Gaining an understanding of your past may be impacting your present through the lifeline task, and noticing how your anxiety is attempting to protect you is going to be really helpful  in this next step as we now dig a bit deeper and get clearer on your triggers and patterns.

As we know, although there are many common feelings experienced with anxiety, there is no one-size-fits all as anxiety is impacted by a myriad of factors, both internal and external which can cause a whole load of emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. We call these triggers and patterns.

Triggers can be specific situations, thoughts, emotions or physical feelings that cause a big emotional response that can be quite overwhelming at times. Patters are the recurring themes or sequences of thoughts, behaviours of emotions that are set in motion by the trigger.

Let’s now join a few more dots and to identify your triggers and patterns and connect them with your past experiences that you mapped out on the lifeline that you created in module 2. Your lifeline is the roadmap of significant life experiences, capturing significant moments, milestones, challenges and is can be a valuable tool for self-reflection and understanding.

  1. Setting the Scene

Find a quiet and comfortable place where you won’t be interrupted and have your lifeline to hand and your journal.

  1. Arrive

Start by taking a few deep breathes to arrive in the present moment, to centre yourself in the here-and-now and letting go of the busyness of the day.

  1. Revisit your Lifeline

Take out your lifeline and spend a few moments looking over it, reflecting on significant events, milestones and challenges marked on your lifeline.

  1. Making Connections

Using your lifeline as a guide, think about the events and experiences that stand out to you. Consider how these past events may have influenced your current experiences of anxiety.

  1. Exploring Triggers

Think about situations, thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations that tend to provoke feelings of anxiety for you. Write down these triggers in your journal, being as specific as possible.

  1. Reflecting on Patterns

Next, reflect on any recurring themes or sequences of behaviours, thoughts, or emotions that accompany your anxious experiences. Write down these patterns in your journal, noting any commonalities you observe.

  1. Making Sense of it All

Take a moment to review what you’ve written down. Notice any connections between your lifeline, anxiety triggers, and patterns. Consider how past experiences may have shaped your current responses to anxiety triggers. Make a note of these in your journal.

  1. Identifying Insights

Reflect on any insights or realisations that have emerged from this exercise. What have you learned about your anxiety triggers and patterns? Are there any patterns that you were previously unaware of? Write down any insights or reflections in your journal.

  1. Setting Intentions

Finally, think about how you can use this newfound awareness to manage your anxiety more effectively. Set intentions for how you can begin to address your triggers and patterns moving forward. Set yourself a goal for the forthcoming 48 hours or week, aligned with these insights about your tiggers and patterns. What one thing can you do to better manage your triggers? What help is available to support you with this?