List of emotional triggers (+Understanding how to cope with them)

This article will give you a list of emotional triggers. It will also explain to you what they are, how a person can recognize them, and what are ways to cope when your triggers are activated.

List of emotional triggers

If you are wondering what are the matters that would constitute a list of emotional triggers, here they are.

  • Rejection
  • Betrayal
  • Unfair treatment
  • Questioned beliefs
  • Sensing they lost control
  • Feeling excluded
  • Criticism 
  • Feeling unwanted
  • Feeling uncomfortable
  • Feeling drained or too needed
  • Dealing with insecurities 
  • Losing their autonomy or independence
  • Dealing with authority
  • Dealing with the unknown
  • Feeling powerless
  • Feeling like you are not being heard
  • Being judged
  • Being disrespected
  • Being ignored
  • Feeling unsafe
  • Feeling ignored
  • Feeling unloved
  • Feeling trapped
  • Feeling manipulated
  • Feeling that others are taking advantage of you

What are emotional triggers?

People react in emotional ways to many events in their lives. It can be a meeting with a boss that makes them nervous or a gathering with friends that makes a person feel excited. 

Your response to a situation can be related to your frame of thought, such as personality traits, or by things that have happened in your life that caused you to feel how you feel, such as memories.

With that said, an emotional trigger can be anything that makes a person react emotionally. People who experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are people that usually experience emotional triggers related to their traumatic situation, which can cause them intense suffering.

There can be 3 types of emotional triggers. They are anxiety triggers, trauma triggers, and anger triggers. The first one is rooted in panic and stress, which can come from nowhere and make a person feel anxious and nervous.

The trauma triggers are the ones present in PTSD, people with trauma triggers can avoid situations that will expose them to trauma triggers, this is usually called avoidance behavior, which is a way to protect them in the short term, but doesn’t allow them to heal. The anger triggers cause people to experience irrational anger.

Being aware of what triggers you and how you can deal with it is the basis of good emotional health.

How can I identify my emotional triggers?

Every person has emotional triggers, and even though they are different for everyone, knowing how to identify them is extremely important. They can be related to memory, uncomfortable topics or events, or even related to your behavior.

When a person gets triggered their body will respond to it, and it can show physical symptoms that are common in anxiety, such as increased heartbeat, sweat, dizziness, and upset stomach. So paying attention to how you feel can be a great way to identify your triggers.

If a person experiences those sensations, it might be a good idea to step back instead of just going through the pain. Try to understand why you are having this reaction and what had you just done or went through that could have caused it.

A great way to understand what can be causing your triggers is through an emotions journal, in which you can write about your feelings daily and identify what are the situations that caused those triggers in you.

Try to understand that this situation that triggered you is related to your life story, and when we’re the first experiences you had with those feelings. Sometimes it might not be a quick answer, it will take a lot of questioning yourself, and therapy can be a good place for that, but with time and effort, a person can understand what is giving them emotional triggers.

Although all this questioning is extremely important, it is also relevant to think about what can be done on the day-to-day when dealing with emotional triggers so they don’t bring even more issues to your life. So let’s discuss ways one can cope with their emotional triggers.

How can I cope with my emotional triggers?

Although people might not understand why people wouldn’t just avoid the situation that causes them to have a trigger, it is extremely important to realize that even if the person avoids one situation, the emotional trigger can come in another situation.

For example, if a person has an emotional trigger related to rejection, even if they avoid having any romantic relationships as a way to not go through it, it might be that a work situation, such as not getting a promotion, activates those rejection triggers. 

So what can be done, while treating the root of your emotional triggers, is accepting them. Although you sometimes just want to ignore it, understand that recognizing there is something to be treated is the first. Own up to your feelings and realize that this is a way of taking back control of your life.

If it is a situation you don’t need to be inside of, take some time to breathe and regroup. It can be through breathing exercises, but give yourself space to soothe yourself, and understand that taking a break is different from avoiding the situation.

Another thing that will help deal with your triggers is communicating with people around you. This will help people to know better how to act around you so as not to cause too much pain. And if a person’s action causes an emotional trigger on you, try to say as it happened so the person can understand what caused it.

Keep a regular practice of mindfulness, this will help you be more observant of your feelings and the impact they have on you. This is also something that will help you process and regulate your emotions.

And if it ever gets to a point that you identify certain relationships in your life that triggers a negative emotional response, try to understand if this is a relationship you still want to keep or if it might be something you are better off of.

Sometimes it might seem impossible, but with time and enough self-knowledge, a person can get rid of their triggers and the horrible reactions that come with them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are emotional triggers?

What are physical triggers?

A person can experience triggers in multiple ways, it can be a physical trigger, which can be related to the physical touch. In this case, let’s say a person experienced a situation of abuse, so if someone similarly touches them, it is something that can cause an emotional trigger in them.

There is also a sight trigger, meaning that the sight of something may cause a reaction in them. It can be seeing an abuser or an object that was used to abuse. A person might experience sounds that trigger them as well, so listening to noises, music, or people in pain or anger can trigger the person.

Smells can also cause people to experience negative feelings. If they went through a traumatic situation and they feel the smell of something that reminds them of that, it can cause a great impact on the person, the same goes for tasting something related to a former negative experience.

What are ways I can reduce anxiety?

There are some ways a person can reduce their anxiety. The first thing one should try to do is to focus on what is going on at the moment. Anxiety is pushing you to constantly worry and think about the future, so trying to keep your mind on what is happening right now would help a lot.

If you experience intense periods of anxiety, or even panic attacks, try to remind yourself that this is temporary, that they don’t go on forever. And through that, keep breathing. It might also help to have a routine of breathing exercises or meditation, to help you focus on the right now, and your breathing, instead of the anxious thoughts.

But if they still come, try to fact-check them, bring the fears to reality, and try to see how they have mostly imagined fears that are hard to come to reality. And try to do something. 

It can watch a video, talk to a friend, or exercise, but try to do something to break that line of thought, that can help you reduce the intensity of your anxiety symptoms.

What can be anxiety triggers?

There are a few things that can contribute to a person developing anxiety triggers, they might not all be related to a previous suffering experience, some are based on lifestyle choices, for example, caffeine. If a person has too much caffeine it can be that they get more anxious.

Not taking proper care of yourself and your environment can also be something that causes a person to get anxiety triggers. Having a cluttered home or many tasks to do can cause a person to keep worrying constantly, which can also impact how well they sleep. 

And not sleeping properly is a great anxiety trigger since the person that doesn’t sleep well tends to have a slower mental function. Going through stressful situations, sometimes financial problems can cause a person to feel anxious. It can cause them to constantly think about the future, the same way that going through a conflict situation does.

Can a situation that brings me an emotional trigger destroy my life?

It might be hard for an emotional trigger to destroy your life, but if a person knows that a certain situation causes them emotional triggers and doesn’t deal with it, it might be that over time it impacts the person’s life in many negative forms. 

A person must work on identifying what is causing the triggers, and the root of the issue, so they can handle those matters and not keep them in their life. Although it might take a while, it might be better to know that you are working for this than just avoiding it until you go through the next uncomfortable and hurtful situation.

Do people heal from the experiences that cause them to have emotional triggers?

Yes, people can heal from the experiences that caused them to have emotional triggers. As said many times, it’s something that might take some time and a lot of self-discovery, but going through that can give the person the means to deal with what is hurting them.

It gives them back a sense of control in their life, a chance to fight back against what has caused so much suffering, and at some point find some release. So let this be a great encouragement if you are experiencing emotional triggers, to know that there is another way to experience your life that won’t hurt as much.


This article explained what are emotional triggers, and what can happen if they are activated. It also clarified that each person might have a different trigger for different emotions, and how people can cope with the effects of being triggered.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.