Emotional triggers worksheet (PDF)

What is the theory behind the worksheet?

This worksheet is based on a CBT approach, meant to help practitioners understand how their thoughts, feelings and behavior are connected in order to find solutions to their psychological problems, such as depression or anger (Hofmann et al., 2012).

How will the worksheet help

The following worksheet will help clients identify what their emotional triggers are and how they affect their emotional state and behavior in order to learn how to deal with them.

How to use the worksheet

Have you ever been in a great mood until you encountered something that simply made you react emotionally in a way you didn’t expect? In truth, we all have our unique triggers for certain emotions that affect our thoughts and behavior. And these triggers could be anything, a smell, a sound, a person or maybe a thought or a memory, in many instances, one of a traumatic event. 

These elements could trigger a wide range of responses, such as anger, anxiety, or even depression. Understanding your psychological makeup, as in your qualities, attributes, personality styles, etc., makes it easier to find solutions to your problems (Wyman et al., 2009).

Emotional triggers worksheet (PDF)

The following worksheet is designed to help you understand the triggers that contribute to your upsetting emotions. Using it, pay attention to the moments you feel upset and record what you think might have triggered the respective feeling. Write down your predominant emotions (you might experience several different feelings) and rate their intensity (1 being mildly upsetting and 10 being extremely upsetting). After that, write down what you did next. Do this exercise for at least one week

DateTriggerPredominant EmotionsIntensity of the emotionWhat you did next


Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427–440. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-012-9476-1

Wyman, P. A., Gaudieri, P. A., Schmeelk-Cone, K., Cross, W., Brown, C. H., Sworts, L., West, J., Burke, K. C., & Nathan, J. (2009). Emotional Triggers and Psychopathology Associated with Suicidal Ideation in Urban Children with Elevated Aggressive-Disruptive Behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37(7), 917–928. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-009-9330-4

You can download this worksheet here.

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