What are triggers and why do we tend to avoid them?
A trigger is an event or instance that sets off an emotional reaction within us. A trigger could look like someone cutting you off in traffic, a coworker getting under your skin, or even a family member upsetting you unintentionally. Triggers can manifest as anger, anxiety, stress, or other “negative” emotions or reactions. Most of the world avoids their known triggers for that very reason – we don’t like the way they make us feel. This can lead to writing people, places or things out of your life entirely instead of acknowledging and resolving the deeper issue. The irony is, writing those things off doesn’t actually rid you of them, because that emotional baggage is still with you. So let’s reframe the way we look at triggers.
Trigger = Indicator
Let’s change the way we think about triggers. Remember: everything is working together for your good – trying to manifest the best and highest version of you. Instead of thinking of a trigger as a negative hindrance, think of it as an indicator or invitation into something deeper going on within you. A trigger is an old defense mechanism that’s outstayed its welcome, but we can’t just wish it away. So, can we turn a trigger into a healing, freeing gift? Can it help bring about our best self by giving us insight into our healing journey?
How can we use triggers to identify inner work?
A trigger can be the cause of an emotional outburst, or the reason you completely withdraw. The next time you experience feeling triggered, slow down, get alone, and ask yourself, “what just happened?” Did you feel anxious, angry, or stressed by that? Without judgment, keep asking yourself, “why?” Ask yourself if it genuinely affected you, where it came from, and if it keeps you from being you. All a trigger needs to provide inner healing is to be questioned mindfully, resolved internally, and then released.
React vs Respond
What’s the difference between reacting and responding to a trigger? When we feel triggered, our first instinct may be to react aggressively or defensively toward the person or thing that ‘triggered us’ – but when we mindfully choose to respond to a trigger, we’re able to observe what’s going on within ourselves. When we feel ourselves reverting back to our fight or flight instinct, we should take a step back and realize our emotions are indicators that there’s something deeper that needs to be addressed. Every time we choose to respond to a trigger, we take one step closer to resolving it entirely.
How do we know that we’ve resolved a trigger?
Triggers don’t always get resolved overnight, and that’s okay. We may even experience phantom triggers from things that used to bother us but don’t anymore. Or, we may never get to the bottom of something, but we learn to accept it and find that it resolves itself. The thing to remember is that healing isn’t linear. It can look like a lot of different things. It can sometimes feel like you’re taking two steps forward and one step back. What matters is that you honor your journey and give yourself grace and space in every step. When we prioritize our well-being with gratitude, trigger warnings become invites into healing and joy.
“Everything is working together for my good.”
When all is said and done, our most dreaded triggers are only trying to shed light on the areas that need healing. The quickest way to rewrite old thought patterns that don’t serve us anymore is to speak high vibration, life bringing affirmations over ourselves. This is where Soaak’s Mindful Intentions can serve us in a “triggered” moment. Saying the phrase “everything is working together for my good” will help retrain your brain in the moment to accept the trigger, move past it and heal it at your core.