Trigger warnings on stories or headlines are becoming a new normal in an attempt to make people feel safer about what they might be reading. However, it’s possible that these trigger warnings cause more stress than what they are trying to solve. Every time a person sees a trigger warning they are expecting something to get under their skin and tense up in anticipation. While people want to do the right thing, it might be that politeness is actually hurting people.
- A “trigger warning” may in fact cue the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Prolonged exposure to cortisol is damaging to one’s physical and mental health.
- There is no research to indicate that ignoring a problem or tragedy can make the trauma go away.
“Basically, cortisol wants you alert, pumped up, primed to react, and prepared to remember this danger so that you can avoid it in the future.”