|Triggers as Teachers|
|Triggers make us human. They happen to us at work, in relationships, and in interactions with complete strangers.A trigger is an unhealed emotional wound.|
The level of emotions you experience gives you insight in to how long the trigger has gone suppressed.It’s not that triggers are bad, they actually give us an opportunity to observe and reflect which enables us to heal. If this sounds simple, it’s because it is. At the same time it’s so difficult to practice because we are having a subconscious reaction during an emotional trigger.Our reaction is literally below our awareness, which is why if another person is involved it can leave them feeling completely confused.In healing triggers, we change the way we perceive the world around us and our interactions with the people in it. If we can identify triggers and separate ourselves from the emotional reaction, we gain insight.How to identify triggers.1. Set an intention to see them
Start your day with an intention to see and learn from your triggers. Say to yourself, or better yet, pray and ask God to illuminate them. “I want to be able to see my emotional triggers today so that I can be aware of what’s causing them, instead of reacting. Help me to take my thoughts, feelings and emotions captive.”2. Get a journal or notebook
Writing is powerful because our busy minds cannot always see and log patterns. Using a journal to write down times you were triggered, how you felt, and how you reacted will give you valuable data. As you write and read past reactions you’ll learn so much about things you couldn’t see before.
Let’s say that someone makes a comment to you at work. You feel your blood boil and it throws your energy off for hours afterwards. Taking 3-5 minutes to write down what happened as well as the thoughts and feelings you’re having each time something like this happens will help you for the next step.3. Find the “why”
We think other people are triggering us, but they’re just holding mirrors up to our triggers. For every emotional reaction, there is a root underlying cause. Usually this comes from childhood or a past emotionally powerful moment or trauma. The more you observe instead of reacting the more insight you will receive. When you can understand why you react emotionally in different situations, you open yourself to choice in how you react.Now that you have set an intention to identify and learn from your triggers, you’ll need to know how to get through them when they come up.Here’s how to use triggers for growth:1. Feel the emotion as positive.
Re-label what you are feeling as negtive to positive. Allow the emotion to go through you. Try not to just react to it. Acknowledge it is real, but view it as something that can help you.
2. Practice observationWe have been in a subconscious habit of reacting to our triggers. In the beginning observing the trigger will feel almost impossible. Use your journal to write down what your feeling even if it doesn’t make sense.
Every time you observe your reaction, acknowledge how difficult this was and assign a positive emotion to the experience. For example; If your insecurity is triggered, it’s pointing to a vulnerable area that you need healing in, or need to correct an erroneous view of yourself. Don’t forget, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”3. Lock in your progress
Use this affirmation as often as needed. Say this while connecting to the emotion of gratitude; “I am grateful for this emotion and what it can teach me.” Linking any thoughts with emotion helps to actually change you. Thoughts and feelings together are very powerful.4. Be mindful of your new relationship to emotions
With some presence and practice you will begin to see how your ideas around emotions are shifting. You become lighter and more willing to have a different emotional experience. Each time this is practiced you become more aware of your own behaviors, habits and thoughts. Self-awareness will be your reward.5. Release
Learn not to “take things on”. Letting things go, not needing to retaliate, justify yourself, blame, seek vengeance, etc. Pursue inner peace that God wants you to have. Forgive quickly.
Adapted/The Holistic Psychologist/BH