Emotional triggers, also called mental health triggers or psychological triggers, are things (e.g. memories, objects, people) that spark intense negative emotions. This change in emotions can be abrupt, and in most cases it will feel more severe than what the trigger would logically call for.
Triggers can be people, places or things, as well as smells, words or colours. Emotional triggers are automatic responses to the way others express emotions, like anger or sadness. For example, you may not have a problem interacting with an angry person, but find it hard to deal with someone who’s crying.
Trigger words and phrases are those that cause a listener to feel strong emotions because of previous experiences. While the phrase is used in a number of different ways, we’re using it here as many people now do, to refer to words or phrases that trigger memories and emotions from traumatic events.
Generally, people with dementia become agitated due to three potential trigger categories: Medical, physiological and/or environmental.
We call a stimulus that impacts behavior a “trigger.” Triggers can be both positive and negative. An example of a positive trigger is smiling back at a smiling baby. However, it is the negative triggers that we need to become aware of that can cause us to “go reactive.”
There are 3 main reasons why we get triggered by certain words, people and situations: Opposing beliefs and values. … When our beliefs are challenged, we begin to feel like our life is put in danger. This is why often alternative beliefs become a trigger and evoke a strong emotional response from us.
Anything that resembles the abuse or things that occurred prior to or after the abuse (ie. certain physical touch, someone standing too close, petting an animal, the way someone approaches you).
Feelings of stress are normally triggered by things happening in your life which involve: being under lots of pressure. facing big changes. worrying about something. not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation.
An emotional trigger is something that causes distress. Emotional reactions to triggers can look like crying, unexplained anger, increased anxiety, feelings of panic, physical symptoms, and more.
Things like environmental triggers (heat, noise, crowds, etc.) or physical factors (illness, hunger, fatigue, side effects of medication, over-stimulation, etc.) may “set up” an episode of negative behavior.
You may feel strong emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, numbness, or feeling out of control. Being triggered may primarily show up in how you behave; you might isolate yourself from others, become argumentative, shut down emotionally, or become physically aggressive.
The key is to show that you’re listening, to respond appropriately, and to ask relevant questions that are triggers for the individual to express themselves fully. Encouraging gestures, nods, and appropriate and open body language will help the speaker to know that they are truly being listened to.
Shame is possibly the most difficult emotion we feel, and hard to manage. Sometimes we cover it up by pleasing others, or by trying to be perfect. Sometimes we pull back and spend more time alone. Sometimes we just feel numb.
With practice, the reaction to your emotional triggers could subside, but they may never go away. The best you can do is to quickly identify when an emotion is triggered and then choose what to say or do next.
Examples of negative triggers include: Being rejected by someone. Having one of our personal values violated. Being ignored by someone. Someone blaming, shaming, criticising or judging us.
Getting Help for Triggers
Trigger warnings are useful in some cases. But avoiding one’s triggers will not treat the underlying mental health concerns. If triggers interfere with someone’s daily life, the person may wish to see a therapist. In therapy, people can process the emotions concerning their pasts.
Examples of triggers in your work environment may include constantly changing priorities, missed deadlines, excuses, or “tyranny of the urgent” requests. These triggers may cause you to feel frustration, anger, and anxiety.
Academic research has proven that women are most attracted by the way eye contact with a man makes them “feel”. If you learn how to properly use body language and communication, you can trigger an emotional response.