people. If there is something that keeps replaying over and over in your head, this could be a trigger.
Take the crowd as an example: if you keep thinking back to it, why were you uncomfortable? Was it the proximity or sheer number of people which made you feel anxious? Thinking back to the situation in this way can help you identify exactly what it is that made you feel that way.
Be Present and Aware
This is a little trickier, because when we do become anxious and panicked, trying to think about it can be very difficult. When you are in a situation and you begin to feel those familiar sensations, try your very best to stay aware and present in the moment. I know myself that it is far too easy to get lost within your own head, but you need to try and stay in the room. Next time you are in a trigger situation, relax your body, close your eyes and breathe. Whether it takes 10 seconds or 10 minutes, calm your body. Think about what it was that triggered your reaction. Did someone criticise you? Were you just to slow getting the money out of your purse at the supermarket? Whatever it is, dig deep and find out why you reacted in that way. Consider taking 10 minutes out of your day to meditate. It not only brings your focus inwards, it is incredibly relaxing, I promise.
Imagine Different Scenarios
Another way to find out what it is that triggers your anxiety is to imagine a number of scenarios. Do any of these below trigger you?
- Someone ignoring you
- Someone frowning at you
- Someone not making time to see you
- Someone critising you
- Being in crowded places
- Being alone with a stranger
- Small Talk
- Supermarkets and Shops
- Walking down the street, thinking people are watching you
- Not knowing where the toilet is in a public place
- Someone standing too close, or sitting close
- A stranger trying to speak to you
- Group Projects
- Being asking to read out loud
Know your own body
Another part of knowing your triggers is knowing how your body will react to it. How would you react in any of the above situations?
- Get angry
- Get upset
- Make yourself small
- Stay silent, freeze on the spot
- Shut down/ withdraw
- Comply- be a people pleaser
- Once you know your body and understand your anxiety, it becomes easier to avoid your triggers and help yourself cope.
As always I want to end today's post with a positive thought for you all!
Good thought for today: