What you will learn from this blog:
- Getting triggered is not a bad thing; it is an opportunity to know yourself better.
- Triggers could indicate that our needs are not being met; our boundaries are being crossed; or that the current situation is bringing up our past trauma.
- 5 steps to how you can overcome and manage these triggers through emotional support and improve your mental health
We’ve all experienced this – something our partner or someone says or does makes us feel extremely frustrated, angry, or makes us panic. And when this happens, we react by:
- Raising our voice or saying something sarcastic or hurtful
- Over-explaining ourselves
- Going silent while having all sorts of negative thoughts
Such reactions can seriously affect our relationships and our mental health.
This blog explains what it means to be triggered and how to manage it better.
Why do we get triggered?
The first thing to know is that being triggered is not a bad thing in itself. It is how we react to the trigger that makes it good or bad.
Our emotional triggers are signals trying to tell us something about ourselves, for example:
- That our needs are not being met
- That our boundaries are being crossed
- That something about the current situation is bringing up our past trauma
Here are 5 steps on how we can manage our triggers better and listen to the signals through our experience of emotional support therapy at Intracresco:
Step 1: Notice you are triggered
Swap from being in the emotion to observing the emotion.
Notice where the emotion is showing up in your body, and the physical sensations accompanying the emotion. Allow yourself to fully feel the emotion.
Step 2: Validate the emotion
See that emotion as important and valid. Say to the emotion, “I am here for you. You are safe. I am here to listen to you.”
Validation does not mean agreeing with the emotion. It means seeing that there is a reason for the emotion to be there; rather than dismissing the emotion (for example, saying there is something wrong with it, etc).
For example, if the emotion feels, “I am useless”, instead of agreeing with that, say “I can see how given what happened you would feel that way.”
Step 3: Listen to the emotion
After you feel a little relief from feeling the emotion, this next step is understanding as much as you can about the emotion.
Ask yourself: “Why is this emotion coming up? What does it want to say or do? What does it need, or what is it looking for?”
Allow the emotion to express everything it wants to express.
Step 4: Address the needs of the emotion
ONLYafter you fully feel, express and understand the emotion, can you move on to this next step. If you take action or go into solution mode too soon, it will suppress the emotion.
The emotion might need to be heard, validated, appreciated, cared for, loved, respected, rested, played, etc. Here are some things we can do to resolve emotions:
- Change your perspective
- Communicate what you feel to the relevant people
- Find ways to meet your unmet needs
- Channel the emotion positively (for example, anger can be used to drive your passion or purpose)
Step 5: Thank the emotion
Thank the emotion for telling you what it needs to say. You have two options here to conclude the process:
- Embrace the emotion and allow it to merge back into you, or
- Mentally release the emotion into the earth where it can be purified
Remember that these steps are only a guide, not a formula that will achieve a positive outcome every time.
In reality, the implementation of these steps is messy and depends on the trauma we have experienced. For example, some may find it very challenging to manage their anger because their childhood trauma made them suppress their anger at a very deep level.
Every individual is different. What is important is that you are committed and willing to work on bettering yourself.
Sometimes you might succeed in implementing these steps, sometimes you might not. But every time, you learn more about yourself and grow wiser.
That said, sometimes deep traumas may keep a person stuck in unhealthy patterns no matter how much willpower they have to break out of it and affect their mental health. Seeking professional help to resolve those traumas can help bring about a breakthrough for the person.