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Remember the time your Aunty made a throw away comment that struck a cord and ruined your day? We have all been there. Whether dealing with trauma or not, we all have emotional triggers that can sometimes lead us to react in a way that in hindsight we may regret. Judgement clouded by strong emotion, like fear, anger or sadness rarely leads to good judgment and while some of us may have the power to reign it in and control our reaction, others may need a little help in doing this.
Understanding your emotional triggers
Psychologists are trained to help people identify emotional triggers and the underlying factors that lead to certain feelings and consequential actions. The provoking triggers can come in all sorts of sneaky forms, not just spoken words; you can be triggered by certain environments, smells, or situations. Exploring your emotional triggers, especially when your reactions are impulsive or explosive, can lead to a happier, healthier you.
Mindfulness-based therapy is one commonly used strategy to help people be more present and make considered decisions in response to triggers. This involves paying attention to your body and how it is reacting in the present; noticing your breathing, your pulse and how your muscles respond to the trigger. Writing down your physical responses and feelings at the time of your trigger, can be another good way to record and reflect on these feelings as to better control them in future. In reflection you may become aware of any extreme or polarised views that have arisen and also notice that with time these feelings will diffuse.
Understanding that emotions are contagious
Strong emotions can be contagious and ‘infect’ those around us so it’s important where possible to surround ourselves with positive, like-minded people. Negativity breeds negativity and anxiety breeds panic, both are unhelpful and can affect our behaviour and actions. The current pandemic is testament to this theory and you may have noticed how your mood, or opinions can influence others. This is particularly pertinent for parent as children and teenagers look for reassurance in these uncertain times. When you are calm, and stress is at bay, we generally make wiser more considered decisions. This goes for children and teenagers as well.
Kathryn Smith, Clinical Psychologist says; “Feeling happy or sad heavily influences our thoughts and this can impact judgement and behaviour. Of course, for some of us, emotions are easier to regulate than others and this is okay.”
“Identifying your emotional triggers and understanding the underlying cause, can help you gauge why it provokes a strong reaction in you.”
“Being aware of environmental triggers like work stress or being toobusy as well as physical triggers like not getting enough sleep and poor diet is helpful.”
If you have emotional concerns that you would like to address, our team of Psychologists are here to help with face to face or telehealth appointments available. Peruse our website to read more about our team to find a Psychologist who will best suit your personal needs.