Take Back Your Remote Control: Control Your Response to Emotional Triggers
There are hundreds of times a day when you are not the one in control of a situation. It may happen when you get angry because someone cuts you off in traffic. Perhaps you are at work and a coworker says something to make you feel insecure. Maybe you are a parent and your kids just will not follow through with simple tasks. These are examples of people pushing your buttons and setting off your triggers. It’s like they are sitting on the couch with you holding a remote control to your emotions and pressing play or fast forward. You feel you have no control.
We all have triggers. It is learning what triggers us and how to stop our negative response that truly helps us in life. Here is a great exercise. You know that there is one thing that no matter what, you are guaranteed to respond to in a negative way. Write it down. Get to know it. When was the last time this happened? What was happening in your life? Can you remember other times when you were triggered by this? Was the situation different from this most recent incident? Write it all down. You will begin to see a pattern. This helps you get control of your remote.
As you look at these times and events, look at how it made you feel. Did you get angry and lash out? Did you get quiet and internalize your anger? Did you feel hurt? How we feel when triggered helps us change our reactions the next time we see this scenario occur.
Here are three situations. Make a note as to who it is that has your remote control and how the situation makes you feel:
- You are driving down the road at about 55mph and someone cuts right in front of you. You have to swerve to keep them from hitting you.
- Your alarm does not go off. You wake up late worried about being late to work.
- You come home and your favorite pet is there at the door waiting for you.
We go through life thinking other people and events are in charge of our emotional remote control. Yet, we have a pause button and a stop button. We can push them at any time to take back control from our triggers.
Once you start to realize what your emotional triggers are, you can begin to take control of situations in the present and stop your negative reactions to these triggers. When you feel your buttons are being pushed by someone or something else, reach for that remote and press Pause or Stop. Place your hand on your heart and focus into your heart. Take a moment before you react. Take a deep breath in through the nose and out the mouth. This is pushing the love button which is a new button on your remote control. Now you can take control rather than allow your triggers to be in charge.
Remember some of the earlier scenarios?
- You are driving down the road at about 55mph and someone cuts right in front of you, you have to swerve to keep them from hitting you. You place your hand on your heart and focus on the feeling of your heart. You take a deep breath in through the nose and out the mouth. You say a quiet prayer that the other driver will be more careful before they hurt someone.
- Your alarm does not go off and you wake up late you begin to feel anxious, worrying you will be late for work, again. You place your hand on your heart and take a deep breath in through the nose and out the mouth. You affirm that the day is going to get better and choose to stay positive. You are only a minute late and no one even notices.
- You come home and your favorite pet is there at the door waiting for you. You put your hand on your heart and send love and gratitude to your loyal friend. You take several breaths in the nose and out the mouth and enjoy the peace.
I hope you now get the idea of how you can use your own emotional remote control and take control of your response to emotional triggers. Here are the easy steps:
- Press Pause or Stop – This creates a holding pattern and allows you to evaluate the incident.
- Press the love button – Focus on your heart.
- Breathe consciously.
- React from love, not your trigger.
– Dru Ann