Overcoming Emotional Triggers: Techniques for Regulating Your Response

Have you watched the recent Disney/Pixar film, “Inside Out?” A person’s feelings can rule their every action, every moment of every day, as depicted in this film. You feel a wide range of feelings daily. You might experience elation, melancholy, elation, irritation, or disillusionment. Everything you feel is linked to the experiences you’re having at the moment. Emotional causes can be anything from a minor inconvenience to a major life change. The news on TV or the constant din outside your window could be enough to set you off.

Your present frame of thought determines how you respond to these stimuli. Anything that can quickly and uncontrollably bring on negative emotions is considered a trigger. One instance of a trigger is being shaken by shocking news. Disturbing feelings are the mental response to hearing the news.

In Other Words, What Exactly is a “Trigger” for Your Emotions?

An emotional trigger is anything that causes a strong emotional response in you, regardless of your current state of mind. PTSD sufferers are more likely to experience emotional cues as a result of their condition. Instead of serving as a justification for negative behaviour, triggers shed light on its origins. These responses are the body’s way of protecting itself.

When you know what sets off your bad behavior, you can start to comprehend and forgive yourself. Responsibility also includes knowing what sets you off. You need to take responsibility for yourself and alter your habitual reactions.

How Do You Understand What Sets You Off?

Emotional causes are unique to each individual. Typically, these are unpleasant recollections or events that you would rather forget. The following are examples of situations that often result in strong feelings:

  • Betrayal
  • Getting rejected and neglected
  • Beliefs questioned
  • Negative or excessive need for oneself
  • Lack of confidence
  • Control and autonomy deteriorate
  • Rejection
  • Bad, unfair handling

These situations are challenging to foresee and can arise suddenly. You won’t be set off by all of these. How do you determine what causes you to react negatively? Here are the measures you can take to identify your triggers:

Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health

It’s crucial to keep your cues in the forefront of your mind. It’s important to keep track of when and where your triggers occur. Recognizing your triggers is the first stage in dealing with them. When your mind and body respond with strong feelings, you should pay attention. If you experience any of the following physiological symptoms of worry, you have likely been triggered:

  • Fluttering stomach
  • Uneasy tummy
  • Dizziness
  • Involuntary trembling
  • Feverishly cold hands

Take a Deep Breath and Reflect

Let’s say you anticipate being emotionally triggered in a certain scenario. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What just happened?” So, how do I feel? Do I feel furious or content?

Find Out What’s Triggering Your Strong Feelings

In addition to the preceding inquiries, you may wish to ask yourself, “Have I been in a comparable situation before? Was I similarly affected? Your triggers may have been formed by traumatic events in your formative years. Consider whether your current feelings could be a result of problems you had as a kid.

You may have been in a position where you wished to brag to your parents about something you were particularly proud of. They returned from work, exhausted. You’ve told them, but they haven’t responded as you’d anticipated. You worry that you don’t measure up. Your folks’ responses are the impetus here. You feel depressed every time you’re about to share something nice with the world, even though you know deep down that no one cares about you anyway. When you’re an adult and in this position, you can’t help but feel like a desperate child seeking their parents’ approval.

Be Inquisitive

Sometimes the triggers aren’t obvious, or your responses might be all over the place. If this occurs, you’ll need to do some serious soul-searching. It’s futile to try to resist your impulses. The simple answer is no. Consider the underlying causes of your reactions instead.

Look for repeating responses in your behaviour. If you’re in a group where people frequently discuss their love lives, do you find yourself feeling envious or down? Is it because you can’t stand the thought of being by yourself? Try to query and interest yourself more.

Suggestions for Handling Emotional Crisis Situations

It’s not enough to simply be conscious of the situations that can set off your emotional triggers. Getting out of or avoiding them is difficult. Some set-offs can’t be avoided. They have no set time or place of occurrence. The unforeseen is a constant in our lives. There’s no need to disappear or flee the scene. Some strategies for dealing with stressors daily are outlined below.

Recognise and Accept Your Emotions

You can’t help but feel things as you go about your day. It’s natural for these emotions to set off your triggers. To yourself, be kind. Do not judge your current by your past. You may have scars from your history that are only now beginning to heal. You can’t change what occurred in the past. Reflect on your experiences and move forward. Keep this in mind at all times to help you make smarter decisions about how to react when your trigger event occurs.

You Need Your Room

When the stressor becomes too much to bear, it’s best to flee. If you feel like you are about to explode with negative emotions, it is acceptable to ask for a pause. Take a deep inhalation and unwind if you have some time to yourself. Your objective should be to improve your mood and formulate a more effective strategy for dealing with your trigger. You’re providing yourself a break so you can relax and regroup. As soon as you feel in charge again, confront the trigger without losing your composure.

Keep an Open Mind

Everyone is vulnerable to their own set of precipitating events. Do not assume that those around you intend to bring you down. They are just as human as you are. They, too, might experience a trigger reaction.  Keep an open thought so you can comprehend a stranger’s actions. Don’t pass quick judgment; instead, attempt to see things from their vantage point.

Take Constructive Action When Experiencing Negative Feelings

When a person is feeling down, they usually react in a downbeat manner. When you’re feeling lonely, the first thing you want to do is shut yourself up in your room and hunger. Instead, work on actively demonstrating good traits. Don’t confine yourself. You need to connect with close pals and family members. Take part in things that make you happy.

Remember the Good Times by Making New Ones

If you want to cultivate favourable memories, it makes sense to put money into pleasant activities. Make memories with the individuals who mean the most to you. A few examples of pleasant memories include putting up the Christmas tree and remembering your wonderful childhood or listening to your favourite music and thinking of that special someone.

Learn to Talk to People

You’ve tried everything that was suggested, but you’re still in a scenario that sets off your triggers. This is the moment for disclosure. If you want to prevent a recurrence of the situation, it’s best to talk to the individual who set you off.

Maintain your composure. Expressing your emotions to yourself is a form of communication. An illustration of this would be slamming the door in your partner’s face because they haven’t appreciated all the work you’ve put into the partnership. The following are options:

Identifying Your Emotions is Essential

Share with your companion, “I’m really angry and frustrated right now. In this relationship, I don’t feel like you’re putting in as much work as I am. This irritates me. I adore you too much to feel this way toward you. What are our options here? Keep in mind that not everyone is as forthright with their feelings and thoughts as you are. You can’t make someone talk to you or see things from your perspective. The ability to effectively connect your ideas is what matters. The other individual will have some time alone to process what has happened to them.

Emotional Triggers and How to Manage Them

The aforementioned guidelines are temporary methods for coping with emotional stimuli. Since triggers can occur at any moment and in any place, you need more than temporary fixes. Stitches or long-term coping mechanisms are required. Here are some long-term methods that can help you recover:

Raise Your Awareness

Simply put, mindfulness means being fully aware. Focus on the here and now and pay careful attention to how you feel. Prepare your mind with cerebral exercises. Understanding your triggers and developing effective coping mechanisms depends on your level of self-awareness and emotional stability. The ability to self-regulate is crucial from early development into maturity. If you find that yoga and meditation on an everyday basis are beneficial, then do so.

Know How to Identify a Harmful Intimate Partnership

Some will never stop trying to aggravate you. They won’t cease if asked nicely, so don’t bother. When communication breaks down and feelings aren’t shared, the partnership becomes toxic.

Keep a Mood Diary

For the average individual, writing is a time-consuming chore. However, keeping a diary can be extremely helpful in terms of both therapy and identifying triggers. By committing these thoughts to paper, you will have a road map for making good changes and avoiding setbacks.

Seek Outside Assistance

Emotional self-regulation is a difficult skill to master. To prepare them for the challenges of maturity, young children begin learning how to self-regulate at an early age. Triggers are often so deeply embedded in a person’s behaviour that the person does not even realise they are a trigger. Seek expert help if you’re struggling to identify your triggers. Exploring your triggers in therapy is a secure and judgment-free experience. You’ll have better control over your feelings. Counselling can help you along the road to recovery by providing you with encouragement and direction.