How to Identify and Deal with Your Mental Health Triggers

October 3, 2021 Martha Lueck

If you experience intense mood swings and start behaving out of character, it might be easy to blame it on a mood disorder. For instance, if you have skipped classes several times, you might say that it was because of your anxiety. While that was probably a huge reason for it, there could be more specific reasons as to why your anxiety increased. The things that stimulate a negative change in your thoughts, behaviors, and actions can be loosely thought of as your triggers. Identifying your triggers so that you can deal with them is important for you to manage your mood disorder symptoms and increase your quality of life. To learn how to recognize and deal with your triggers, continue reading this post.

Ways to Identify and Handle Your Triggers

Talk to Your Therapist about Your Symptoms and Life Changes

By informing your therapist about changes in symptoms and circumstances, they can help you identify possible triggers. For instance, moving to a new house, starting a new job, and attending a new school can be stressful for anyone. These events will affect your thoughts, feelings, and (in some cases) your actions.

Sure, maybe stress doesn't seem like a big deal. Or maybe starting a new job and moving seem like temporary reasons for your anxiety to increase. But perhaps there's a deeper reason you are skipping classes. For instance, maybe you are afraid of being bullied at your new school. Or maybe you are afraid that your teachers will not like you. In any case, your therapist can help you figure out all the possible triggers that might contribute to your symptoms and actions. By doing so, you can learn how to deal with negative thoughts before you skip classes.

Track Your Mood Throughout the Day

After your therapist helps you identify possible reasons for mood and behavior changes, it is important to track your moods at different times throughout the day. Paying extra attention to your mood when you anticipate triggers will help you identify how strong your trigger is. For instance, if you often wake up late on certain days, are they on the busiest workdays? Are there specific times when you cancel plans with friends? Tracking your mood at different times of the day can help you find a pattern to note specific triggers.

Keep a Note of Possible Triggers with You

Having a note of possible triggers will help you to remind yourself that there are things to avoid, adapt to, or resolve. For instance, if seeing your ex makes you cry, your note will remind you not to talk to the person and avoid seeing them (if possible). If your coworker has been bullying you, your note will remind you to stay away from this person or professionally confront them. Triggers are very diverse. Some triggers can be avoided or resolved; other triggers recur frequently or linger for a long time. Having a record of your triggers can help you learn to manage them in the most effective ways possible.

Talk to Your Friends and Loved Ones

Sometimes your friends and loved ones know you more than you give them credit for. For instance, you might not realize that you constantly decline a friend's phone calls. You might not realize that you frequently roll your eyes at your least favorite teacher. There might be times when your friends and loved ones call you out on these things. When this happens, you have a chance to talk to them about your triggers. Getting honest feedback from people close to you can help you save friendships and prevent you from getting in trouble.

Those are just a few ways to identify and handle your triggers. While some of them are not always avoidable, you will be able to manage them with help from your support network. If you have any of your own insight on recognizing and dealing with triggers, please share in the comments.

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2021, October 3). How to Identify and Deal with Your Mental Health Triggers, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Author: Martha Lueck

Find Martha on Facebook and Medium.

Lizanne Corbit
October, 4 2021 at 2:31 pm

This is such a wonderfully helpful read. It can be just as important to be able to identify our triggers as it is to know how to handle them. Oftentimes, the first step is learning to recognize what they even are. From there, we can then learn how to look for warning signs, how to minimize experiences that might encourage them, and what to do if and when we are triggered so that we can feel more secure in our responses.

Leave a reply