How To Discover Your Emotional Triggers

Here is a list of the most common emotional triggers, meaning you react when you feel as though you are not getting or will not get one of these things that are very important to you.

  • Acceptance
  • Respect
  • Attention
  • Comfort
  • Freedom
  • Love
  • Safety
  • Fun
  • Order
  • Variety
  • Autonomy
  • Predictability
  • New Challenges
  • Peacefulness
  • Balance
  • To Be: liked, understood, needed, valued, in control, right, treated fairly

Some of these needs will be important to you. Others will hold no emotional charge for you.

When your brain perceives that someone has plans to take away your honor or what makes you special, your emotions are usually triggered. You react with anger or fear, then you quickly rationalize your behavior so it makes sense. You may lose trust in the person or situation. You may lose courage or react in a way that could hurt your relationships in the future. The key is to catch yourself reacting when your emotions are triggered. Then you can discover if the threat is real or not.

To start controlling your emotional triggers, choose 3 items for the list above that most often set off your emotions when you don’t get these needs met. Be honest with yourself. It is critical to note that needs are not bad. The reason you have these needs is that at some point in your life, the need served you. For example, your experiences may have taught you that success in life depends on maintaining control, establishing a safe environment and having people around you who appreciate your intelligence. However, the more you become attached to these needs, the more your brain will be on the lookout for circumstances that threaten your ability to have these needs met. Then your needs become emotional triggers.

As soon as you notice that you are emotionally reacting, you have to shift your emotional state in order to think through what your trigger might be. Therefore, practice the following technique to help you make the shift.

  • Relax- breathe and release the tension in your body.
  • Detach- clear your mind of all thoughts
  • Center- drop your awareness to the center of your body just below your navel. Feel yourself breathe
  • Focus- choose one keyword that represents how you want to feel or who you want to be in this moment​

Once you shift your emotional state, you are free to examine if someone is actually taking something away from you or not. You can then ask for what you need or let it go and move on. Keep breathing and thinking of your keyword and you will be able to control your emotional triggers.

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