Ask the therapist:
Keeping track of triggers
By Dr. Deborah Serani, PsyD
I’m told it’s important to identify my “triggers.” How?
Triggers are emotional, physical and psychological experiences that weaken your sense of well- being. Sometimes called stressors, triggers are best defined as powerful events that set into motion powerful responses. For many people, a difficult event or threatening interaction will “trigger” a relapse of depressive symptoms such as over-eating, isolation or obsessive thinking.
Learning what external events, toxic interactions, and even negative self-statements leave you vulnerable will help you offset a downward emotional spiral.
First, learn how to recognize the who, what, whys and whens of your emotional life. Start by looking at the calendar. Note dates that are meaningful or stressful for you, such as the holiday season or the anniversary of a divorce or death. Maybe it’s anxiety about a yearly physical exam, like a mammogram, or an annual family reunion that last time left you feeling emotionally raw. Noting difficult periods of the year allows you to anticipate and plan for threats to your well-being.
Consider all the hats you wear in your life. What circumstances at work affect your mood and behavior? At home, do certain actions of those around you tend to upset you? Are you feeling supported or overwhelmed? What happens when you don’t get enough “me” time? …