The first with dealing with emotional triggers is recognizing that you have been triggered. For me, this is the first and foremost part of dealing with emotional triggers. Sadly, there are no hard and fast rules on how to deal with emotional triggers. However, there are certain tips and pointers that can help reduce the aftermath of emotional triggers.
What are Emotional Triggers?
According to Wikipedia, emotional triggers are anything that might cause you to feel strongly emotional, such as wrath, fear, grief, or joy. They might be external, like a person, word, sound, or image, or internal, like a memory, concept, or conviction. Depending on how you perceive and interpret emotional triggers, they might be beneficial or negative. Hearing your favorite music, for example, might cause happiness, but seeing a photo of your ex can cause melancholy.
How do you recognize your triggers?
Triggers come in various forms, but they always have one thing in common: they are unexpected. A tense contact with a coworker or a quarrel with your partner might both be triggering events. It might be anything as simple as a shift in habit.
However, whatever the trigger is, it is critical to understand how to identify it.
Here are some ways to recognize your triggers:
1. Take note of how you feel.
Do you feel worried, overwhelmed, or have difficulty settling yourself? Pay attention to these symptoms as they appear, especially if they seem unexpected or unconnected to your current situation. If you’re feeling this way but don’t know why, you’ve probably been provoked.
2. You are bothered by something.
Is there something that is now bothering you? Your concern may not be out of the usual if it is a serious or high-stakes issue. But if it’s a regular occurrence that makes you nervous, there may be more to it than meets the eye.
3. Pay attention to yourself
We’ve all experienced those moments when we couldn’t stop talking about something. We believe we’ve forgotten about it, but when we talk about it, we get heated up all over again. If you find yourself revisiting a certain scenario, something about it may have provoked you.
4. Examine your emotions
Trigger responses are well-known for being explosive. After all, the term “hair trigger” became a famous metaphor for a reason. Pay attention if you notice an unusual reaction (or a series of them). You may be responding to an underlying stressor rather than the circumstance at hand.
5. Give yourself time
Sometimes, it may take a while for you to recognize the underlying cause of emotional triggers. Do not pressure yourself to know the root cause immediately. Be gentle and patient with yourself, and eventually, you will figure it out.
How to deal with emotional triggers
There is no such thing as a “cure” for triggers. All we can do is recognize when we’re sad, attempt to figure out why, and moderate our emotional response.
Here are 12 ways to deal with emotional triggers:
1. Write down your reaction
Every emotion is accompanied by a bodily experience. You probably feel uncomfortable in your stomach, chest, or neck when you’re unhappy. Once you know that sensation, it will be easy to identify it as a trigger. This awareness enables you to shift from “reaction mode” to self-care.
2. Take a breather
When you’re feeling provoked, it’s never a smart idea to reply right away. Take some time apart from the situation to digest your emotions. Once you’ve mastered detecting triggers, you may work on establishing coping techniques to deal with them.
Even if you are unable to remove yourself from the situation entirely, there are a few in-the-moment strategies that may be beneficial. Deep breathing may be done at any time and from any location. If you’re in a tense situation, consider rephrasing and restating what you’ve just heard to the other person. This provides you time to calm down and consider your response.
3. Recognize the emotions
It is critical to acknowledge your emotions. Allow yourself to feel what you are experiencing without criticizing yourself. Allow yourself to experience whatever emotions you are feeling without attempting to repress them.
Some people are prompted by a specific incident, whilst others are triggered by a specific sort of person or environment. If you’re not sure what your triggers are, keeping a notebook might help you find trends.
4. Look after yourself
Being triggered is an unpleasant and emotionally draining experience. Because this sort of stress may generate such powerful bodily reactions, it is vital to attend to your fundamental requirements. Hunger, thirst, and physical weariness can all induce or aggravate trauma responses.
It might be beneficial to have a set of go-to self-care activities on hand for when you need to relax. If you’re at ease, share them with a friend, family member, or coach so they can assist you in decompressing.
5. Express your emotions
Feelings are a part of everyday life. All of these emotions might set off your triggers, which is normal. Be kind to yourself. Do not make comparisons between your former and present lives. Your previous experience may have left you with open wounds that are still mending.
What occurred in the past remains in the past. Learn from your mistakes and deal with the present. Remind yourself of this frequently so that you may pick a better reaction to your trigger.
6. Be open-minded
Every person is at the mercy of their own triggers. Think twice if you believe the people around you are purposefully making you feel awful. They are also humans like you. They, too, maybe feel provoked without your knowledge.
Be open-minded in order to comprehend the actions of someone you are unfamiliar with. Don’t pass judgment and attempt to understand their point of view.
7. If you experience negative emotions, take positive actions
When a person feels negative and intense emotions, they frequently exhibit negative responses. When you’re lonely, you want to shut yourself up in your room and starve. Instead, practice demonstrating good acts.
Do not confine yourself. You should contact relatives or friends and spend time with them. Engage in things that will make you feel good.
8. Form positive memories out of positive experiences
It makes sense to invest in pleasant experiences if you want to have positive triggers. Spend time with individuals who can assist you in creating joyful memories.
Setting up the Christmas tree, which reminds you of your lovely childhood, is an example of happy memory, as is hearing your favorite song, which reminds you of your special someone or a special moment in your life.
9. Find the humor
Find the comedy in a triggering circumstance if at all possible. This is one of the quickest methods to alleviate tension.
10. You are not alone
Everyone experiences triggering situations/emotions. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. When we discover that individuals we trust and admire are impacted in the same way we are, triggers lose a lot of their potency.
11. Practice acceptance
Emotional triggers can be distressing and stressful but remember that they are one of the body’s ways of leading us toward our own healing and completeness. And every one of us has them. Similar triggers occur in everyone; they are simply a part of life.
12. Improve your communication skills
You’ve tried all of the suggestions above, yet you’re still in a triggering environment. It is now time to be vulnerable. Talk to the individual who caused you so that you can avoid a repetition of the scenario. Maintain your cool. You must communicate with yourself by identifying your feelings.
13. Work with a professional
Trauma reactions are complicated. If you find yourself being triggered on a regular basis — or if you feel like you can’t handle your triggers — you should talk to a counselor or mental health expert. Even if you believe you have your triggers under control, discussing them with a therapist or coach can help you fine-tune your coping skills.
Why is it difficult to Identify the cause of emotional triggers?
I think one of the things that makes emotional triggers somewhat difficult to deal with is how random and unexpected they can get.
I recently was triggered recently and marveled at how random it was. On a good Tuesday morning at work, going about my usual activities, I was directed by my supervisor to dismiss a young man who was sitting in the reception area when I got into the office building by 8 am. My supervisor also handed me the guy’s poorly written CV and certificate. Apparently, the guy in question came into the office in search of a job.
I perused the poorly written CV on my way to dismiss the guy and felt instantly triggered. I introduced myself to the guy and told him we would get back to him. Of course, we will never get back to him!
Throughout the day, I tried so hard to figure out why the poorly written CV triggered me so much. For the life of me, I couldn’t pinpoint it.
I have to terms with the fact that I may never find out why I was triggered by the poorly written CV. And that is the final step in dealing with emotional triggers. Accepting that you may never discover why it happened in the first instance.
Conclusion: How To Deal With Emotional Triggers
Our triggers have their roots in terrible experiences from our past. Our brains search for inputs that may suggest a threat in order to protect us from additional harm. That implies we can have disproportionate reactions to seemingly minor events. Thus, it is normal to have emotional triggers, but how you handle them is the most important part.