Emotional triggers and how they affect our livesAugust 17, 2022 2022-08-17 10:39
Emotional triggers and how they affect our lives
Emotional triggers and how they affect our lives
In the past few weeks, I have been feeling compelled to bring awareness on self-awareness. I cannot stress enough how important it is for us to know ourselves especially if we are to recognize what triggers us.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”,
said Aristotle but I will add
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all healing”.
This is why I would like to elaborate on emotional triggers. First of all, we need to find what triggers us and then how to deal with it when we are triggered. This is an essential part of healing.
What are emotional triggers?
As I illustrated in my blog Self-awareness and the perception of the world around us, an emotional trigger is something that can provoke an intense negative emotion which might seem disproportionate to the situation at hand.
What this means is that what might seem as an inoffensive remark to a third party can cause a disproportionate or inexplicable emotional, physical or mental reaction.
What are some possible reactions?
Triggers trick he body and we immediately think that we are in danger. As a result, the body starts producing stress hormones.
These hormones are extremely useful when we are in real danger as they make us strong enough to either stay and fight, run away from danger or stay perfectly still and “play dead”. We have all heard stories of mothers lifting very heavy objects, like cars, to save their trapped babies, of people running and climbing up trees to avoid being attacked or of attack victims unable to move or make a sound.
However, when there is no actual danger whatsoever but we still feel threatened because of an emotional trigger, the responses may vary.
We might have an emotional response such as starting to cry, throwing a fit of anger, experiencing increased anxiety or panic. Sometimes we might experience physical symptoms like shaking, headaches, stomach aches or a sudden need to urinate or defecate among others. In people with auto-immune disorders, triggers can aggravate the respective symptoms or even provoke a relapse to patients in remission. There are also mental responses to triggers like brain fog (temporary and partial memory loss, inability to form and articulate ideas and arguments, disorientation etc.) or feeling completely disconnected.
A funny take on my personal experience with triggers
A few years back while in session with my therapist working on how I can stop being triggered or, as a first step, better manage my reactions when triggered, he said:
“Wouldn’t it be useful to say to yourself that these are completely different circumstances and that you are in no danger?”
I laughed and said:
“Can illustrate to you what it feels like to be triggered with a joke?”
“Go right ahead”, he said
The fastest thing in the world
At an international science convention, scientists from all over the world were gathered to determine what is the fastest force in the universe. Three were chosen to take the podium to present their research and support their theories with their findings. The first scientist who took the podium proudly stated:
“Dear colleagues, I have proof that the fastest force in the universe is the light. The minute I turn on the light switch in any room, the light goes on. There’s literally no time between my action and the result. Therefore, the light is the fastest force in the universe.”
The scientists in the audience started clapping and nodding. What the first speaker had said made perfect sense. All this until the second speaker started his presentation.
“As much as I respect my esteemed colleague, I have to disagree. The fastest force in the universe is the power of thought. We all think a million thoughts a second. We never cease thinking. One thought comes after the other with a speed faster than that of the speed of light. I don’t even need to prove it to you. How many thoughts have you had since I started speaking? I rest my case.”
Everybody in the audience felt dumbfounded. He was absolutely right. They started cheering and gave him a standing ovation.
At that moment, the third speaker took the stage.
“All this is nonsense” he said. “The fastest force in the world is diarrhoea!”, he proclaimed confidently.
“Diarrhea?” the audience cried out. “Are you serious?”
“Yes,” he said “and I can prove it. The last time I had diarrhea I had neither time to think nor to turn on the light…”
Well, this is what being triggered feels like. The stress hormones highjack your body, your mind and your emotions and you have no time to consciously react.
Oh! Yes! Hahahahaha 🤣 Spot on!!! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
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