Was Your Anxiety Triggered? Learn Some Ways to Stay Focused
One of the most important things that I have learned to recognize about my anxiety, and something that I often talk about in terms of coping, is what I do when my anxiety gets triggered. This has been important because I've learned ways to avoid or confront the triggers. And so, throughout this process, I've also learned how to recognize the anxiety symptoms that I most often experience.
This has also become significant in my life because I've had to learn how to continue to stay focused when I've experienced anxiety triggers. For example, when I've been working on something, and something triggers my anxiety, this is enough to derail my concentration. The problem with this is that this interrupts my productivity and ability to work on what I am trying to focus on. And then, my brain fixates on what has triggered my anxiety instead of what I need to concentrate on.
Staying Focused When My Anxiety Is Triggered
Ultimately, this can be very disruptive in my everyday life. If there is a task that I need to complete and I only have a certain amount of time to do it, my anxiety can be problematic because it is hard to stay on task if I am preoccupied with something else. This is also problematic because, depending on the trigger and the symptoms, the anxiety may be enough to disrupt my focus for the rest of the day.
So, while I can try my best to try avoiding anxiety triggers, this is not always realistic, especially since sometimes, I may experience triggers unexpectedly. In these situations, the best thing I can do in the moment is to work on staying focused rather than avoiding or confronting the trigger. Overcoming triggers and building my resilience are other things I can do to help me be prepared in the face of anxiety.
These are things I have learned to do to stay focused in the moment when my anxiety is triggered:
- I distract myself. With anxiety, the tendency can sometimes be to hyper-focus on something but the wrong thing. For example, if a worry is consuming my focus instead of the task I am working on, I'll end up hyper-focused on whatever that worry is. So instead, I'll have a TV show or music on. This helps to draw my attention away from the trigger, but it's not too much of a distraction that I can't concentrate on what I need to.
- I set small goals with breaks in between. So, for example, if I am writing a paper, I will write up to a certain point and then take a break once I reach that goal. This helps me to stay on-task, and it helps me focus on this progression rather than what has triggered my anxiety.
- I slow down and breathe. Some of the primary anxiety symptoms I experience include a quickened heart rate, shortness of breath, uneasiness, and mental confusion. Taking a deep breath helps to slow my heart rate, and it also helps me to slow down overall. By slowing my heart rate and slowing down my thoughts, it helps me to focus and behave more intentionally. Sometimes this is what I need to help me stay centered on the task I am working on.
For more information on staying focused when anxiety is triggered, watch this video:
Are there specific strategies you use for staying focused when you are anxious? If so, share them in the comments below.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2023, April 13). Was Your Anxiety Triggered? Learn Some Ways to Stay Focused, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, October 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2023/4/was-your-anxiety-triggered-learn-some-ways-to-stay-focused