NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, April 11, 2022

Coping With Emotional Triggers

Emotional triggers spark intense emotional reactions. They're usually associated with prior unresolved trauma. The emotional reaction might be fear, panic, anxiety, anger, sadness or any other unpleasant emotion (see my article: Reacting in the Present Based on Your Traumatic Past).

Coping With Emotional Triggers

The emotional trigger might be a memory, a song, something someone said to you, an event or any other experience (see my article: How Unresolved Childhood Trauma Gets Triggered in You as an Adult).

Regardless of the mood you're in at the time, a trigger can change your mood in an instant, so it's important to learn how to identify, cope and, eventually work towards overcoming triggers.

How Do You Identify Your Emotional Triggers?
Triggers are different for everyone, so each person has their own individual response to them.  Knowing how to identify your triggers can help you to cope.

Common Triggers include:
Listen to Your Body
Knowing about the mind-body connection can help you to deal with triggers (see my article: The Mind-Body Connection: Your Body Offers a Window into Your Unconscious Mind).  Physical reactions can include:
  • racing heart
  • panicky feeling
  • sweating
  • feeling shaky or dizzy
  • nausea
  • headache
  • jaw clinching
  • hands clinching
  • tingling feeling
  • fight/flight/freeze reactions
Take a Step Back
Emotional triggers happen in an instant, so once you realize you're triggered, it's important to take a step back before you react (see my article: Responding Instead of Reacting);
  • Get curious
  • Ask yourself what just happened to trigger you.
  • Ask yourself when in the past you felt this way.
  • Ask yourself if your reaction to the present situation is out of proportion to what's happening now.
  • Ask yourself how much of your reaction is related to the past?
Calm Yourself
Once you've taken a step back, make a conscious effort to calm yourself:
Getting Help in Therapy
If you find that you're getting emotionally triggered often, you could benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional who has expertise in helping clients to overcome emotional triggers related to unresolved trauma.

A skilled trauma therapist can help you to get to the problem so you no longer get triggered (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?).

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help so you can lead a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

As a trauma therapist, I have helped many clients to overcome their trauma.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.