Living with Emotional Triggers
Why Does This Trigger Me

Let’s be honest for a moment.

Anyone (including me) who tells you they have it all together probably hasn’t been truthful with himself or herself for a while. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I recently was in a conversation that immediately brought up feelings of frustration and anger. I was surprised to find myself feeling this way and knew this was not the state I wanted to be in.

Here I was in the middle of an emotional response that, in the past, would have consumed my focus and energy for a good part of the day, but because I practice living deliberately and seeing possibilities, I asked myself “Why does this trigger me so” and in doing so, was able to change my perspective immediately.

Just like me, there are triggers in your life that simply send you down a path of frustration, anger, sadness; you name it. Sometimes these emotions are so powerful, they consume your time and energy, they become a focus of conversation, and they become your normal state of being. Now is the perfect time to realize you are feeling emotions that are maybe out of control and that you are spending your valuable time and energy on something or someone else rather than on yourself and what you want to achieve.

What are Triggers (Hot Buttons)

Emotional triggers are set off by people, words, opinions, or situations that send you into feelings of fury and chaos, into emotions of fear or unworthiness, and into a state of extreme negativity.  Usually your reaction is an over-response to the actual situation at hand. Your physiology tenses up, breathing becomes tight and shallow, and your perspective is no longer clear. When in this emotional state, decisions you make and actions you take are not always the best choices for the best outcome for you.

Because of this, it is important to recognize when you have been triggered and become conscious of what caused you to respond like this to begin with.

Recognize the Trigger

Once you have become aware that you have been triggered, stop and determine what might be the cause. You might discover a word, a smell, or a judgmental impression; maybe beliefs, viewpoint, or even another person’s presence has turned on your hot button.  Whatever you identify as the trigger, ask yourself if your response is really proportionate to the actual situation in this moment.

Change the Narrative

Notice how these feelings do not serve you when you focus on them. Realize that it’s time to shift and find ways you can reach for a feeling of relief. GO ahead and find any excuse to make you feel good and utilize any technique that allows you to let go of the resistance you are feeling.

  • Stop and focus on your breathing
  • Change your perspective and look at the situation from another point of view
  • Take the time to understand why you’re being triggered and send your focus in the opposite direction

You have the power to choose how you respond and how you use your energy each day. Choose to appreciate who you are and live in the moment. This is a practice of conscious choice and being present in the uniqueness of the moment. Take control, accept responsibility, and be aware that your perspective, response, and results belong to you alone. You know it’s time for even more.

If not now, when?

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