We all experience situations which trigger us and activate our strong emotional reactions. Especially now, in the continuously emotionally charged period. So I thought I would share with you some practical tips on how to take control of your emotional triggers.
What is a trigger?
A trigger is an experience that draws us back into the past and causes old feelings and behaviors to arise.
They might include reminders of uncomfortable memories such as:
- Unjust treatment
- Being excluded
- Feeling of helplessness, out of control
- Feeling unwanted...
When we feel that familiar emotional triggers arise, it's important not to ignore them. It's actually an amazing opportunity to heal the parts of us that are hurting. Because it's often an unmet childhood need that is resurfacing. The better we understand our emotional triggers, the easier it's to make the necessary changes to ensure we don't get triggered again in the future.
The following FIVE steps will help you to better process and take control of your emotional triggers:
1. Instead of directly reacting, STOP and PAUSE.
2. Label your current emotional state - e.g. I feel excluded, unsafe, disrespected...
3. Reflect and ask yourself:
- What is it that provokes such a strong emotional reaction in me?
- Is there any past story behind it?
- What expectations did I have that were not met?
- My true underlying fear was...
4. Give that part of you ALL your love. Be gentle with yourself. Use plenty of empathy and kind self-talk.
5. Choose a new alternative response.
Next time, you feel triggered, give it a try. As you become aware of your emotional triggers and start to monitor them, you realize you have a possibility to create space between the event and your reaction, and choose a new alternative response.
If you feel like you need guidance in identifying and taking control of your triggers, I'm here to support you on your healing journey!