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What triggers random anxiety and panic attacks when nothing is going on?

219 Answers
Last Updated: 04/02/2021 at 3:45pm
What triggers random anxiety and panic attacks when nothing is going on?
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Smita Joshi, BA Psychology / MA / Advanced EFT Practitioner


I am empathetic with my Clients going through emotional overwhelm and passionate in helping them. I am supportive, openminded & interactive in helping my clients.

Top Rated Answers
May 2nd, 2015 2:30am
It's hard to say what exactly triggers them, but the mind is a little like a computer. It's always running processes - for the mind, thoughts - that we can't see and maybe know nothing about, so even when everything is still on the surface, our mind makes associations that we may not be aware of while they're happening. It only becomes apparent when we have a result, which is an anxiety or panic attack. This is what makes it a great idea to reeducate our minds so that we are more aware of these thoughts before they escalate and become harder to manage.
September 16th, 2016 2:17am
There are many theories floating out there as to why this happens. During my studies I believe it is all due in part by the sub conscious or cellular/muscular memory.
October 16th, 2016 5:38am
Its almost always the negative thoughts that trigger a past trauma or experience that was very painful. Other than that, it could also be caused by exxageration of the fear of failure in future by thinking too much about future. Guided Meditation is helpful. Chakra Meditation is really good. Inspiring quotes, focus on positive aspects of yourself, ways to improve self-worth can go a long way in saving one from anxiety and panic attacks.
October 1st, 2016 1:37am
Distant Memories that you thought you forgot. Certain smells certain images. Things that you can't relate to but your brain seems to remember something traumatic and that causes a panic attack. Relapses of memories. All of these things you think that nothing he going on but really everything is going on
December 4th, 2016 8:16am
In my experience, seeing something on TV or just simply over thinking. Sometimes, it can be a dream or even something that you read.
January 26th, 2017 12:59pm
A person doesn't always understand what triggers their panic attacks & not knowing makes them panic more. It's ok, just focus on what you need right now.
September 25th, 2016 4:53am
You could possibly think of something you forgot to do, like homework or study for a test. That's usually what triggers me. It is different for everyone.
November 5th, 2016 12:35am
Lots of things can trigger - even something as simple as not getting enough sleep or feeling stressed.
December 16th, 2016 5:04pm
There are many triggers for anxiety and panic attacks that seem to come from nowhere. Several types of neurological disorders and other illnesses can cause an attack without warning. In other cases, there may be stress over many little things that are building in your sub-conscious. Often you don't recognize them until they present as anxiety or panic attacks. I find that talking to someone about the things I'm dealing with gives me another person's perspective of whether there is a buildup of stress I'm not aware of that can appear as anxiety or panic.
January 5th, 2017 5:37am
I find that my anxiety and panic attacks are never random. Something has triggered those feelings and episodes even if they aren't obvious. It can be an event or interaction from a day or two ago that I didn't realize was rattling around in my head. It can something subtle or unconscious about my surrounding, like I sensed something dangerous without realizing it. Journaling has been useful for identifying these triggers as I can look back at patterns and really work out what might be happening.
March 31st, 2017 8:53pm
It could be any number of things; sights, smells, people, places, or even passing thoughts. The key is to breathe through it though, and remember that it will pass.
April 16th, 2017 4:10pm
If 'nothing' is going on, often times the trigger might reside inside of you. Try analyzing your thoughts, and feelings during the day. If you feel yourself getting anxious, take a minute to think about what you were ruminating about. Sometimes recalling a memory, or worrying about a project might trigger an anxiety attack for people. Not all triggers are external, so I suggest searching inwards.
March 29th, 2018 8:52pm
There is no one certain trigger or triggers for anxiety or panic attack. It really depends on the person themselves. It usually has to do with something from their past or something that they fear of the future.
May 2nd, 2018 11:48pm
Anticipation/waiting for something. Unfamiliar areas. Tight spaces. (Especially cars) Flying. Large crowds. People I don’t know.
September 21st, 2019 9:25pm
Your body naturally has a flight or fight response, going back centuries ago, when this was important thing for humans to survive in the wild. Some people still have a heightened response to additional stress, or random factors, that can trigger the bodies flight or fight response. This causes anxiety and panic attacks, even if we are not in a dangerous situation. While having a self preservation tactic in our bodies may not be something that is required for our everyday lives in this century, our bodies can still be triggered into that response. Often watching out for triggers and stressors, and practicing mindfulness in your day to day life can help curb the anxiety and panic attacks.
March 8th, 2016 8:52pm
The words anxiety and panic trigger me sometimes. Sudden loud noises or alarms going off often trigger me also.
July 25th, 2016 6:15am
A reminder of a traumatic event, such as a sound (like a song for example, or tune) or a phrase that someone says could release the repressed memories in your mind.
October 2nd, 2016 8:50pm
Lack proper coping mechanisms to deal with stress. Anxiety feels like the normal state of mind. Possibly not on proper medication or not taking medications properly.
November 23rd, 2016 1:31am
I have panic attacks and anxiety out of the blue. It's hard to try to pin point what brought it on when all you are doing is your normal daily things. I think sometimes it could be from a previous stressful moment or overthinking and perhaps something triggers it at an unusual time. I wish I knew the answer but I have learned how to try to recognize the warning signs of an impending panic attack. For me it sometimes helps to try to focus all of my attention on one task in the moment.
February 25th, 2017 5:12pm
Probably the cause is internal, fostered by experiences and expectations from some authority figure that the person respects. That person fears the disapproval, believes that the disapproval will diminished his self worth. Thus he is in a constant state of wanting to meet those expectations resulting in random anxiety and panic attacks.
March 11th, 2017 3:03am
Sometimes, in my experience, it is just my brain being odd. I have heard that there is a chemical response that your brain sends that says "something bad is happening" but then it gets confused because it doesn't sense anything bad outside and freaks out in the confusion
March 12th, 2017 1:58pm
You might not realise it, but something no matter how minute will have triggered you. In the past I've found it helpful to carry a little notebook, or even use my phone to write down or record voice memos to myself when I've been triggered - describe what's happened immediately before, what's happening now, where I am and then when I've calmed down, I'll go back, read it or listen it. You might think this sounds silly but by looking at the situations I've been in, I've been able to pick out common things that have all been present when I've started to head south. It could be a sight, sound, smell, person, feeling, in fact pretty much anything.
September 21st, 2017 4:25pm
You might think nothing is going on but usually there is always something that's up and bothering you. Maybe unconsciously or subconsciously you might be thinking about some things/situation/people which might trigger a panic attack. Or nothing might be going on but the situation in which you are in, for example sitting in an exam hall or waiting for a client, or waiting for an interview etc - you might think "I'm just nervous" but maybe inside you are more anxious and that may trigger an attack :)
September 23rd, 2017 4:35am
Anxiety and panic attacks can be triggered by your thoughts as well as your physical surroundings. When you are alone, relaxing, you might find that thoughts come to your head almost randomly. You don't have control of your mind thinking about your ex-girlfriend or that time you accidentally lost control and kicked someone in middle school. These thoughts can trigger an emotional response that can lead to feelings of anxiety. For me, one of the first steps to controlling my anxiety while I was relaxing, was letting go of control of those thoughts. Every time that something crazy pops up in your in your train of thoughts, remind yourself that's not you! That's your monkey mind trying to keep itself busy.
October 22nd, 2017 1:19am
A loud sound, a shout, a yell. Even a touch or smell. Actually anything can trigger you. But you can learn to control it in time and not let it control you for once.
December 7th, 2017 4:21pm
Based on my personal experience I have really bad anxiety and panic attacks, it usually starts off at the night for the most part. When I feel most alone. I think about my body, my family, my relationship, I just get really lost in my head
February 2nd, 2018 10:26pm
A lot of things can trigger random anxiety or panic attacks. A single subconscious thought can make your body's fight or flight kick in. Your heartrate increases, your breathing changes, and your muscles tense up. Your body's reaction in turn triggers an emotional reaction. You start associating certain symptoms with anxiety or panic, to a point that a small normal bodily change can trigger afullblown panic attack. Discovering your triggers can go a great way to reducing future attacks, alongside healthy coping strategies to diffuse panic once it starts.
February 18th, 2018 8:34am
Internal process, anxiety and panic attacks can occur when individuals are in their most relaxed state.
March 14th, 2018 4:17am
Sometimes they just happen and you don't know why. it could also be panic attack syndrome. the best thing to do is to go outside for a few minutes and take deep breaths. then once you decide to go back inside do things to distract yourself so, it won't happen again. such as watch tv, listen to music, paint, etc.
March 31st, 2018 7:20pm
There could be a lot of potential answers for that, but I find it's when people start thinking about what brings them anxiety and works themselves into a panic. They could come across something seemingly innocuous that triggers it. Something that reminds you of your anxieties. You don't necessarily need to be face to face with what panics you, to become panicked. When we have anxiety, we live in a constant state of alertness, one that doesn't respond to logic. Even if you tell yourself that there's nothing to be panicked about, your brain won't listen to you and remain in that alert state anyway, even if you aren't always consciously aware of it. So really anything could pose as a trigger for an attack.