Anxiety attacks can be caused by anxiety triggers. You might be aware of obvious circumstances that trigger anxiety such as being in a crowded place. However, other factors that cause anxiety might not be so obvious – including spiritual influences. Prayer for Anxiety takes a look.
What is a trigger?
Anything that stimulates an anxious response can be considered a trigger. Some might even be the source of anxiety, but most only make an underlying condition worse. Here are some common anxiety triggers (spiritual triggers are explained later):
- Dehydration – If you feel thirst you are already mildly dehydrated affects your mood. Drink at least 33 oz. of water a day.
- Hunger – Skip a meal and your body gets stressed. So do you.
- Bedtime messaging – Using your laptop or smartphone at night exposes you excess light stimulating your brain. This interferes with sleep. Turn off all devices at least 15-30 min. before bedtime. Avoid waking up to text.
- Alcohol – Even though it is a sedative, alcohol – or alcohol withdrawal – can trigger anxiety.
- Tobacco – Smoking has been associated with increased levels of anxiety.
- Caffeine – Too much or withdrawal from coffee can cause anxiety symptoms.
- Drugs – Thyroid medications, asthma drugs, anti-decongestants, and cold remedies can cause anxiety symptoms. Withdrawal from drugs like Ativan or Valium can also cause anxiety. Recreational drugs like marijuana and cocaine can also be linked to anxiety.
- Weight loss supplements – These can cause symptoms especially supplements with green tea or guarana.
- Health problems such as heart disease and thyroid disorders.
- Headlines – The media is very invasive, and bad news sells. Try to avoid obsessing over headlines.
What about spiritual triggers?
Typically, spiritual triggers of anxiety have to do with something that just doesn’t seem right. It can be due to thoughts, actions, words, or the lack of action. These things can be observed in ourselves or others. Our emotions play a role, and the situation can have multiple layers.
For example, you might see someone mistreating another person. This observation alone can trigger anxiety. But perhaps you also feel a hidden desire for vengeance upon the person doing wrong. This only makes increases anxiousness. You might feel bad since you didn’t defend the person being mistreated, and finally, poor sleep magnifies the problem.
All triggers usually work upon a deeper psycho-spiritual state allowing the trigger to create a reaction. If we put a lit match to sand nothing happens, but ignite gunpowder and you get an explosion.
So if you are hungry, but don’t have a deeper problem, you might get a little grumpy but you won’t have an anxiety attack.
Some triggers, like alcohol or drug dependence, typically hide a deeper problem of avoidance. We might want to avoid facing a past emotional wound, or we might not want to admit our sin. Seeking to anesthetize our pain, we only make things worse.
Is there a solution?
Anxiety is a complex situation. If you feel the symptoms (nervousness, sense of danger, palpitations, rapid breathing, chest tightness, etc.) then make sure you consult with a health professional to make sure other medical problems are not causing your symptoms. Once anxiety has been diagnosed, spiritual solutions should be put in place along with other treatment. And it all begins with forgiveness.
If we follow the example mentioned earlier, we should ask for forgiveness and forgive ourselves for not defending someone. The same goes for the desire for vengeance – ask your Heavenly Father to forgive you. Finally, we can forgive and ask God to forgive the person who initially mistreated the other.
As we can see, the power of forgiveness and mercy can untangle even the most complex situations. If we pray and ask God for solutions, we can disarm the triggers of anxiety in our lives.
Image source (modified).