5 Step Guide on Handling Emotional Triggers

Many people choose to rationalize their behavior to justify their actions after experiencing an emotionally distressing situation. They often select the course of action that’s easier to do, which is to blame others instead of themselves. Sometimes they forget to take their own actions into account when dealing with these stressful conflicts in life.

 Dealing with emotional triggers

Emotional triggers are your involuntary responses to distressing situations. It can come from a wide variety of sources, from something as dull as misplacing your wallet to breaking up with a significant other. In this article, we will share a five-step guide to help you in dealing with your emotional triggers:

Step 1: Accept your reaction

It would be best if you accepted responsibility for your reaction, but you should also be responsible for what you choose to do next. Your reactions may be uncontrollable, but you have the power to learn better.

Step 2: Recognize your body’s response

Your bodies respond differently when you’re faced with an emotional trigger. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio describes the feeling of an emotional response to affect your blood flow, the tension in your muscles, and the ‘butterflies’ in your stomach as a feeling of an upcoming emotional response.

Step 3: Find the root of the emotion

Knowing how to deal with triggers is a matter of recognizing your emotions. The sooner that you’re able to recognize your body’s physical response, the better you can address it. Recognize why you’re feeling a certain way instead of bottling your emotions down. Then instead of seeing yourself as a victim, it is important to expand your perspective so that you can identify what your place is in the series of actions that lead to a trigger.

If the feeling is related to anger, fear, or sadness, you need to identify if you’re deprived of your needs, whether its protection, trust, or confidence. These needs are what hold emotional weight in your life, and if you feel threatened to lose any of these three, a part of you may be looking for a way to express negative emotions in the worst way possible.

 Step 4: Decide what you want to do and what you want to feel

The reaction of your emotional trigger can easily subside if you train yourself to manage your physical signs. However, the best way to deal with an emotional trigger is by addressing it instead of developing coping mechanisms to hide from it.

Ask yourself about the situation that you’re in and consider the consequences leading up to it. Sometimes, being honest to yourself is the best way to motivate you to make the right emotional decisions. You shouldn’t be afraid of your emotions, regardless of what people might think or say about them. By failing to recognize and find where your feelings are coming from, you won’t be able to move past their negative impact.

Step 5: Shift to your desired emotional state

Once deciding how you want to change your emotional state, you need to prepare yourself into another emotion that can best help you achieve your goal. Giving your mind the room to focus properly is an effective way to move from one emotional state to another.

Let your body release the tension in your breathing and from your muscles. Then, clear your mind of all thoughts and choose a keyword to represent what you want to feel. Allow yourself to embrace that new emotional state while remembering how you got there in the first place.


Learning how to deal with triggers will allow you to help yourself when experiencing mental stress.


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