emotional health

Managing Triggers When Viewing Content

Our brains process images in less than a second and in moments we can access stories, beliefs, perceptions based on viewing one image. Words are impactful. One word can remind us of a life-changing experience, a person, a meaningful interaction. Consider that process taking place repeatedly as we view and listen to hours of social media content and the effect it has on our emotional health. 

Although uncensored content in news stories or personal shares can lead to healthy discourse and raising awareness about topics that need our attention and action; it can also be raw and upsetting. We can support ourselves first by taking personal responsibility for our intake and response to information.  By bringing this intention in, we are tending our wellbeing to retain our cognitive processing capacity, rather than being in the role of a consumer more prone to shock effect – which affects our focus, clarity and mood. 

There can be many reasons why we might choose to view heavier content in personal social media accounts – keeping up to date with current events and relevant topics in social discourse as well as what is happening in sectors we are passionate and/or concerned about are common reasons.

As we don’t know what might show up in the next moment and we do know we can’t unsee something, here is a reminder of how we can safeguard our emotional health whilst viewing heavy or potentially triggering content.  

Asking ourselves the following questions can bring attention to our vulnerabilities and make space for holding them in a nourishing way rather than unsettling and upsetting our nervous system with potentially mindless and numbing content viewing habits. 

How is viewing this content serving you or anyone else? 

Is it serving you personally or professionally to view this content?  How so? 

Is it healthy for you to be viewing this?

Assess your emotional state. Is the topic triggering for you? How might you best prepare yourself?

How much distance do you need?  

Consider viewing the content at a minimal size, with or without headphones, watching at a faster speed.

How do you feel after viewing this content?

Identify and process any feelings that may have arisen, such as sadness, anger, frustration

What are you called to now?

Decide what action (including taking no action) you will take. It might be joining in the discussion in the comments, reaching out to someone involved, discussing with friends or colleagues, researching the topic further. 

Consider this: How does our experience of viewing heavier material change when we do so with thoughtful attention to our emotional state and purpose?

Contact Us
close slider