Finding the root cause of an anxiety trigger – real-life example: grocery store

This video is a real-life example of what finding the root cause of a physical anxiety trigger looks like. Precisely speaking, the first step to eliminating an anxiety trigger is finding the reason(s)–which will be unique to you–why the trigger makes you anxious and this video shows what doing that looks like. This new-found awareness alone may dissolve the trigger. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to evaluate the reasons you uncovered and use that insight to determine a new default and non-anxiety-involving response to the trigger you’re eliminating. An example of what that looks like is further down on this page. Your current strategy for dealing with the trigger likely involves using anxiety as a tool to help you in some shape or form. For those curious about why we use anxiety as a strategy or tool I suggest you check out The Anxiety Paradox. This shift in strategy often requires a change in some of the beliefs and worldviews you currently hold. You may also have to change some of your default reactions and responses to people and things. Benefits: less anxiety, more inner strength, and clarity.

Summary of the session

The student experienced anxiety because they viewed their lack of desire to speak to their cashier–in a certain way–as a reason to be anxious. A breakdown of what the student has to do to eliminate that anxiety, which will prevent future scenarios like this from causing anxiety, is below.

Eliminating the trigger – How

To eliminate the trigger, the person will have to challenge and discard the belief that choosing to remain more quiet when interacting with the cashier means he’s being arrogant (thinks he’s better than the cashier). If the triggered person struggles to discard that belief, he will have to analyze why he believes that being quiet is a sign of arrogance/disrespect. Is this an idea from his original way of thinking and assessment of the world or is this an idea that he picked up from others? If he finds it’s an idea he picked up from others and wants to truly eliminate the anxiety, he will have to analyze why he chooses to live by an idea created by other human beings instead of honoring what he knows to be internally true. I argue that this reflection is critical because to eliminate the anxiety he felt, he must no longer see his desire to be more quiet or less talkative as a reason to be anxious. He sees it as a reason to be anxious because he views being reserved as a sign of disrespect or rudeness. The anxiety is, therefore, a signal to help him avoid doing something he thinks is rude or disrespectful. If, after reflection, he finds that being quiet doesn’t mean he’s being rude, he will be ok with being more reserved if the situation comes up again which will allow him to give up the anxiety. He’ll likely be more comfortable in himself when socializing too.

Note: It is, of course, possible that some people ignore others because they view themselves as fundamentally superior. For those of us in pursuit of internal peace, I argue that what’s important is that we aren’t emotionally disturbed when we observe or are on the receiving end of this kind of treatment. With this emotional clarity, we can make our next steps and take a goal-oriented action from a place of clarity and balance.

Takeaway + Bible reference (relatable to all):

Using the opinion of other human beings to define what is truth can be a source of some of our anxieties. Even the Bible provides insight into this. In 1 Samuel 16:7 the Bible tells us that man may reject or wrongly judge us based on appearances, but our creator assesses us on what’s inside. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.'”

For those that want to eliminate their own anxiety triggers or help others

This video demonstrates a simple, evidence-backed root-cause technique based on ancient philosophies and biblical principles for finding the root cause of and eliminating anxiety triggers. To apply this technique on yourself or others, I suggest you get the book Fight-or-Flight: Eliminate Anxiety Triggers w/ the Option Method. The book can be completed in less than a day. See the About Harrison page if you want to learn more about how Harrison has used this method to eliminate anxiety triggers. A now-deceased psychotherapist and former clergyman named Bruce Di Marsico taught the Option Method to mental health practitioners years ago. I had the privilege of learning the Option Method from one of Bruce’s original mentees and used the experience and insights I gained from successfully applying it on myself to create Fight-or-flight. Let me know at if you have any questions.

If you’d like a full transcript of this session, let me know, and I’ll send it to you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top