How to Respond to Triggers!
So, what’s a trigger? A trigger causes an intense and usually negative emotional reaction.
Triggers are moments when our emotions go on high alert, come in various forms, and have the potential to shape our interactions.
We encounter a spectrum of triggers ranging from emotional, sensory, environmental, and social.
Trigger symptoms encompass a range of emotional reactions, which can cause us to feel unsafe, or experience panic or anxiety attacks.
Physical manifestations may raise our heart rate, cause sweating, or breathing difficulties.
This may prompt the need to escape, avoid, ruminate about negative thoughts or experience mood changes.
Others may experience past traumatic events, which can contribute to anger or sadness.
Understanding your triggers, and managing symptoms is crucial.
Sensory Overload Triggers!
So, let’s start by talking about sensory or environment triggers, which can involve stimuli related to:
👉🏻 Strong odors
👉 Bright lights
👉🏻 Loud sounds
👉 Spicy foods
👉🏻 House temperature
Being overstimulated by sensory overload, can cause a flight, fright or freeze response. For those of us who are HSPs, it might be helpful to plan ahead if you know you will exposed to these types of situations, and learn coping tools with mechanisms in place.
You can read more about this at focusyourtime.com/hspcopingstrategies/
Outside Environmental Triggers!
Next let’s talk about environmental triggers which are related to external surroundings and may show up as:
👉 Extreme weather temperatures
👉🏻 High pollen counts
👉 Forest fire smoke and smell
👉🏻 Bright sunlight
👉 Noises from wildlife, thunderstorms, or windstorms
Managing your well-being in these types of environments involves awareness, and taking necessary precautions to stay comfortable and safe.
Sensory overload and environmental triggers originate from elements in our surroundings, and are not caused by interactions with other people.
Now let’s talk about emotional and social triggers, which stem from interactions and relationships.
First let’s explore emotional triggers.
Emotional triggers can evoke strong responses, often tied to personal experiences, or beliefs.
Many times we’re around people, who can intentionally or unintentionally push our buttons by:
👉🏻 Invading your personal space
👉 Insulting you and making offensive and rude remarks
👉🏻 Intimidating or threatens you
👉 Interrupting, lying, criticizing, correcting you, or making false accusations
👉🏻 Ignoring you
I know it’s hard not to immediately react, but with these types of triggers it’s best to consciously take a pause, before responding.
One way to do this is by quickly feeling the ground beneath your feet, or the texture of an object in order to anchor yourself in the present moment.
You could also try observing your breath, or paying attention to surroundings.
Additionally, you could look at something pleasant on your phone, or hold a healing crystal as a tangible source of comfort.
To prepare yourself in the future, where you know you could be triggered, you could create boundaries with scripted responses to practice beforehand.
Now, let’s talk about things that can cause social triggers involving interactions with people, such as:
These triggers could make you feel defensive, sad, frustrated, or uncomfortable and affect how you act and feel in social situations, making you respond based on what’s happening around you.
We all have certain triggers and once activated, it’s best to resist the immediate temptation to react, because that immediate response can become deeply ingrained, and turn into a bad habit.
To break this cycle, instead of reacting, we must learn to catch ourselves in the moment, by finding a brief pause that allows us to make a different and deliberate choice before responding.
Mindful Thinking and Practice!
An article in TinyBuddha.com says that “Giving yourself even a few extra seconds before reacting can make a difference. Pressing the pause button gives you a chance to rewind, make a good choice, and then press play again to continue in a better way”.
To be effective, like everything else, this does require mindful thinking and practice.
It is crucial to remember, that when we are confronted by social or emotional triggers, our emotional response is influenced by our own thoughts and interpretations of what transpired.
As Epictetus reminds us “Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.”
So, realizing that we do have control over how we react to stressful situations, empowers us to choose responses that serve us better, and helps us build better connections.
As Victor Frankl once said, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
TOPIC: How to Respond to Triggers!
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