anxiety triggers

Recently, while enjoying a movie night with my husband and friends, I encountered a challenging moment. A particular scene unexpectedly triggered my anxiety.

Instinctively, I stood up and busied myself elsewhere, recognizing this as a classic avoidance tactic.

 As a therapist and coach, I’m well aware that dodging anxiety often amplifies it in the long run.

Determined to confront this head-on, I rejoined the group before the scene concluded. Sitting through the discomfort, I reminded myself of my safety, despite the physical signs of anxiety: tense muscles, a racing heart, clenched hands, and rapid breathing.

A few hours later, my nervous system had recalibrated. By bedtime, I felt normal again.

You might wonder how I managed to prevent the anxiety from lingering. Here’s what I did and didn’t do:

How to handle anxiety triggers:

Face the trigger: Against everything in me, I sat down to watch the remaining of the scene that was producing the anxiety and I payed attention to my discomfort. I felt it until the scene was over, then I got up and moved to release some of the adrenaline.

Told myself I was safe: As I felt my body feel unsafe, I looked around and acknowledged that I was in fact safe.

I did NOT assign a meaning to the anxiety: Instead of telling myself that this anxiety meant that what happened on the scene was going to happen to me or, that there is something wrong with me for still getting anxious about the same triggers, I decided to abstain (self-control) from attaching a story and instead letting my body ride the waves of a nervous system that had been aroused.

Before I knew it, I was back to my normal self and slept like a “dad” not a baby, cause babies don’t sleep :).

To recap, in order to let go of anxiety sooner, we must face the triggers while noticing we are safe and NOT attach a story to the feeling of anxiety. You follow those steps and you too will be sleeping like a dad.

Thank you for your reading me and I hope this post gives you the courage to face your own triggers and it gives you perspective that EVERYONE is always working at managing their emotions, including me!

Have a lovely day,
Olga

PS: If anxiety has been keeping you up at night, I would love to help. Book a call (by clicking here) and let’s chat about how I can support you.