Are you prone to feeling “triggered” by something someone says or does or something unexpected happening?
Triggers can be anything — including words, memories, experiences, or events — that spark an intensely negative emotional reaction, regardless of your current mood.
Beyond surging emotions, you might also experience some physical symptoms of anxiety, like a pounding heart, an upset stomach, your jaw clenching, shakiness or dizziness, sweaty palms, a flushed face.
Your reaction is so intense because you’re defending against a painful feeling that has surfaced.
It’s your THOUGHTS which activate those “triggered” feelings.
When we feel triggered, we tend to think these emotions arise from the stressful, unpleasant, frightening or upsetting circumstance we’re experiencing.
Not so. It’s from the thoughts we’re having about that circumstance.
Every circumstance we encounter in life is ALWAYS neutral, that is neither good nor bad, until we give meaning to it. It’s just a factual piece of information until we we judge and evaluate it, adopt an opinion about it and accept the story we tell ourselves and others about it.
This story we tell ourselves is comprised of a series of thoughts. Our thoughts are a compilation of sentences in our brains. We created those sentences.
So, while the circumstance itself is neutral, what we think about it is not. And it’s those thoughts that” pull the trigger” on our emotional response.
Lucky for us we don’t have to remain victimized by “triggered” thoughts and the emotions they stimulate.
This is a problem with a solution. Here’s why:
- We have 100% control over our thoughts. Most thoughts causing feelings of being “triggered” are habits of thinking that have been well-grooved into our neural pathways. They’re the ones easiest for our brains to retrieve. But here’s the truth: We don’t have to accept any thoughts our brain offers up. We can choose to change them whenever we want.
- Emotions are simply vibrations of energy in our bodies. Some we like much better than others. Even the most uncomfortable ones are bearable. The emotional sensations rise to a crescendo of intensity and, like a wave breaking on the shore, ebb and flow. And when we ALLOW the negative emotions to be present, rather than trying to push them away and resist them, they dissipate more quickly.
Common situations that trigger intense emotions include:
* Unjust treatment
* Challenged beliefs
* Helplessness or loss of control
* Being excluded or ignored
* Disapproval or criticism
* Feeling unwanted or unneeded
* Feeling smothered or too needed
* Loss of independence
Identify your emotional triggers.
What are those super-reactive places inside you that become activated by your thoughts about certain situations or someone else’s behaviors or comments?
You have a crowded warehouse of stored thoughts and beliefs you’ve internalized from all your life experiences. And, you’ve been influenced by your parents, family, teachers, peers and religious leaders.
Since your brain is always looking to save energy by recognizing familiar patterns, it’s quick to latch on to those firmly established habits of thinking and believing.
What are some of those thoughts that can activate a cascade of feelings that you interpret as triggered?.
Do you have a harsh, inner critic that pounces on you when certain situations arise? Does it shame, insult or diminish you for perceived shortcomings or failings?
Are you looped into thinking thoughts that keep you stuck in” triggered” mode?
Subdue your emotional triggers with intentional thinking.
The first thing you need to do is calm that part of yourself that feels flawed or has self doubts.
Imagine all those persistent negative thoughts like a frantic 3 year-old running with scissors. Out of control, able to do damage in an instant if you don’t intervene. So intervene you must. But just as you would with a wild child, respond to yourself with kindness, grace and authority.
The way forward is to create intentional thoughts on purpose that reinforce your control and authority over the situation.
To overcome your reactivity to emotional triggers and dissolve the hold they have on you, examine all your erroneous, false or limiting beliefs.
You’re not obligated to keep any of them. They’re all up for grabs for an intentional thinking overhaul.
Try a Targeted Thought Download.
- Describe the top three triggers which you find tend to upset your equilibrium most frequently.
- Write about all your thoughts and why these situations upset you so much. What are you making it mean about yourself and others?
- To reprogram negative beliefs, start with one trigger that has the least emotional charge. Then begin to compassionately reprogram your thinking.
- You could tell yourself, “This is not reality.” What’s actually true is… “I am lovable, capable and smart.” Substitute a more positive, believable, compassionate realistic thought for the negative belief.
Sometimes, the connection between your thoughts and your emotions isn’t quite so clear. You may have to do a bit more digging.
When strong emotions come up, don’t try to ignore them or fight them back. Instead, approach them with curiosity to develop greater insight about what thoughts may have triggered them.
Do any patterns stand out? For example, if your partner mentions your weight, it might bring up resentment, anger and indignation. What might be behind that reaction? Could it be related to your fear of being unlovable, rejection, ending up, ultimately, alone?
Knowing what your emotional triggers are and how to deal with them constructively is a key component of good emotional health.
Act as if.
At the start of the deescalating the trigger process, you might need to “act as if” when you haven’t yet become comfortable naturally thinking new more positive beliefs. That’s okay. It’s part of the process.
This is definitely a case where practice makes perfect.
For instance, simply saying to yourself, “I can handle this.” (even when you don’t fully believe it) paves the way for a more stable, go-to belief later on.
What about “I don’t have to respond to this right now.” Or “I can take care of myself, no matter what.”
Coaching helps tease apart your trigger mechanisms, especially when it comes to weight loss.
I can help you find the root of the trigger and process the feelings involved.
Healing your triggers is liberating because you won’t be thrown off or drained by circumstances beyond your control or what others do or say. You can break the connection between how you feel and act today and whatever happened in the past.
The more you heal your emotional triggers, the more you will be free to lead exactly the life you most deeply desire.
Please schedule a free call with me by clicking this link.
We’ve got lots to talk about.
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