anxiety triggers

5 everyday tasks that trigger anxiety

By Talia Filippelli, LCSW

We live in the second most stressed out metropolitan area in the country. Cost of living, population, and traffic are just a number of the financial and environmental factors that cause us stress and anxiety. One of the most important factors in keeping those anxious feelings at bay is recognizing triggers. Here are 5 everyday tasks that trigger anxiety in just about anyone, regardless if they have an anxiety disorder or not.

Watching the news

We live in such a hyper-connected world that it’s often difficult to avoid the news. The over-sensationlization of certain stories and events may equal ratings for the networks and clicks for various websites, but it also can be a serious anxiety trigger. Try making an information curfew and restricting your consumption of certain types of media to set hours every day. Even better, pick a day every week or month to unplug completely.

Commuting

Between the crowds, unexpected delays, and overall time and cost spent commuting, is it any wonder that it can cause anxiety? Studies have shown that commuting is often the most miserable part of anyone’s day. But there are ways to make the time more bearable. Bring a book that you only read while commuting, make an upbeat playlist to lift your mood, or try distracting yourself by playing a stress relieving game on your smartphone.

Drinking coffee

That morning cup of joe may be doing you more harm than good. Caffeine and other stimulants activate the nervous system, and an activated nervous system is anxiety’s best ( or worst) friend. If coffee helps you wake up in the morning, start exploring other, caffeine-free alternatives. Try doing a light workout, taking a cold shower, or drinking an ice cold glass of water as soon as you rise.

Paying bills

It doesn’t matter how much or little money you have, money is still the leading cause of stress and anxiety in the country. Missing a payment or making one late can result in late fees or other penalties only compound the issue. You can minimize stress by setting reminders in your phone when due dates are approaching so not to be caught off guard. Reviewing and revising due dates may also be an option to help keep you organized.

Skipping meals

Did you know that skipping meals can trigger anxiety? It’s true! Not eating enough causes your blood sugar to drop, which in turn can cause a rush of adrenaline. Low blood sugar signals your adrenal glands, which end up releasing adrenaline and cortisol, causing you to feel more anxious and aroused. A snack consisting of complex carbs and/or protein will help prevent or alleviate low blood sugar.