How do I identify a trigger?

49 Answers
Last Updated: 08/16/2019 at 6:45pm
How do I identify a trigger?
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Erin Parks, PhD

Psychologist

With extensive training and experience in evidence based treatments, I use behavioral and cognitive techniques and a warm nonjudgmental approach to help people find joy.

Top Rated Answers
CreativeJill79
December 8th, 2017 8:07am
A trigger is something that feels reminiscent or similar to a painful memory or experience from your past. It can feel like something other people don't react to, but for you may cause an emotional response, like sadness, shame, or guilt.
ashtonStrawberry
January 24th, 2018 4:12pm
A trigger is going to cause some sort of negative reaction. To find it, look for the common factors that occur when you have an episode of negative emotions
Lovely6
February 2nd, 2018 5:51am
I identify triggers by being mindful of emotions that arise in particular situations. I manage my reactions by taking a step back when becoming involved in a triggering scenario.
Anonymous
February 10th, 2018 7:06am
Everyone has different triggers and even different reactions for different triggers. Usually they are repetitive themes in your life stories that your mind has connected with a negative emotion. It could be an action, a object, food or drink, a distinct smell, a particular fabric, sound like raise voice or song, could be a person, a place, a city or town or in a particular time. Common ones are raised voices, angry voices, raised hand. Though everyone has one or two that maybe seem to "strange" to those that do not have triggers, they are equally valid. Some triggers are complex and involve many components to actually trigger something. Example, maybe the cold is fine, but the cold and dark are not. Keep a record of you triggers as to not create undue stress on yourself. Remember every trigger is valid and it is okay to handle them by removing yourself from the situation.
CaringCat94
February 14th, 2018 3:34pm
A trigger is anything that stirs up memories or feelings to create an emotional response to something in the present. It can be anything from a word or behaviour to a smell or sound.
Anonymous
April 21st, 2018 3:57pm
If you are faced with a situation where you are being faced with something that brings on negative experiences/emotions, it is possible that this can be identified as a trigger
sillyseraph002
May 3rd, 2018 5:23pm
you can identify triggers as anything that is unduly upsetting to you. it can be a person, a place, a sound, a thing, a type of situation, a certain set of words, even. usually, triggers are specific, and usually set off a pretty serious wave of emotions and panic. if you feel like your triggers are just "everything", talk to your therapist. They can help you narrow it down, or possibly find that you have a depressive or panic disorder.
Vivian4
May 6th, 2018 6:03am
Trigger is moment of enormous emotional and physical response to situations what are perceived from outside as normal. Usually anger is the best how to see trigger =)
Anonymous
May 13th, 2018 4:58am
Identifying a trigger can be a morality conflict. Sometimes our triggers are environmental and sometimes they can be interpersonal. In my experience, Identifying my triggers starts with being fully capable of being honest with my self and keeping honest engagements in my daily life.
UntilThen
May 24th, 2018 10:20pm
A trigger is something which immediately causes significant distress, and usually requires that you take a few minutes to calm down. It's often is related to some sort of traumatic event. This can be anything from assault, to grief, to a move. The best way I've found to identify a trigger, is to reflect on why you got upset/scared after you have those intense negative emotions. If you notice that those intense emotions usually follow a stimulus that wouldn't upset the average person, that may be a trigger.
Rellen2013
June 24th, 2018 5:43pm
Triggers are anything of texture, sound, words, or objects that cues the mind to a trauma or an event in the past. It can be a long tedious process of figuring out what may be the trigger but the best thing to do is to journal and write down the surrounding events that occurred just before your reaction began to occur
Anonymous
July 12th, 2018 3:21am
When you begin feeling depressed see what happened right before you felt that way. What thought went through your head or what event occurred. Same with anxiety, etc.
Anonymous
August 22nd, 2018 5:43pm
Sometimes it can be very hard identifying what triggers you, but usually whatever it is causes a big reaction, whether it's you shutting down, having a meltdown or a panic attack (at least that's from my experience). Usually, for me at least, when I get triggered, depending on how bad it is, I shut down, become non-verbal, and start hyperventilating and having a panic attack. It's different for everyone, but usually whatever the event was right before this sort of thing happens could point you in the right direction as to what might have caused you to become triggered.
Oceanluver101
August 24th, 2018 5:02am
sometimes it can happen so many times you just know. maybe you feel not ok or not right, you feel your in the wrong place at the wrrong time.Someone rejecting you. Someone leaving you (or the threat that they will). Helplessness over painful situations. Someone discounting or ignoring you. Someone being unavailable to you. Someone giving you a disapproving look. Someone blaming or shaming you. Someone being judgmental or critical of you. Someone being too busy to make time for you. Someone not appearing to be happy to see you. Someone coming on to you sexually in a needy ut, I was unable or unconscious of how to get out of this pattern of behavior
Anonymous
October 10th, 2018 3:30am
Feel your body. Are you feeling anxious? Overwhelmed? Paranoid? Excited? An easy way to get into the body is to feel your breath. What's it doing? Is it moving fast or slow? Once you've identified that you are indeed triggered, try to figure out what's causing it? The man over there, the woman in the corner? Maybe it's just a general sort of fear. The best thing to counter this fear is to just be present. Start to look around the room. What do you notice? The shade of the sun, the way the wood makes patterns on your table, and just try your best to remember that you are here. You are right where you need to be. You are a human on this Earth and no one deserves to be here more or less than you.
Lewie2018
December 1st, 2018 6:19am
First you need to understand what a trigger is and the impact it has on an individual/a trigger is anything that causes a reaction in an individual/a trigger can be positive as well as negative/but for now we'll focus on the ones that cause a negative reaction or an episode/these being hair pulling/nail biting/cheek biting or any number of destructive behaviors/one way to identify a trigger is to keep a journal and keep a log of any episodes ans what event or incident occurred prior to the episode/so after a while a person gets to know what situations trigger these episodes and can avoid them in the future/Hopefully because it's only works if the individual keeps the journal/
socialsupportworker27
January 23rd, 2019 11:40am
One way to identify a trigger is by behavior. Did you react with negative behavior when something triggered you? Or did you react with positive behavior? Behaviors and emotions can let us know what we do and do not like about a situation or experience. It can also cause us to be risky and relapse to a prior habit or thought. Some people understand it as common sense not to engage in risky behaviors and some people learn from experiences in their past. Learning to manage emotions can help control triggers if you know how you are going to react in a certain situation. You are the expert of you and what you think your triggers would be.
DragonView2
April 28th, 2019 2:59am
When you face a trigger you may: Feel very upset or become emotionally and or physically numb. Your heart may speed up or slow down brusquely. You may react strongly using a lot words like "you always" and "you never" or "I always" and "I never". Which are probably not accurate. And these absolutes are used to state something negative. You may feel down for days after being triggered. You may freeze, feel an urge to flee or to fight/yell. Or feel helpless and try desperately and anxiously to de-escalate the situation even at a personal cost. You may feel anxious and sick in your body. You may feel depressed after exposure. You may be overwhelmed with negative thoughts after. You may have nightmares about the event, have difficulty falling or staying asleep. You may break down crying. You may react in ways that you do not remember. You may feel like avoiding certain places, people, things or situations that remind you anyhow of a traumatic event. Whatever elicits these reactions is probably a trigger.
MeganfromMaryland
August 16th, 2019 6:45pm
Well, it may take many situations to narrow down the trigger word or action, but you want to really stay intune with your emotions to figure out where you fluctuate when things are done. Paying attention to how you feel in many scenarios, good or bad, helps you identify what you enjoy and boosts you vs. what negatively effects you. Once you have a grasp on that "list" you can start testing the waters on each of the actions again, or words, and figure another list of intensity of emotion. Once you have intensity figured out too, you can be able to tackle any trigger, good or bad, and practice productivity in each emotion.