What sets you off?
It might be the person you hold the door open for, who never says “thank you”.
The drivers who don’t indicate.
Or something much closer to home.
As David Richo explains in his book Triggers, “We hear mention of a person, place or thing that is associated with an unresolved issue or past trauma and we immediately feel ourselves seize up with sadness, anger, fear or shame. When any of this happens we can be sure a trigger has been pulled.”
Here’s something you could try:
This week, set the intention to Know Your Trigger. In the book, Richo explains: ‘Naming is a primary way of dealing with a trigger. Making a list of familiar, often repeated triggers leads us to be on the lookout for them, to have a plan to deal with them.” E.g. you could say “I’m recognising this as one of my triggers, I need to measure my response to this. I can handle it by…” and then listing some healthy coping strategies. A qualified counsellor or a good friend you trust may also be able to help you work through them.
Richo also recommends keeping a journal of your usual reactions, by knowing what you tend to do when something’s set you off, again acknowledging how you can choose to respond instead. If you know there is a specific source to the trigger, see what positive steps you can take to manage your exposure to it. In the same way, if you know a trigger is your own thoughts about it, you could choose an alternative statement for your thinking, or see if mindfulness would help.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2020