Emotional Triggers: Can Stress and Anxiety Trigger Migraine?

What are the emotional triggers, and how I'm dealing with them. In this post, I shared how my emotions trigger my migraine. Emotional triggers happen for many events. I get a migraine spike anticipating, during, or after the event. I have had one on most holidays, many weddings, baby showers, birthdays, concerts, sporting events, and more. Events bring migraine attacks because change triggers my migraine brain. Head to the blog to understand more about emotional triggers

What are your emotional triggers? Are your emotions triggering migraine? Emotional triggers are all around me these days.

This summer was fun, fast, and filled with migraine attacks.  In the last few weeks, my emotions have been building for the fall excitement.  My first child is entering Kindergarten.  For some that may not be a big deal, but for a stay-at-home mom, it’s momentous.

Emotional Triggers

Anxiety Triggering Migraine

On top of this momentous moment, I am also starting a job after 6 years.  Over the last 6 years, my only focus has been on my babies, family, dog, and home that we make.  It’s the biggest and hardest job to stay home and I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity.   One of the luxuries of staying home is that I can deal with my migraine attacks on my own.  With a job, my migraine life is public and open to scrutiny.   Absences require subs and placing responsibilities on others.  The stress of missing work, throwing off schedules, and not being a good employee is huge!  I love the position I was hired for and really want everyone to grow and thrive.

Stress Triggering Migraine

So between the stress of starting a new job, the devastation of my baby leaving me all day, and a change in our whole dynamic, I’ve been walking on needles to avoid a migraine attack.  Here’s the thing with migraine, it doesn’t care who, what, where, when, or why you don’t want it, it comes!  In fact, sometimes it feels like my migraine disease knows the worst time and hits me right then.


There is a relationship between anxiety, depression, emotional triggers and migraine. I am not an expert in this issue but feel that mental health should always be part of the migraine treatment plan.

Emotions Triggers

Emotional triggers happen for many events. I get a migraine spike anticipating, during, or after the event.  I have had one on most holidays, many weddings, baby showers, birthdays, concerts, sporting events, and more.  Events bring migraine attacks because change triggers my migraine brain.

So with all these events and changes, I have tried to numb my emotions.  I remind myself of Scarlett O’Hara saying “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  I haven’t allowed myself to fully feel the change because I just can’t.  I cried a bit when I dropped my daughter off but had a staff meeting and needed to pull it together.  I didn’t sleep the night before and lack of sleep is another trigger I was trying to deal with.

Excitement Triggering Migraine

With my new job, come more emotional triggers.   It’s all wonderful and fun but those things can also be a trigger. So I sit here thinking to myself, how do I fully feel these emotions without being sick?  I can’t.  I can’t sit and cry about how yesterday I was holding my baby in the hospital and now she’s waving goodbye to me for the day.  I have been with her, planned every event, and known exactly where she is for the past 6 years.  Now I just wave and don’t hear from her for almost 7 hours!  The worry just sends me through a tailspin.

Next, I throw myself into a new job and I don’t have time to be in my darkroom.  The heat, the lights, cleaning, and the reorganization takes a lot. I need to be planning.  Once I’ve planned, I need to be well enough to fulfill those plans.  I have such high hopes and my ambition scares me in that I will not be able to live up to it.  

I can’t imagine being able to feel how I feel and not worry about it.  As if emotions aren’t complicated enough, controlling them is imperative.  So I’ll just worry about that tomorrow, shake off those tears, numb the fears and just keep swimming.

How do emotions trigger your migraine attacks?

Top 10 migraine triggers


Emotional Triggers: Can stress and anxiety trigger migraine?

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Sarah Rathsack

Sarah tells stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. Her kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate her to make a difference in the Migraine World.

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  1. Teri Robert on August 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I don’t think emotions trigger Migraines. There are things we do or don’t do when in the throes of those emotions that can be triggers, and once we recognize them, most are avoidable. These include not drinking enough water, and getting dehydrated; skipping meals or eating on an irregular schedule; crying; not sleeping well.

  2. mini2z on August 21, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    I cry equals a migraine, crappy sleep equals a migraine, anxiety I get a migraine, depression yep a migraine so moods trigger mine. I have also passed mine on because my son 21 years old has a migraine today as well. My grandpa had them too.
    Hope back to work goes seamlessly for you. Xx mini

  3. mymigrainelife on August 21, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you. I’m sorry you and your so suffer too. I’m sure watching him get a migraine probably stresses you out too. There are so many things we can’t avoid and being emotional is one of them. We are human and have emotions so how do we avoid it? I hope he feels better soon!

  4. Amy Bobbitt on August 22, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Congrats Sarah on your job and your baby entering a new world. I too am looking into a new job opportunity and am stressing. So what do I have right now…a doozy of a migraine. Ugh. I have always told my doctors I get migraines not during the stress but after I guess the letdown period. When everything floods my brain, serotonin especially and it doesn’t matter whether it be good stress or bad. So vacations , holidays, daughter getting homecoming court and looking for four different dresses…it’s all stress to my migraine brain. Hugs and many well wishes your way.

  5. mymigrainelife on August 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Good luck on your new adventures. I wrote a post about let down migraine, I get them too //www.mymigrainelife.net/?s=Let+down&submit=Go I’ve been trying to control my stress and hope you can too. It’s so hard but I’m optimistic we both have exciting new jobs ahead. Fingers crossed!!!!

  6. helhakim on August 31, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for this post. I love exploring my emotions and you may wish to check out my free ebook on emotional mastery and my Emotions Library that explains exactly how I process my emotions so that I don’t let it get to the point of a migraine: http://hebaelhakim.com/essential-oils/emotions-library
    I have been toying with the idea that it’s emotionally triggered and I believe this is true but I also believe it’s related to not hydrating enough which in my case is true… So when I get really excited or sad or angry AND I haven’t been drinking enough water…. That headache comes and doesn’t go even if I sleep… Totally get you!

  7. mymigrainelife on August 31, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you! I love your emotion library. When I first started using essential oils I didn’t know where to start. It’s nice to be able to have a nice library.

  8. Migraine Triggers - My Migraine Life on August 25, 2020 at 7:17 pm

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