Why the Lockdown Isn’t Great for Your Emotional Triggers

emotional triggers

Feeling a little, shall we say, irritable, during this COVID-19 lockdown? Nervy, or fried? With days bleeding into weeks of COVID-19 stress and anxiety, it’s normal if your emotional triggers are going exponential. If you bawl at any commercial, LOL more forcefully at gifs, or get much angrier at unfairness – it’s all normal. And irritability? Yeah that seems to be a default these days.

Emotional reactions, and irritability, are signals to our physical and emotional health, alerting us to rest more, connect more, and engage in more self care – all mainstays of coronavirus-lockdown coping.

Is it really different?

If you take the time to look at the irritability you feel, you might find it isn’t so unfamiliar, despite the novelty of these Corona times. Our irritability is typically a reaction to excessive stress, and tends to be predictable based on our unique emotional triggers.

We tend to overreact to situations that are familiar, and painful. This is one of the ways our anxiety tries to protect us from emotional overwhelm. Our psyche is triggered by our past, and trying hard to get our attention.

Take Back Control

If you are feeling irritable lately, here is one thing you can do to take control of your emotional triggers:

Differentiate what’s in front of you now from something from the past. I know it may sound overly simple, but it works. Once you identify a past hurt, you can disentangle your current reaction, and regain control of how you respond. This is another way of teasing out your irrational fears. Because when it comes to your reactions, you ARE in control. You impact how you feel.

Feeling irritable during these corona times can be an invitation to turn inward to what you need, what you are lacking, and what you can do to change it. Getting clear on what your emotional triggers are signaling in the present, right now, can help you take control of what’s really going on for you, and steer you toward better managing your reactions. This opportunity to tease apart the noise from what you really need can be one of the biggest emotional benefits of the coronavirus lockdown.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, and irritable, know you are not alone. We are all feeling it. Be kind to yourself, and ease up where you can. And remember, a good cathartic cry can help too.

Wishing you good health, peace, and permission to slow down if and wherever you need to. This is a marathon, not a sprint.


Looking for more help with anxiety surrounding the outbreak? Learn more about my book Hack Your Anxiety and get instant resources to help you manage the fear and anxiety going around the world today. 

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Alicia H. Clark, PsyD