What are Emotional Triggers?

Have you ever been in situations wherein you would be engaging in a normal conversation with another person, then all of a sudden, you start shaking, getting dizzy, and hyperventilating? You may have gotten triggered, causing you to become hostile, angry, afraid, or resentful. When situations like this happen, you may think that you simply overreacted. But the truth is there could be something deeper that needs to be addressed.

Dealing with emotional triggers can be challenging, but you can overcome them with the proper advice and therapy. To learn more about them and how to handle them more effectively, continue reading this guide.

What Are Emotional Triggers?

Emotional triggers are words, situations, people, or opinions that bring out an intense and excessive emotion within you. These emotions can be fear, sadness, anger, or rage. Anything and anyone can possibly trigger you, from a viewpoint, a single word, a tone of voice, and a type of person.

How Can I Tell If I Am Emotionally Triggered?

You can experience emotional and physical changes every time you are being triggered. Look out for the following signs:

  • Chills
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness 
  • Feeling of detachment
  • Hot flushes
  • Trembling
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Nausea
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Intense emotions
    • Anger
    • Disgust
    • Fear
    • Hatred
    • Terror
    • Grief 
    • Self-protective behavior (Arguing, crying, insulting, hiding, or shouting)

How Do I Identify My Emotional Triggers?

  1. Pay attention to your physical reactions

Your physical reactions can make you aware of your emotional triggers. Notice any increased heart rate, hot or cold flushes, tensing of muscles, or any physical change that shows contraction or physical recoil. Note these reactions or list them down so you can learn more about your triggers.

  1. Let the thoughts flow and be mindful of them 

List down your thoughts about a particular person or situation. Look for extreme thoughts and just let them play out in your mind. Noticing all of these can help you become more self-aware about your emotional triggers.

  1. Discover who or what triggered your emotion

A certain object, smell, word, belief, viewpoint, or situation can trigger you. Be vigilant to perceiving things that set you off and record these in your journal. By listing them down, you can become aware of them in the future and determine how to deal with them well.

  1. Note your trigger prerequisites

Anything and anyone could set the stage for your emotional triggers. Take note of what usually happens when you feel these emotions. Some examples could be listening to your parents fighting, going to a certain uncomfortable place, or having a stressful day at work. Identifying these prerequisites can help you prevent yourself from getting triggered in the future.

What Should I Do Once I Have Been Triggered?

While you may proactively try to prevent yourself from getting triggered, there are times that you may have already had a knee-jerk response that can set off a whole spectrum of emotions within you, like fear or anger. When this happens, focus on your breath, remove yourself from the situation, and try to look for humor in what happened.


Being devoured by fear, anger, or other extreme negative emotions because of a specific situation or person can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, managing emotional triggers is possible. Remember and follow the important steps listed in this guide and continue to consciously explore your triggers until you learn how to prevent them from sabotaging your life.

 Meanwhile, you can always reach out to top-qualified professionals at Emote in the US if you need a shoulder to cry on or a helping hand. You are not alone. Get therapy online to deal with relationship issues, grief, or feelings of helplessness.