Health & Fitness

What does being ‘triggered’ mean?

Trigger is a word that has become part of our vernacular expression. You hear it often on the social media, where people say they became triggered by specific incident or content. And you also see trigger warnings before content that may cause people to experience mental stress.

But what does being triggered exactly mean? Does it have a basis in psychology or is it one of the trendy things to say? Let’s find out!

What does being triggered mean?

If you are triggered, it means that you are having a reaction to an event, topic, news, or conversation that causes a surge of negative emotions in you.

In truest sense, a trigger reminds people of their own traumas, especially ones that are unresolved. It can then lead to severe mental anguish, at times even meriting the treatment from a Psychiatrist in Lahore.

Moreover, people who are more sensitive or face mental health issues have a harder time containing triggers, as they are more likely to react to and respond to such things. It could then also mean that their symptoms become worse as well.

What are some of the common triggers?

Triggers can be categorized into two groups, internal triggers, and external triggers.

Internal triggers

Internal triggers are composite of the issues that come from within you. They may be related to your emotional health, past experiences, bad memories, etc. Moreover, internal triggers can be caused due to range of stimuli.

Common examples of internal triggers include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Pain
  • Sadness

Common causes of internal triggers include:

  • Abuse
  • Assault
  • Loss
  • Conflict
  • And any traumatic event

External triggers

External triggers are all such things that are part of your external environment and cause you to become stressed. The stress then manifests in the form of physical and mental anguish, both.

External triggers are also based on one’s experiences, so can be subjective. Common external triggers include:

  • Specific times of the day, year, etc.
  • Seasons
  • Relationship changes and issues
  • Certain smells and scents
  • Entertainment content
  • Places
  • Events, etc.

What to do if you are feeling triggered?

Being triggered has a varying impact on people; those with more fragile health and greater issues naturally feel a greater impact. However, you can work on moderating your response to the triggers, as it is not always possible to avoid them. Some helpful ways to deal with your triggers include:

Breathing exercises

Your breathing has an intricate link with your mood. For example, your breathing becomes loud and shallow when you get angry. When you are stressed, you start breathing at a faster rate.

You can use this link to also then regulate your mood by controlling your breathing. Practicing deep breathing regularly, and especially when feeling triggered and stressed, is effective. It helps in reducing tension, and making you feel relaxed.


To let all your emotions out after you feel triggered, instead of bottling them up, practice free writing. You do free writing by timing yourself and writing without taking any pause. It then allows you to pen your thoughts without any filter or conscious thinking.

This release of raw emotions is very cathartic. Reading it then allows you to identify the issues that you are facing. Moreover, bottling emotions is rather dangerous, and letting them out safely on the paper helps then.

Ask for help from loved ones

Humans need social connections. You need your loved ones to hear you out, to lend you support, to allow you to vent and to offer you solutions. So, if you feel triggered, call up a loved one and let them be of help.

Get treatment

People facing mental health problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, are more likely to become triggered.

And when they do, it causes their symptoms to return, or increase. Hence, for them, managing their health becomes a great challenge then. In such cases, it is pertinent that you get treatment from a mental health expert like Dr. Shehla Alvi, as while you can shelter yourself some, you cannot always run away from your triggers.

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