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We all encounter stressful situations. It is impossible to walk through life without any stress. How we respond to that stress is our topic to discuss today. We don’t have to continue choosing the same response to stress that we currently experience. We can learn new ways and then try them when a stressful circumstance occurs. Experiencing circumstances that triggers you into high stress response can be helped. Did you know that there many coping mechanisms that can help us when we are faced head on with stress? Want to learn more? Then let’s talk about it.

Why Do I Respond This Way?

As if us being complex human bodies are not enough, our lives, upbringing, experiences and trauma all form how we react to situations.  Those of us who were raised in environments that were not nurturing to our needs have a greater chance of responding to things in an unbalanced way. For example, when we encounter stressful situations, we may respond to something or someone today in a mindset that is still back when we first got hurt over a circumstance. This is often referred to as a trigger. Triggers can be exhausting. Reacting out of a trigger can affect many areas of our lives. Today, we will talk about how to recognize possible triggers and steps to take that could change how you respond. Do you find yourself wishing you could respond to certain things differently? Maybe the following can help.

What Stresses Me?

When we are exposed to a situation or circumstance that evokes heightened emotion within us, it is called a trigger. Understanding what triggers you or stresses you out is important. Afterall, you cannot work on what you do not know. Reflect back. What topics or circumstances will cause you react in a way that is inflated for the current moment? What brings on feelings of anxiety? If something came to mind, that may be a trigger for you. There are methods we can learn and try for ourselves to decrease the emotional response we have. Below, you will find a list of common things that stress people out to hear about, see or to do. Do you find yourself reacting to any of them?

  • Someone taking too long to respond
  • Being late for an appointment
  • Paying bills
  • Visiting family or in-laws
  • Spending money
  • A failing grade
  • Political or religious conversation
  • Seeing someone drink an alcoholic drink

The above list are just a few possible circumstances that could evoke high emotion if you have unresolved triggers that cause you negative stress responses. Did you think of another situation that causes you to react improperly?

What Can I Do?

If you were able to recognize a stress response within you, that is positive step forward. We have to want better for ourselves and take new steps to change a current reaction if we desire to handle stress response differently. As you continue to process the things that evoke a higher response from you, don’t allow your thoughts to beat you up. We all have past hurts that affect us today. There is help, you are not alone. Below, there are some suggestions that could help during a circumstance that has triggered a high stress response within you. Remember, you can’t change most things overnight, but with consistently trying a new way to respond, you can slowly take steps forward. Are you ready to try a new method to respond to things that stress you out?

  • Do not speak or react immediately.
  • Take a deep breath. Take another.
  • Recognize your feelings.
  • Keep your mind open, to what is happening or being said around you.
  • Communicate that you need time to process, if necessary.
  • Focus on a constructive response, instead of an instant response.


Learning what triggers you can improve not only your mindset, but your relationships as well. Being able to understand how your past affects you today can bring more internal peace. If you have taken steps to work on yourself and you feel stuck or unable to move forward, it is ok. You are not alone. Recognizing toxic relationships and resolving how to move forward can be hard. We are here to help. Upstate Restorative Counseling has a team of therapists who want to help.