The first step is recognizing the triggers that cause emotional or physical responses. If a situation prompts an uncomfortable or negative feeling, ask yourself if it is related to a past experience in your life. Then try to identify the emotion or feelings that you are experiencing as a result of the trigger. Do you get angry, anxious, put yourself down, dwell on past mistakes, or feel a sense of grief for something you have lost?
Once you learn to recognize your triggers, make a plan for what you will do if you encounter that trigger again. Your plan might include:
- Grounding activities
- Stopping negative thoughts
- Deep breathing exercises
- Writing in a journal
- Calling a friend
- Saying a prayer or meditating
If you know that a situation is going to cause you to feel or react negatively, then avoid it or walk away if possible. Don't continue to set yourself up for negative outcomes unnecessarily. Remember that you are in charge of your reactions; the triggers do not have to control you. Through trial and error, you can find ways to push past the effects of negative triggers on your life.