With the holidays upon us, I know spending time with family and close loved ones can come with all sorts of triggers. What are ‘triggers’ you ask? Being triggered is a term that “has been casually used to refer to the experience of having an emotional reaction to some type of disturbing content or anything that reminds [us] of a traumatic experience and can make [us] feel like [we’re] experiencing the trauma all over again” (Cuncic, 2020). A trigger is an unhealed emotional wound that gives us an opportunity to observe and reflect which helps and enables us to heal (The Holistic Psychologist, 2018).
“If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.” -Ram Dass. The people who think that they know us the most tend to get ‘under our skin’ the easiest— the older brother who thrives on picking on us, the judgemental little sister or mom who might not agree with our actions, for example. To be clear, many of us have our own personal triggers from deep wounding that started when we were young or from past traumatic events and yet, it doesn’t mean that we don’t love one another. In fact, I believe that when we are triggered, it shows that we care. A lot. It’s really our body & mind that are trying to protect us from future traumatic events. The ‘goal’ is to begin to understand what we are triggered by (identify it), detach from the trigger, re-center, and focus on our coping strategy.
I have realized the importance of standing in my own personal energetic and emotional sovereignty (having supreme power or authority) every day. This includes when I spend time with my family, my spouse, friends, when I am out in public, on a phone call or even scrolling social media. Knowing that I am in full control over my own actions, energy and emotions has been the key to managing my own needs and not wavering in that. Setting boundaries and not allowing someone else’s energy to penetrate my own mood or energetic system has been paramount. As adults, we are fully responsible for how we respond to every circumstance. Although we may think that it is the other person who is triggering us, they are simply our mirror and reflection for our trigger. We have CHOICE in how we react. Isn’t that empowering?!
I love using essential oils as a companion to supporting myself emotionally. ADAPTIV is a must I my toolbag!
Here’s some tips that have been helpful for me:
1. Choosing to take care of my own needs first. I know this sounds too simple to be true, but hydrating, eating, moving my body, all have profound effects on my mood. Showing up with my essential needs met is of the utmost importance. Nourishment is key. I ask myself throughout the day: what do I need right now?
2. Taking a few deep breaths prior to interacting with people (and during). At least 3 deep inhales in and out the nose can changes my state instantly. I love using essential oils as a companion to supporting myself emotionally— ADAPTIV from dōTERRA is my favorite as it’s amazing at diffusing restless an anxious feelings.
3. Grounding into my own body and energy system (breathing, noticing our body, our feet on the floor, ect) is key. Here’s a grounding meditation if you’d like to try: (https://youtu.be/apjb9BRuNhY).
4. Minimizing distractions by keeping my phone put away and staying present. Dissociation is something that is very common when I am around people or doing things that I might be triggered by. However, when I am fully present, I have more control over how I respond to any given situation.
5. Maintaining clear boundaries and only saying yes when it is something that truly feels in alignment to me.
6. Journaling— it has been a fantastic way to manage stress, improve health and happiness. I love morning pages!
7. Sitting with my emotions. Sometimes all it takes is walking away from the situation and taking a minute to really feel the energy flowing through my body. Emotions are energy in motion—I acknowledge it and breathe. Simply observing my trigger instead of reacting to them right away has had profound effects on my self-awareness and also my relationships!
8. Unconditional Welcoming—I have to remind myself that it is okay to feel triggered. It’s also important to feel emotions. That’s the human experience! The key is to notice and to have awareness around when I am feeling triggered. Taking a moment, breathing into it, and welcoming the feeling. When I allow these feelings to visit, witness and welcome them, they pass through my body and don’t last nearly as long as when I resist them.
9. Non-judgement— also known as ahimsa in yoga. Practicing non-judgement when I have feelings arise is one of the best ways to welcome all the colors of my feelings. Practicing this tool has been paramount in my life—my feelings aren’t always joy and bliss and that’s the beauty of life! Releasing judgments around emotions such as anger, shame or even rage has allowed myself to really experience the fullness of the felt experience.
10. Working with a therapist or professional who can help. Therapy has been extremely helpful for me to understand my own triggers and to also understand my family dynamics more clearly. Therapy is cool and works!
Remember: we are each responsible for how we respond to every circumstance. Although we may think that it is the other person who is triggering us, they are simply our mirror and reflection for our trigger. We have CHOICE in how we react.
How have you been working to manage how you respond to triggers? Reply here!
Remember: we are each responsible for how we respond to every circumstance.
BECOME A BZEN INSIDER!
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