1. Your need for perfection. Pushing yourself to meet drastic standards of perfection in your relationship, your job, or while completing the simplest daily chores.
2. Family uncertainties. Illness, or other major family stressors can take a toll on you.
3. Sirens. If you subconsciously associate the sound with a difficult memory and revert back to the concern you’d felt previously.
4. Loud music. Your tendency may be to turn your music up to block out other thoughts, but it’s also making your heart beat faster and could be getting in the way of the calm your body needs.
5. Dead ends in your life. Knowing that your relationship or your job is going nowhere but not doing anything about it. Even if it’s only a subconscious notion, it could be the reason you’re snapping at other people, pushing others away, or the motivation behind being hard on yourself.
6. Money. Money is stressful. I know, WHAT A BREAKTHROUGH. The end of the month can be a trigger, especially if you’re signing away your entire paycheck to rent, utilities, insurances, etc.
7. Being around people for too long. An inability to spend 12 hours with people doesn’t necessarily make you an introvert. It makes you human. The pressure of needing to behave a certain way for too long can be too much to handle.
8. Complete darkness. Submerging yourself in complete darkness – under a tunnel, at a Disneyland park someone tried to convince you might be fun – is pretty anxiety producing, especially for those with claustrophobic tendencies.
9. Current events. No one wants to be the person who can’t watch news because it’s too upsetting. But sometimes watching a story about kidnapping, earthquakes or a bank robbery eats away at your “it wouldn’t happen to me” defense mechanism.
10. Bad news you’re far removed from. Of course losing someone close to you can trigger anxiety and depression, but watching a friend lose someone, or hearing about sudden loss can also shake you, just because it forces you to focus on death.
11. Being stuck inside. Often succumbing to a bad anxiety attack means seclusion. We close the door, to hide our instabilities from roommates or significant others and lean into the concern or sadness. It gets suffocating before we even realize it and can feed your anxiety instead of taming it.
12. Being far away from home. Not knowing when you’ll see your family again. We assume that separation anxiety is something we grow out of after sleep away camp but the uncertainty that comes with moving away from your family can weigh on you more than you realize.
13. Traffic. The feeling of going nowhere can be disastrous to some people’s nerves. Especially if there’s very little distraction, the cars lights are too bright and the generic traffic sounds are too loud.
14. Getting stuck underground. Car commuters aren’t the only ones with panic attacks. Being told you have to sit, underground for X minutes while another subway car passes doesn’t bode well for anyone with claustrophobia.
15. Setting unreachable standards for yourself. Performance pressure at work is a challenge, even if you’re the only one laying the pressure on.
16. Giving up control. Control is a defense for anxiety. If you’re used to being the boss, the person who calls the shots in the relationship, the sober one in a group of friends or are obsessed with being in control of your actions, it’s often because it counters your anxiety. Giving that up, even in a small way, may be healthy, but it will make you nervous before you grow accustomed to it.
17. Taking control. Being responsible for extra work, or being asked to manage extra people, sometimes means piling their anxieties on top of yours.
18. Temperature. If you’re the person who always gets cold, it may make your body tenses enough to strain your back and shoulders which will start to simulate the feeling of stress. If you’re overheating, it can remind you of the way you feel just before a panic attack.
19. Crowds. At a huge festival, packed into a subway car, or anywhere that makes you feel like you couldn’t escape if you needed to. Claustrophobia and anxiety go hand-in-hand.
20. Time passing. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and other milestones that are supposed to be cheerful, are also a reminder that things are finite. Endings can make you severely anxious, especially if you don’t know what’s next.