Tip #14: Anxiety can be pretty trigger-happy, with many seemingly small things causing the alarm bells in your body to start ringing. Learn what triggers your panic attacks.
The Why: Occasionally, panic attacks can seemingly arise from nowhere and for no reason.
Imagine yourself sitting in the sunshine, laughing and frolicking, picking up flowers. Then suddenly, anxiety strikes.
“But I feel really happy and calm” you may protest as your brain goes into overdrive and your chest tightens.
“No, no, I definitely sense trouble” your brain will reply.
As we have already discussed, your problem-scanning part of the brain, the amygdala (Amy for short), can see danger everywhere and in almost anything (seriously I once almost had a panic attack looking at a ball pit).
This is why it is so important to really look within yourself to find out what is triggering your anxiety. What dangers is Amy sensing, and why?
In regards to the ball pit, I honestly did not know what the issue was. I felt ridiculous and silly, so took a moment to really think about why pretty multi-coloured balls set me off. Then I realised, it was because my five-year-old brother when playing in one was hit in the face, and the panic I felt at seeing him hurt had developed a negative association with them.
This example is pretty bland, but illustrates my point:
By learning what your triggers are, it takes the fear out of the sudden onset of panic. You know why you feel anxious. You know that it’s just anxiety. You can calm down.
Keeping a list or journal of all the different triggers you may have, and why you have them, allows you to become more aware of your own mind, and gives you a better insight into your condition.
For instance, my list looks a little like this (though there are many more):
As has been discussed many times thus far, knowledge is power against panic attacks, and learning your triggers is an important weapon in your anti-anxiety arsenal.