You wake up feeling anxious and you can’t figure out why. Your heart is beating quickly and you are having difficulty taking a deep breath. Your brain feels as though it is in a fog.
You can’t even think straight or do the simplest things without feeling on edge.
You feel as though your anxiety sets you up for failure.
“But everything’s fine!” You try to remind yourself as your body and mind spiral downwards.
Because you can’t figure out why you’re anxious, you worry about feeling anxious for no reason.
You feel uncomfortable and as though you are losing control. You don’t know how to cope with anxiety that has no trigger.
Is It Possible To Feel Anxious Without A Trigger?
Here’s the thing: although you may feel as though there is no trigger, there usually is a trigger, you just don’t notice it.
Mary* walked into my office and sat down on the sofa for our first therapy session. I asked her to tell me why she was coming to therapy.
She seemed hesitant to speak, and her eyes welled up with tears before she was able to get a word out. “I just don’t know what to do. My anxiety is ruining everything good in my life. I’ve always been a nervous person but recently it seems like my anxiety is coming out of nowhere and it’s hard to cope with…”
Mary’s story isn’t unique. Many people struggle with seemingly random anxiety, which makes it even more difficult to cope with.
How do you deal with something when you don’t know what is causing it?
Be Patient And Pay Attention
Here are two quick steps that can help if you are experiencing mysteriously-triggered anxiety right now (or at any time in the future).
- Be patient and tune into your self-talk. The tendency can be to worry even more, or put yourself down for feeling anxious. If you notice any of these thoughts coming up, challenge them. Practice telling yourself, it’s okay that I’m feeling anxious right now, this won’t last forever. Anxiety is only a temporary feeling, it is not me.
- Pay attention to yourself. This isn’t the moment to overthink, but to be a curious observer and check in with yourself. Use these questions as a starting point:
You are not alone. It’s common to experience anxiety and not have an awareness of what has triggered it. Practicing these two steps can help you start understanding yourself and your anxiety triggers better.
If you are interested in diving deeper into your anxiety triggers, download my free PDF containing 10 journal prompts to help you get to the root of your anxiety by clicking the image below:
*To protect client confidentiality, the name has been changed and the story consists of an amalgam of client experiences.