Got Triggers?

I do. Do you?

Triggers, you know, like people or things that just PRESS. YOUR. BUTTONS.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what it is about that person or experience that sets off the trigger. Sometimes you know exactly why.

Regardless of whether or not you know WHY you were triggered, these triggers can set off a cascade of reactions, actions and behaviors on our part that are perhaps our least desirable. We might get into fiery text /email /digital exchanges, or become passive aggressive, or even pedantic and lecturing. You know what I’m talking about — the kinds of actions or behaviors we’re not exactly proud of, that keep us up at night, that we go over and over in our heads and think about what we WISHED we had said.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

I propose you don’t exactly need to know why you’re becoming set off in order to take action and change course. Starting out with identifying the signs that you’re getting triggered can go a long way.

Some tips for beginning to manage triggers:

  1. REFLECT:  Think back on an instance like the one I describe above, one that left you stewing and reviewing, wishing you hadn’t “taken the bait.” Consider what thoughts or feelings you experienced during the course of that interaction, and then
  2. CAPTURE:  Write those thoughts and feelings down! And, as you capture them, consider other times you have experienced those same thoughts and feelings? Were they tied to another interaction you weren’t particularly proud of? Notice that.
  3. NOTICE + PAUSE:  Begin to notice when you experience them going forward. Pause to breathe through and try to gain some distance and perspective. This is the exact moment to make a different choice about your reactions and actions. I often find that knowing when to pause can effect a massive change.

What are your strategies for avoiding triggers?

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