“Triggers” are situations, circumstances, even people that tend to evoke certain responses in us. These responses can be visible or they can be purely internal. A trigger can even change your mood. For this reason among others, identifying and examining your own triggers is crucial in gaining an understanding of what prompts you to behave in a particular way—especially if the behaviour is somehow negative or unhelpful.
Unfortunately the label “trigger” doesn’t hang over a particular person or circumstance. You must be mindful of your own emotional state from moment to moment to identify what prompts a mood change or a certain behavior on your part. If, as you reflect on an event, you are able to determine when your behaviour or mood changed, you’re on the right track!
Pause to reflect on your surroundings at the moment your mood changed.
- Where were you and who was there?
- Was something said that was part of the reason your mood changed?
Some triggers are active only during a very specific set of circumstances.
- What were your reactions?
Triggers result in changes to our mood and behaviour. They can be very obvious or quite subtle. Over time, being aware of your circumstances and the reactions that particular events provoke in you will help you identify those triggers.
Once you identify a trigger, what then? Continued awareness will help you lessen the effects of the trigger; the more you learn about the reasons your triggers affect you so deeply will allow you to reduce, then eliminate the power these triggers have over you.
When you’re reacting to a trigger, you’re not really in control. The way to take control back is through awareness and willingness to work on old, deeply conditioned responses and patterns of responses that are no longer helpful!