You already know the major anxiety triggers in your child’s life: shots, tests, bullies, scary movies, etc. But there are other, weirder things that cause kids to worry or even panic. I’d like to share some unexpected situations that triggered anxiety in me as a kid, as well as some of the things that can trigger anxiety in my students.
Before we start, I want to explain a little bit about anxiety triggers in general. (I’m not a neuroscientist or mental health professional, so this will be short and simple.) Anything that causes the same physical symptoms that anxiety can cause (e.g. pounding heart, dizziness, etc.) can lead to psychological feelings of anxiety. In fact, people suffering from Panic Disorder (hey there), which is characterized by frequent panic attacks, often report typically experiencing the physical effects of panic before the psychological ones, possibly indicating that the panic is caused by the bodily symptoms and not the other way around.
Remember, panic is the result of chemicals within the brain and body. Some experts believe that thoughts usually cause these chemicals to be released, and some believe that the chemicals are often released for other reasons and then cause the thoughts. Many experts believe that both scenarios are common. Either way, anxiety and panic are experienced both in the mind and in the body. Similarly, some anxiety triggers are cognitive, or in the brain, and some are somatic, or in the body.
Stay tuned for the first surprising child anxiety trigger, coming soon.