We all go through situations where our emotions were triggered at some point in our lives. But, our reactions to our emotional triggers are often excessive. Do your emotional triggers make you react negatively every time something undesirable or difficult happens? Are you tired of feeling like this?
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 into 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 emotional reactions, we gain insight.
How To Identify Triggers
1. Set an intention to see them.
In the morning in bed or (even better) during meditation set an intention to see and learn from your triggers. Say to yourself, “I want to be able to see my emotional triggers today so that I can become a better version of myself.”
Setting an intention begins to wire to the pathways of the brain to objectively view what you previously just reacted to.
2. Get a journal or notebook.
Writing is incredibly powerful because our busy minds cannot always see and log patterns. Using a journal to write down the 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 afterward. 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. 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.
Emotions change the chemistry of both the brain and the body, so understand that this is a process that takes a lot of work. At the beginning of this practice you will feel completely overwhelmed, but each time you do this you have an emotional breakthrough.