We’ve all been there, something gets said, you read an article, or you hear about a situation and your body has a physical and emotional reaction. Maybe your throat tightens, shoulders stiffen, head throbs, stomach turns, or your neck knots up. It could be all of those things or more.
Triggers happen when something connects with a part of you so negatively, that your body expresses it. Sometimes the trigger will bring up negative consequences or thoughts about us not being good enough, and sometimes you get triggered by someone just being flat-out mean, and it picks at an insecurity you have.
When you’re in that bad place and you have those reactions stirring in your system, what should you do? The natural instinct depends on your personality and how you react to conflict. Maybe you shut down, perhaps you lash out or quickly change the subject even though you’re seething inside.
Shared below are some tips to help you find your common triggers and not freak out the next time you’re feeling that way.
Here Are 3 Common Triggers and 3 Healthy Solutions:
Sensing A Lack of Safety
There are three core values that we look to honor as people in communities, the first being having a sense of safety. It usually comes from our perception of what would or could happen when we say, do, or have something. It reminds us of the potential of bad things like someone verbally attacking or shaming us.
Not Feeling Loved or Heard
The second core value is to feel loved and heard, it is one of the more powerful causes of triggers when we feel the exact opposite. This can bring up a whole collection of negative thoughts or insecurities about “not being enough” or “not doing enough” that can paralyze us.
Losing A Sense of Belonging
The third core value is feeling like we belong and have a place in the community, that there is and always will be space for us. This gets triggered when you worry that what you do will cause another person to feel bad about themselves, about where they are, or where they want to be.
These feelings and triggers live in the subconscious but are very real. The first part of not freaking out when you feel triggered is by understanding where it’s coming from and what your mindset believes it says about you and your value.
Solution: Emotional Freedom Technique
EFT is a form of self-acupressure that will help you change how your body reacts to stress, triggers, and negative thoughts. You can shift how you respond and control how long a trigger has its grip on you when you practice EFT.
Look for teachers, video instruction, and apps to get started with learning EFT and apply it to your life as often as you can, daily if you’re able. It not only helps you take a pause and calm your nervous system, but it also tunes you into your common triggers and increases awareness around how you’ll want to react.
Solution: Free-Form Journaling
There’s nothing quite like using the power of paper and pen to help find and stop common triggers. Even if you’re not a natural writer or you hate journaling, this has a space in your life and can help you in ways you may not expect.
Grab a paper and pen (or your journal if you have one) and write the date at the top. Then, write whatever you want. If you ever feel stuck, start by writing about the day or the trigger that happened and keep going until you feel better.
Ask yourself introspective questions like: “What am I understanding about what they said about me or did to me?” and “What’s the story around it?” Don’t be afraid to get it all out.
Solution: Forgiveness of All Parties
Practicing forgiveness does not mean you excuse or continue to allow bad or harmful behavior. It’s for you and your sanity, not theirs. Forgiveness gives you a chance to cut the cord on the trigger and create space to move forward in a new way.
You can combine free-form writing with forgiveness and write down specific memories or events that you need to forgive. Start with what’s happened that is causing the trigger you’re feeling and go from there. Say out loud, “I forgive you, I’m moving on, I’m cutting the cord, etc.” and then cross it out from your list.
No matter the case, being triggered happens to all of us. So, if you’ve been feeling bad or ashamed about feeling triggered, please stop right now and give yourself a hug, literally.
Cross your arms and place them on your shoulders or one hand on your stomach and the other on your heart. Just breathe and thank yourself for giving you a reassuring hug and some much-needed self-love. Then, take the next step and practice the solutions above to find your common triggers and use them to help you not freak out.
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*Originally published on September 14, 2020.
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