Top 3 steps to take when you’re triggered

We all get triggered. A work trigger may be a colleague who always says something unpleasant or a team member who seems to routinely speak on the same topic. The trigger may even be the boss who keeps saying, “Stop doing that”. Do any of these examples ring a bell?

These triggers can result in anger and stress. The real question is: why are you triggered? You are triggered because it touches something inside of you. After the incident, all you can think of is how to retort the next time you have such an experience.

Yet, the next time you’re triggered, there is a high chance you will forget that witty answer you spent so much time concocting. Or worse, in the case where you remembered the witty answer, you find out that the witty answer actually made no sense at all. “Witty” goes out the window. 

A better way to use your time should be to find the answer to this question:  how can you actually treat these triggers

Here is a fun way to approach this situation:

You know you’re going to mull it over. You’re going to feel triggered and when this happens, you are going to dwell on it. But this time, ask yourself some basic questions that will fine-tune that focus. 

1) What actually triggered me? 

An important step to managing triggers is to first identify them. Going through this process will help you understand why you react the way you do. Was it what someone said? Maybe it was how the person said it. Or was it a combination of a couple of things? 

 2) Why did it trigger me?

You are responsible for your life and how you feel about yourself. To stay afloat, you need to address triggers before they ruin your life. Always find time to reflect on why something or someone gave you that emotional rush. Ask yourself why you get triggered. What is the underlying belief? Is it something you are not comfortable with? Is this a trigger that tells you that you are dumb, too big, too small, too out there, or too introverted? What is the trigger saying about you? 

 3) So what? 

Figuring this out is a key step. Once you get to the root cause, ask yourself one more question: What’s the worst thing that might happen if that worst-case scenario you fear occurs? 

Deciphering these questions won’t stop you from brooding over the trigger or feeling the effect. But answering these questions makes the whole reflection process more interesting, insightful and fruitful. Why? Triggers are never about the other person triggering you; the triggers are always about you. The focus is on you and not who pressed the trigger button. Now, when you ask yourself these three questions, you clearly shift your focus to yourself. In other words: you put yourself in the spotlight. 

Next time you’re triggered, go through this process, think about these questions, and enjoy the spotlight! You are in the driver’s seat.

Are you easily triggered? Are your triggers threatening to ruin your efforts to stay on top? Do you want to talk about this? Book a Discovery Call. You can read more about me here.

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