Why Are We so Easily ‘triggered’?

Why Are We so Easily ‘triggered’?

If we were totally sane, we would respond
to the present only on its own terms; we would worry or be angered or give way to anxiety
only as much as the circumstances before us actually dictated. But we are not – of course
– most of us quite sane, as evidenced by the way that we respond with such disproportion
to certain events in the here and now. We have occasional tendencies to get wildly more
worried, angry and anxious than we should, if we were simply following the facts in front
of us. What causes us difficulty is that we are wired to feel and respond according to
precedent rather than on the basis of a dispassionate evaluation of the present, and in particular
we follow emotional tracks laid down in the distant past – when many of us were victims
of deeply unrepresentative and unusually painful experiences, from which we continue to make
panicky, gloomy and unhelpful extrapolations. In other words, we are, to use the inelegant
but useful contemporary term, easily (far too easily) ‘triggered’. That is, situations
in the present elicit from us with undue haste responses formed by, and frankly better suited
to, a past whose details we have forgotten and whose distinctiveness we cannot now perceive.
A tricky but not objectively existentially troubling email will hence convince us at
once that this is The End. An item in the news will plunge us immediately into devastating
guilt or boundless fury. The prospect of a party we have to go to or a speech we need
to give brings on unbudgeable, monumental terror. The triggering happens so fast, there
is no chance to observe the process and see the way in which we cede our powers of evaluation
from present to past. Our minds are simply flooded with panic, we lose our bearings,
the rational faculties shut down and we are lost, perhaps for days, in the caverns of
the mind. We get triggered because we don’t have a direct link with objective reality:
each of us approaches the outer world through the prism of an inner world with a more or
less tenuous connection to it. In this inner world of ours lies a repository of expectations
formed through our unique histories; our internal working models, or our best guesses, of what
the outer world will be like; how others will respond to us, what they will say if we complain,
how things will turn out when there is a challenge. Crucially, and this is what we of course miss
when we have been triggered, the inner world isn’t the outer world. It contains generalisations
and extrapolations from a past that may be far harder, stranger and more dangerous than
the present. Psychologists have a handy rule of thumb to alert us to the disproportionate
side of our responses: if we experience anxiety or anger above a five out of ten, they tell
us, our response is likely to be fuelled not by the issue before us, but by a past we’re
overlooking. In other words, we have to believe (contrary to our feelings) that the issue
won’t be what it seems to be about. Image result for david hockney The best way to free
ourselves from being so eagerly triggered is to refuse to believe in most of what overwhelmingly
and rapidly frightens or angers us. We must learn to adopt a robust suspicion of our first
impulses. It isn’t that there is nothing scary or worrying in the outer world whatsoever,
simply that our initial responses are liable to be without proportion or without calculation
of adult strength, resilience, resourcefulness or options. Another way to approach our panic
and anxiety is to remember that, despite appearances, we are not a single person or unified ‘I’.
We are made up of an assemblage or a blend of parts dating right back to our earliest
days. In a way we can’t easily track, different events will engage with different parts of
us. Some of our most troubled moments are when a difficulty in the present isn’t handled
by an adult part, but by a part formed when we were six months or three years old. We
end up so scared because the challenge of public speaking or of a seduction or a worry
at work has, unbeknownst to the adult part of us, been left in the hands a very scared
toddler. In the circumstances, it can help to ask ourselves at points not what ‘we’
are afraid of but what a ‘part’ of us is worried about – and to learn more carefully
to differentiate the parts in question. What might we tell a part of us in order for it
not to be so scared? Image result for david hockney flowers It is a milestone of maturity
when we start to understand what triggers us and why – and to take steps to mitigate
the most self-harming of our responses. Whatever our past seems to tell us, perhaps there won’t
be a catastrophe, perhaps we’re not about to be killed or humiliated unbearably. Perhaps
we have adult capacities for survival. Too much of our past is inside us in a way we
don’t recognise or learn to make allowances for. We should dare to approach many of our
triggers like a starting pistol or a fire alarm that we will from now on, for well-grounded
reasons, refuse to listen to. Our resilience cards are designed to help us become tougher in the face of adversity. To learn more follow the link on your screen now.



  • Mind Now

    I think we should become aware of our fears and solve it STEP BY STEP

    Winny out… for now 😉

  • Juliette Lumeau

    Easy to say.

  • Good luck everyone

    Most people are psychotic these days. Just under a calm surface lays a complete nutter!

  • Mary Light

    This was somewhat helpful, thank you ☺️

  • Omegä Skyrocket


  • Юлиан Рундев



    Why is her nose moving so much?

  • missironmouse

    I feel like we’re in the age of hysteria and anger.

  • Kormac80

    IMHO, this analysis is useful, but incomplete. It pays too much attention to the idea of the triggering event, which is largely irrelevant. Becoming a true adult means recognizing your own emotional patterns and taking steps to simply liberate yourself from the anger or anxiety and commit to inner peace. Sure, the anger and anxiety are the function of childhood events and pre-rational adaptations to those events which grow into patterns, but the key is the pattern, not the triggering event. Take responsibility for your patterns and commit to creating new beliefs. Unconsciously, that pattern of anger and anxiety arises from a deep belief that you deserve to suffer. The cure is to recognize it and commit to a new belief: "I deserve peace, love and joy." Repeat that often and take actions large and small to live it. Better yet, go to Peru and engage with the grandmother medicine to heal your psyche.

  • luis padilla

    Subtitulooooooooooooooooos 🙁 en español

  • Roll Catracho

    If something triggers you then youre a little bitch

  • Jack Wheeler

    Adult capacities for survival.

  • Nicholas Castello

    These video resonate viscerally, to the point where I am ambivalent to watch.

    Perhaps it's the narrators voice. Either way. Good show

  • Yami Le


  • drain


  • drain

    the past rots our mind, yet we cling to it for the slim chance it just might keep us alive. past and future is evolutions best friend and the individuals worst enemy

  • drain

    why do i rationally agree with this yet feel the opposite. why am i not able to let go. though who am i. why must this i cling on to these notions that i know are constantly hindering me. but is me and i the same? does me only refer to this vessels pilot strictly in the present tense with no identity? so what is i. is i what me implies the pilot in all tenses. a haphazard collage of thoughts derived from the perspective of i itself jammed into its own specific pronoun?

  • La Lo

    Talked too much about the simple issue…. In jus a line, the cause of all these problems, fears and failures is our "Short Term Memory ".😉

  • Antonis Theodoridis

    Can you speak more simply??

  • palli12345

    i have seen i usually get triggered when i talk to my parents…has any one have this issue too?

  • Ellie Lindsey

    Because we are too attached to everything and have not internalized the tenants of Buddhism 🙂

  • 100YrsOldFetus

    I triggered so fckin much too. It's not even normal. It's like i feel their pain when its not even directed to me. I tried so much to away myself from it, but it' all over the freakin place..in real life, in the internet, in my head. I wish i could just be like everyone else be fcking numb, be not too personal, not feel.
    Why cant people be kind? Even fake kind. Pretend kind! And maybe somehow we could learn to be kind for real.
    So mucccch hateeee, so muchhhh thoughtless angerrr!! It's suffocating.

  • Dakota

    5:08 when you let out a nasty. silent fart

  • Julie Labelle

    Thank you.

  • anibal vega

    Oh God, this helps a lot… most part cause job anxiety….

  • blesstv

    Hi Kimberly!

  • Sebastian Talbierz

    'Why do we get so triggered?' No. You get triggered

  • Lori Romano

    Another great offering from School of Life.  Thanks!

  • Phaedric Alaren

    Triggered: symptom of PTSD.

    Snowflake pansy breakdown: sign of emotional immaturity

  • Tim

    Great video. Bad phrase.

  • Nbruder

    The Triggering


    Yeah but once triggered that habit is like drugs not many people get through it easily and there's no medication good luck

  • Kate Miller

    Quite helpful reflection on extenuating circumstances & our reactions. Thank you.

  • TheHuggybear516

    I feel this is just rationalization without the realization that us being triggered is just a self righteous projection of self to protect the concept of individuality. Values and beliefs are nothing but us reassuring ourselves we are individuals with unique views when in fact we’re not.

  • MsOnTopOfTheWorld

    We're easily "triggered" because we're overwhelmed by all the information and attacks we're exposed to, especially on social media. So much going on in the world, so many social debates/disagreements/changes going on. It's very difficult to keep sane in today's socio-political climate.
    Best solution is to avoid social media/the news as much as you can, or take a period of haitus when it gets too much.

  • Adolf Stalin

    kind of weird, nothing surprises me anymore. most supposedly "triggering" events is just confirmation bias at this point.

  • Diamond Unicorn

    Anger issues can also bring out triggers

  • Andrea Padilla

    Omg he's the voice of headspace

  • im_095

    Anyone who plays overwatch competitive, this video doesn't help

  • Damien Spies

    first video from this channel i've watched and i can't say i liked it and it was boring as hell

  • Jungle Theme

    Yeah but… we are supposed to recognise dangerous people and situations.

  • Roxanne


  • amanagen25

    Recent videos are not very well crafted, at least as some of the first ones.

  • ultramarinetoo

    "only as much as the circumstances before actually us dictated" – Reaction to anything other than physical sensation is necessarily built on prior experience. Circumstances don't "dictate" anything.
    And anger /outrage is often due to the social approval it gets (see the comments about trigger warnings here – craving the approval of those in agreement) or that someone has learnt it get's them their way.

  • Scott B

    Ugh, this guy's voice is a trigger, it sounds terribly contrived

  • Peter Bennett

    My partner's eldest son is triggered into anger and/or a big sulk whenever my name is even mentioned.
    He's 15 and very smart, nevertheless he can't explain what's going on for him. Apparently this behaviour is far from unusual when a mother finds a new mate. I can make some educated guesses (male territorial) but I don't really understand what's going on for him. This is seriously affecting the relationship with my partner. She can't mention my name at home and we practically have to meet 'behind the bike sheds'.
    I've been searching the Book of Life and the videos here for some insights into how he's feeling. So far without success.
    Any pointers would be appreciated!

  • Merlijn Pieron

    In the first 25 seconds you start with a definition of what you (the school of life) consider to be true. For the sake of argument, I believe it is my duty to (at least temporary) accept that definition. Sadly enough I do not see that definition as true. Or better said, I don't see it as the whole truth. For there are fast conclusions you can make from that definition that are utterly wrong. Where you come from is included in the information of the present. And where you continue going is also part of the present. One point might not have a differential, but it is more fair to say that we don't know the differential. I predict taht the moment we include the differntial as being part of the present, I can accept your definion. I also predict that this small difference of perception of what the present is, makes some of the conclusions of this video hogwash in my ears. Hogwash, but at the same time extreemly easily fixable.

  • Throw communists out of helicopters

    Because we're weak now. Also because of who rules over us. "To find out who rules over you, find out who you can't criticize." The Jews.

  • D Dog 2015

    Because "triggered" has become synonymous with "pissed off" instead of triggering PTSD

  • CreatedNameToComment

    "What might we tell a part of us in order for it to be not so scared?"

    Don't be a lil' bitch

  • fjoa123

    instead of embracing adulthood, new generations are instead learning to wrongfully survive as children disguised of adults. The more complex and elaborate the disguise, the more entitled they feel.

  • Douglas Leih

    This is great.

  • Tom Ryan

    "Our initial responses are liable to be without calculation of adult strength, resourcefulness, or options."

    That's so true. When I bump my head on a cabinet, I immediately go crazy and decide I need to punch it as hard as possible. But instead, I should just go down the garage and grab my powersaw, then spend the afternoon shredding that cabinet to pieces so it SUFFERS.

  • ChronoPaladin91

    Bang Bang Bang pull my Devil Trigger

  • Jester Jenkins

    This is wonderful! Loved it and great animation too!

  • Nathan Green

    Love your work

  • Liah Know Best

    This is the best thing I heard today👏👏

  • McKenzie Brennan

    Learn the definition of triggered before you comment about “special snowflakes”. Trigger warnings or content warnings are like when packages say they might have soy inside or they contain milk. Packages do that so people allergic or sensitive to milk or soy can avoid that particular thing. So someone might say that they have a content warning of blood for the next slide of a slide show and anyone who doesn’t want to see (no matter the reason) doesn’t have to look.

  • Pipi Lotti

    3:33 🌱
    Thank you

  • Jefe

    Why am I triggered by loud sudden noises?

  • Craig Merkey

    very well done!!!!!!!!!

  • Kate O

    The reactive mind…

  • c fairbco

    You’re easily triggered because the realm of liberalism is so fucking bored it’s mentally masturbating over all the college students who are now traumatized from being covered in, bullshit.

  • Mooniez

    "لا تغضب، لا تغضب، لا تغضب ." 🧡🧡🧡

  • Lucius Avenus

    Being triggered is simply fear, and on this level, affecting a generation, it is without doubt disseminated by an agent of a divisive agenda. Just don't buy into it, it's a trap.

  • Young Kim

    Conditioned by society…

  • Athanasios Niotis

    amaizing video.. congratulations and thank you very much shool fo life! <3

  • nihilistic adventure

    Looks like one big giant swimming pool of first world problems

  • Audrey Jensen

    Does anyone always lash out when people say the slightest offensive thing and feel really horrible afterwards, because you know you only act so defensive because you’ve been hurt really bad before and you’re trying to prevent it from happening again?

  • Cnn Pnj

    This is a human manual that aliens wrote

  • Adnan Rifaie

    We have pasitive and nigitive point of view about every thing we just have to chose wich one we gon use.

  • Vöxtur

    I thought this was going to be more about trauma triggers. The word “triggered” has been taken over, used to death, and now seen in a different light.

  • jen

    how do the videos i need pop up on my recommended at the EXACT moment i need them

  • Madyetmellow

    192 people triggered 😳

  • Bill Howard

    Exploring the materialist dialectics of past & future: inner self & outer World…

  • That Doom Marine

    Snowflakes be like:

  • Matthew Henley

    The word "triggered" seems to have taken on a very negative and watered-down connotation in today's world. Ask a veteran with PTSD, a schizophrenic, or a sexually abused woman what being "triggered" means. They can tell you what it really means.

  • Gabriel Guzman

    Its called congitive biased or aka lazy brain. If we don't like someone based on their appearance, what they wear or skin color we tend to dismiss or easily get upset at that person even if they made a mistake and not intentional. Even when you appoligize they get mad……..

  • The Best Tasting Bleach

    Not "we".

  • Velvet Mistress

    I am a Misanthrope. I hate being human. And I hate humans as well disgusting arrogant easily triggered sensative slugs. Humans are useless

  • Based Cucklord


  • Justin M Williams777

    Thank You.

  • HSP

    What has gotten worse is with how we are connected online we are exposed to a lot more potential triggers, so the only reasonable thing to do is to disconnect as much as possible.If you work in an office with a large group of people around you and you can't just leave it makes it really hard to get the necessary distance to cool down once triggered.

  • Frezel Obaka

    Demecrates will say "because of the 2016 election results", feminists and sjw will say "because of the white cis man and the patriarchy"

  • Stri Bakkiri

    Many beings are not willing to understand where certain behaviour comes from. Not wanting to hear explanations and not willing to give explanations, but rather live thru their own assumptions and adjust their behaviour accordingly.

  • Brenda Drew

    Good one! Thankfully after dealing with many "triggers" in the past, I've gotten rid of most of them! I don't watch the talking head news networks anymore, I just read about the news from as reliable sources as I can find, I left FB which has become a mostly toxic political forum and I never give public speeches, never have and never will says this HSP, creative empathetic, introverted, professional artist/composer! "know thyself', ancient wisdom, rule of thumb~ Thanks for sharing~

  • Remcō Schedel—the Skull

    Are you implying i am easily triggered!?
    Well? Answer me! 😠

  • Jason Jackson

    Society is to blame .Those other people over there.

  • Richard Kolb

    Your videos are fantastic, so much "on spot" for me!

  • Alban1 you’re to blame

    it happens when to much wrong happens to you , some of it you don’t even realize , than you become sensitive

  • Anti-SJW

    Because you pride yourselves on being mentally ill, mollycoddling anyone who is even the slightest bit upset, and avoiding confronting anything that might upset your pwecious feefees? also, you believe that there are more than two genders, you think pedophilia is a sexual orientation… You are disgusting fucks

  • Debbie Moore

    I recently got triggered by a man who works where I work calling me "a man" I was triggered because I have struggled wtih masculine protest having grown up in a house where women were devalued by both parents. I realise him being rude was about him and his entitlement as a man to speak to women however he wants (its not the first time he has spoken that way to me). He is in his 60's and to be honest now I feel sorry for him and his wife as she will be conditioned to believe this is how men are. As for me. I am a woman but I define that in my own terms and the more I lean in to finding my own way and work on self parenting and nurturing myself and loving myself the less insensitive comments like those above which have happened to me a lot because I have a lot of masculine energy will just bounce off me.

  • Marina Beta

    This was so helpful, compassionate and intelligent. Thank you.

  • Kris Grauel

    How to become less reactive is always a good question to ponder.

  • thereGoMapo

    because you are probably bottling it up

  • Jewellab0113

    I love this video! It explains exactly what I've been working on the past 6 months. I decided to slow down and really get to know myself. I'll sit in a room by myself and just think about things that scare me or worry me and ask myself why they scare/worry me. It honestly feels like going through a second puberty because I have to take myself from my current self and go back into my past and teach my 5 year old self how to handle situations because my parents didn't teach me how when I was 5. Very hard to do, but I am growing more and more everyday!

  • Charlotte Creasey

    Thank you! I was bracing myself for this video to be one of those "ugh, snowflakes" things, lol. I'm in recovery for DID, and have no idea what caused it. But when I get triggered (and I, an adult part, am around), I've started talking gently and reassuringly to whatever insiders are listening, saying thank you to whoever is trying to protect me by firing off the alarms, reassuring them that I'm here to look after us and that the triggered response belongs to the past and not the present, and asking if anyone would like to tell me or ask me anything about the trauma or situation. I've noticed triggering get a little bit easier to deal with since I started trying to listen and be gentle with myself.

  • Captive

    My mom used to incessantly criticize me. I'm sensitive to intense criticism. My girlfriend calls me a boy, that I'm not a man, that I'm pathetic and will grow old alone. Then uses this video to explain how her insults are justified and that I'm actually overly sensitive because I haven't conquered my past. I'm not angry at her I'm angry at my past according to her. What y'all think?

  • TS Tech Talk

    Thanks for your video, is time to practice

  • Aye Valder

    We are all triggered by some things.. I think the differnce is when we start working on them start thinking of “new ways” of doing things. A way to work on this is to learn from others that react differently to the same thing.. maybe they learnt a different way and so could you

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