Since dealing with the onset of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) I have been able to, over time, recognize things that I do or participate in that work to trigger me.
We are creatures of habit, and of patterns. When we work to delve into those patterns, it’s easier to extract and witness the consequences of our behaviours.
And that’s all about learning. That’s what learning is. You participate in a behaviour, you observe how it affects you and you decide whether the behaviour is helpful or harmful.
Fundamentally, you live, you learn. I mean, right!
Anyway, I’ve learned to avoid certain behaviours because I know they have a triggering impact on me.
Like, for instance, I generally avoid caffeine at all costs. You see, caffeine is a stimulant that works to basically place your body on high alert. To wake you up.
For someone like me, that means my already heightened senses are elevated even more. Meaning I become more jittery, more alert and more high strung. Ugh. Not a good feel.
So, although I love the taste of a Tim’s medium double double (and I had one today) I generally skip the coffee and shoot for a chamomile tea, which essentially is a herbal tea that works to relax you.
Another trigger for me is alcohol. Drinking is relaxing initially, but it is a depressant which works to depress your entire system. Both physically and emotionally.
If you’ve ever drank alcohol, I’m sure you can relate to the day after blues. Your anxiety is sky-rocketed because perhaps you did something in the state of mind you wouldn’t normally have done, and you’re feeling depressed because alcohol depletes all those feel good neurotransmitters in your brain, like serotonin.
I mean ultimately it’s healthiest not to drink. Drinking is unhealthy. And I know that. And
you need to watch that. But I’m not going to sit here and call the kettle black.
I do consume alcohol. I enjoy socializing and having a beer after a game. Or hanging out with my girlfriends, but I am just saying, you know, be weary and try to be conscientious about doing so.
It’s much better to wake up feeling refreshed than hungover. I mean, everyone knows that. And so if I drink alcohol I know that I need to prepare myself for the associated side-effects. I know what I’m potentially getting myself into.
Another thing that triggers me is, well, boredom and not keeping my body moving. Once you find yourself moping and or being sluggish, you really need to kick yourself in the butt and get outside and get busy living.
Exercise is simply the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. Exercise helps increase and restore the chemicals that help ward off anxiety and depression.
Being inactive for a lengthy period of time leads to me feeling both anxious and depressed. And closely linked to that is diet.
If I eat an unhealthy diet, I have a tendency toward feeling more anxious than usual. You fill your body with low nutrient foods and guess what, you’re going to feel horrible.
I mean dude, that’s your bodies energy. What you eat fuels you, and propels you forward.
So, triggers for me include caffeine, alcohol, lack of exercise and an unbalanced diet, and in addition to that, sad news articles, and in general the news.
I like to be informed, but the news can sometimes be revolting. There’s so much fear mongering. And I hate that. I hate the idea of living in fear. I live everyday with fear, I don’t want to live in it too. The hell with that.
A couple years ago, after I was accepted into journalism school, I tuned into BBC World News and CNN everyday. If I wanted to be a journalist, I felt it important to obviously tune into the best journalism on the market.
And I literally went insane. I felt like, I was unworthy of all my privileged when children were starving in third world countries, and women were being raped and murdered, where concentration camps still exist in North Korea. And I kind of lost my faith, I suppose, in humanity.
And that’s an awful feeling. We can only do our best. Instead of tuning into the news these days, I just try to live a good life and be kind. I donate where and when I can. And I support those around me as best I can. I guess I try to do my part to make the world around me, at least, a little brighter.
And I think that’s a win. That’s all I can do, really. I can only do my best. That’s all any of us can do. Help where you can, and if you can’t help, do no harm.
Anywho, that’s just some triggers that I have experienced. Change is a huge trigger too, but change is important to grow and I’ll do a follow up post on that sometime this week.
Keep on keepin’ on guys.
P.S 76 countries around the world are now reading! Exciting! Sending love to all corners of the world!