How do I identify a trigger?
Last Updated: 01/07/2021 at 5:18am
Jennifer Geib, LCSWR
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
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Top Rated Answers
When I look for a trigger, I look for what immediately happened right before the event such as the anxiety, the flashback, the angry feeling, etc. Triggers can be experienced with all the senses - smell, thought, touch, hearing, as well as places, people, and things. In the past I've kept a log to identify my triggers by writing down what I felt, what I thought, my reaction and what happened right before that. .
A trigger could really be anything that reminds you of something that might have hurt you or still hurts you.
A trigger is an action, word, sound etc. that can bring about feelings of anxiety, depression and other negative feeling in a person by "triggering" certain memories. If you ever come across a saying, story or action that makes you feel negative then this could possibly be a trigger for you that you need to be aware of and look out for.
How do I identify a trigger? We suffer from emotional triggers for three main reasons: Opposing beliefs and values– When we are strongly identified with a certain belief, we may find it hard to be tolerant of other opposing beliefs. For example, there’s a reason why religion is such a triggering topic for so many people: beliefs give us a sense of safety and comfort, and when they are challenged, we feel (from an emotional and psychological standpoint) like our lives are being put in danger. Values stem from beliefs and involve what we hold as important in life. When another person disagrees or challenges our values, we get triggered because they are calling into question the truth and legitimacy of what we hold dear. Trauma – Getting “triggered” is a term that traces back to the experiences of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experienced by soldiers coming back from the war. When we are triggered due to past traumatic experiences, our reaction is often extreme fear and panic (or in some cases, anger). We get triggered when we see, hear, taste, touch, or smell something that reminds us of the previous traumatic circumstance. For example, a rape victim might be triggered when she sees men with Mustache because her abuser also had a mustache. A man who was assaulted by his alcoholic mother as a child might be triggered whenever he smells alcohol. An adult who never fit in as a child may feel triggered when seeing groups of people have fun. Ego preservation – The ego is the sense of self or “I” we carry around. This artificial identity that we carry is composed of thoughts, memories, cultural values, assumptions, and belief structures that we have developed in order to fit into society (read more about the ego). We all have an ego and its primary purpose is to protect us by developing elaborate “self-protection” mechanisms in the form of beliefs, ideals, desires, habits, and addictions (in order to prevent us from facing what we fear the most: the death of ego or self). When our egos are challenged or hurt by others, we are prone to becoming triggered – immediately. We will argue, insult, belittle, defame, backstab, sabotage, assault, and even murder (in extreme circumstances) people who pose a threat to our ego’s survival. The only way to be liberated from our egos, to experience permanent ego death, is to do some deep inner work, or soul searching. #experienced also I can identify triggers by realizing that changes occur right away, for example a change in voice, a change in body shaking, facial expression, or I can even faint or cry when around an object, person, or atmosphere, which is the triggers. Thankyou.
It can be useful to start to keep what can be referred to as a trigger diary, what were you doing prior to being triggered, what were you feeling prior to being triggered, what was was the trigger if you can identify what the trigger was (some people cant), what were you experiencing during the trigger |(all senses), how did you manage the trigger, what thoughts did you have about yourself during and after the trigger
A trigger is a event, an observation, or a sensation (e.g., smell, taste, touch) that reminds you of a negative experience or some traumatic experience in your past. I know I have been triggered when I feel similar to what I felt during the trauma. I agree with @KristenHR that keeping a log helps over the long run.
I suspect I got triggered by something when I experience a sudden strong emotional wave (sadness, irritation or fear). Analyzing the situation and acknowledging what might associate to a past experience helps a little bit to accept the reaction going through
Triggers differ from person to person, and it can be hard to figure out which subject triggers us! What I've done in the past is kept a log for when something came up that made me feel strongly sad or angry, and I have identified triggers that way. In the future, I can steer conversations in a more positive direction, or get out of the conversation before I go too far, emotionally!
Think back to times you have flashbacks, what emotions started it. What happened right before? Those are your triggers. For example, if your family is arguing, and it causes a flashback, think back and pinpoint if it was the volume, the anger, or even a specific word or sound.
A trigger is more than just being uncomfortable and simply remembering something you've experienced. Memories come up all the time. It's when the topic or thing gives you anxiety, often to the point of panic, and gives you true flash backs of what has happened in the past. A true flash back feels as real or almost as real as being in the situation again, even though you are not.
If you start to feel that something someone has said has effected you that can be a trigger. It does not have to be something massive, anything can trigger anyone so we have to watch what we say to others!
From my experience, some triggers are hard to identify. You can look for telltale signs of discomfort, such as fidgeting, looking at the floor, not making eye contact, twitching, etc. Some other signs are uncalled for anger or sadness, defensive postures, such as crossing the arms, and abruptly ending the conversation, or changing the subject. Facial expressions can also be a give away. I have PTSD myself, and I am still finding triggers, and sometimes I have no reaction until later when I'm having a panic attack and I don't know why. I have to think back on my day and try to find what triggered it. Hope this helps!
Keep a diary of your life and logs then mood chart and see if there is link between certain events and mood, thoughts and feelings. Try to be in touch with your feelings and your thoughts/reactions to things. Triggers are things that make it harder to he rational or ground yourself so if you feel less grounded and less rational there may be a trigger at play. Sometimes working out your trauma will help you recognise what your triggers are. A good idea is to work out coping mechanisms for self care and grounding techniques to help you in life
Determine what action or event causes the behavior or feeling that you are trying to change. The action/event is the trigger.
If there's any scenario when you feel really bad or scared, try to take note of what the trigger could be and check again if you get triggered in another scenario :)
If Every time you do something, it gives you a negative response that is a trigger. For example, If every time I went to Friendly's, and that was the spot where I was broken up with and each time I would become emotional crying, hard breathing then that would be a trigger. Its a chain reaction that happens every time you are put in that situation. Another example would be a soldier coming back from war, when he or she hears fireworks or emergency sirens and they start to have battle ground flash back the loud noises would be a trigger because ever time they hear it they flash back to the time they were still in war.
When you get mad, think about what it is. What exactly got you mad? If you can figure out what it is then find things to put in place to help, such as music
Triggers can be anything ranging from a sound, a smell or a person. Triggers will "trigger" a physical or emotional response anywhere from crying to violence.
sometimes it's difficult to get your feelings out but never give up.
A trigger is something that is upsetting you and makes you feel upset. It is important to know your triggers and how to handle them when they arise.
experienced the same traumatic events again.
I generally don't seek them intentionally. When they occur, they can be quite startling and sometimes overwhelming. It takes a lot of self-compassion to accept my initial reaction. I try to carefully listen to my body/emotions for better understanding, so that once it has passed I can be better prepared in the future. I have learned that the only thing I can work on is training my senses in how I respond to them.
Well a trigger is something that can trigger a feeling or emotion and even a memory. To identify your trigger its as simple as noting down what makes you feel angry, upset etc. For example i am triggered by bullying, so when i see a form of bullying i get angry. I understand that some triggers are hard to block out but knowing them can help tackle them
A trigger to me, is something that incites a feeling in me that I don't want or need in the moment. It's something that could be just a "1" on a trigger scale, where 10 is the worst, but it's a trigger because it will be something that makes me feel mildly uncomfortable/sad.
Sometimes it helps to journal. It does not have to be deep and long. Just a sentence or two explaining the situation and your reactions and feelings. Triggers come out in patterns and if you can get yourself some data to look at objectively you may see it. You can also ask others. People watch you and know you better than you think. So they may have known it already and just assumed you did too!
Triggers can be identified as events that send your emotions through the charts. It can be difficult to determine exactly what it is that sets someone off. It can be helpful to make a list of what makes you angry or emotional. Once those factors have been identified, can you then learn to avoid them and hopefully keep those feelings at bay.
Triggers can be specifically mentioned or alluded to in conversation, though it's important not to assume a trigger eg. abuse is ongoing due to personal bias. Purely active listening can often help to draw out more information.
When you're calmer after the attack, write down a series of questions to better understand your thoughts & organize your mind. Then go through it. You'll feel a whole lot better & more in control & you'll identify triggers or what bothered you at that point of time or maybe a reminder of something from years ago.
Trigger is something that brings back emotions or thoughts from your past. Example: I am a recovering addict. My trigger would be people that use or seeing paraphernalia from drugs. A trigger can also be a word that brings back emotions or memories of something that hurt you in the past
triggers are things that set off an intense negative reaction and cause distress when mentioned/experianced
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