Three Ways to Identify Emotional Triggers

Emotional triggers are events or situations that cause us to feel intense emotions, such as anger or sadness. We all have different emotional triggers based on our personalities and past experiences. keep reading to find out the three ways to identify emotional triggers.

Three Ways to Identify Emotional Triggers

Because mental health triggers depend on each person’s experience, the list of things that lead people to get triggered might go on indefinitely.

Because of this, figuring out emotional triggers may be quite difficult. You can recognise your emotional triggers and figure out how to control them, though, with a little knowledge, practice, and assistance.


What are Emotional Triggers

Emotional triggers are things that cause bad or damaging emotions. They could be memories, objects, or the types of people you find yourself around. This switch in emotion can occur suddenly, and it typically feels more severe than the trigger would suggest. They are also called mental triggers or psychological triggers.

Speaking in front of a large crowd might be an emotional trigger for some people, they might begin to experience some negative symptoms when asked to speak.

Examples of such symptoms are :

  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness

A person may have different types of triggers depending on the symptoms they feel. The triggers are:

Anxiety Triggers: the root cause of these triggers is panic and stress. They are made up of anxiety that no one is able to trace. In some situations, anxiety triggers often become anxiety disorders.

Trauma Triggers: This trigger is often caused by post-traumatic stress disorder.  This trigger causes a person to avoid cases that may trigger them, it’s a coping mechanism called avoidance behaviour that works in short term but gives no room for healing in the long run.

Anger Triggers: for some people, this type of anger is uncontrollable, they get angry about something or a situation. Oftentimes, it takes a long time to curtail this type of trigger.

Let’s explore how to recognise emotional triggers now that we have a better understanding of what a mental health trigger is.



Identifying Psychological Triggers

Getting to know and identify these triggers takes a lot of time for some people. It’s not unnatural for you to have more than one trigger.

Some people have one, and others have multiple triggers. The most important thing is identifying them, and there are steps to do that.


Identify Your Responses

This is some self-evaluation. While identifying triggers can be hard, it is much better to take into account, what you feel at certain times. Like how you breathe, how do you feel when these triggers occur? Do you feel angry, hurt, jealous, etc.? When you are able to tell how you feel mentally and physically, you can identify the type of trigger.


Retrace Your Steps

Try to go back and retrace the events that brought you to that situation after you’ve taken stock of your feelings. What did you do before you became so angry and aggressive? Was there a specific time when you felt the bad feelings starting to come on?

If at all possible, try to reflect on the circumstances and consider what might have angered you. It’s acceptable if the triggering event doesn’t “make sense,” because triggers frequently have roots in traumatic experiences and past events.




Perhaps as you were making your way to work, you suddenly remembered an accident. Do your best to pinpoint what about the circumstance made you unhappy, because it could be anything.


Continue the Process

If you are unable to pinpoint a trigger right away, try again. Since these emotions are frequently complex, it’s not a failure if it takes several tries to identify a psychological trigger.

Many individuals experience discouragement, but you may recognise these emotions even if they don’t manifest immediately away.

You could benefit from receiving professional mental health therapy if you’ve gone through this procedure multiple times but are still having trouble identifying emotional triggers.

I have found that when dealing with emotional triggers, the most important thing is to find coping mechanisms that work for you. Everyone has different needs when it comes to dealing with their emotions, so what works for me might not be helpful for someone else. That being said, here are some general tips that have helped me over the years:


Take deep breaths– When I feel myself getting overwhelmed by emotions or thoughts, one of the first things I do is take a few deep breaths. This helps calm my body down so I don’t react impulsively or do something I’ll regret later.

Talk it out Sometimes sharing your feelings with someone else who understands what you’re going through can make all the difference in how you feel overall. Whether it’s your spouse or best friend or even a professional therapist, having an outlet where you can just let it all out without fear of judgement goes a long way toward helping deal with those difficult emotions!

Listen to music– listening to music is one of my favourite ways to deal with emotional triggers because it provides both an escape from reality and a sense of peace at the same time! It allows me to put everything else aside and focus on something other than what’s causing me distress at that moment in time.

Comments (1)

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    April 26, 2023 at 3:19 pm

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