Life is fraught with challenges, and a big part of dealing with them involves understanding the negative emotional triggers as well as learning how to deal with them. An emotional trigger is simply something or some event that causes you to experience emotional disturbance, such as fear, envy, anger, frustration, self-doubt, and so on.
In this article, we take a look at some study-proven methods of coping with common emotional triggers that accompany events like trauma, disagreements, and protecting your ego.
What Are Negative Emotional Triggers?
Gaining awareness of triggers is the first step to handling them effectively. It’s vital to learn to understand your negative emotional triggers because if you’re not aware of them (let alone how to cope with them), your life will be a lot more turbulent than it has to be. For instance, an unidentified trigger in a relationship can lead to arguments that result in unnecessary suffering for everyone involved.
You need to identify your triggers upfront and have a plan in place for dealing with them so you can become emotionally stable and start responding rather than reacting to situations that come up in your daily life.
When you react, you allow the emotions inside of you to guide you. Because of this, you’re more likely to yell, shut down, send nasty texts, etc. On the other hand, if you can wait until you’ve properly assessed the situation before taking any action – that’s responding.
By becoming conscious of your reactions, you’re less likely to become defensive or to deny them. In the future, you’ll be able to successfully cope with triggers that provoke certain intense reactions from you, thereby lessening your risk of sabotaging your relationships by issuing ultimatums, withdrawing, threatening to leave, and so on.
Listed below are a few effective means of dealing with negative emotional triggers that you can use when things start to go awry.
Steps to Coping With Negative Emotional Triggers
Step #1: Identify Emotional Triggers
Some examples of evidence of triggers include:
This can be in response to things like being asked to do things you don’t want to or having somebody else control your time. Situations may differ, but the triggers generally stay the same. It’s vital that you learn how to identify any of your emotional triggers so you can start dealing with them the right way
Step #2: Spot External Stimuli
Are your triggers social and situational? Are there specific situations where you behave in undesirable ways?
External stimuli can be in any form. This can be specific situations, people, or events. Become aware of what stimuli make you uncomfortable. These factors are worth noting so you can either remove yourself from the situation or begin adapting to certain situations so the triggers are less likely to occur.
Step #3: Identify Internal Causes
What are your thoughts and feelings at the time you experience an emotional trigger? What’s going on in your mind about the people or situation?
The thoughts you’re thinking at the time have a great influence on your behavior. Become aware of negative thoughts that lead to negative behavior so you can begin to become aware of them and alter the way you respond to certain situations. Just like external stimuli, the state of your thoughts can influence your feelings and actions.
Step #4: Keep Practicing
After becoming more aware of yourself and life situations, coping can be easier said than done. It’s important to remember that you are in the process of building a new habit. New habits take time and consistency. Leverage small instances that trigger negative emotions. Utilize what you know about awareness of self, external stimuli, and your triggers. Keep trying in smaller situations. You would be surprised how much more aware you will be when faced with bigger challenges.