How to Heal Emotional Triggers in 5 Steps
Emotional Triggers and How to Work With Them
I wanted to talk to you about triggers. In our Ultimate Health Facebook Group, sometimes there are a few words that come up that feel a bit jargon-like! Triggers, or bring triggered is one of them!! So I wanted to break down the meaning and talk about triggers and being triggered.
When I talk about triggers in respect of what I do and how I understand them, they come in two forms. There are the physical form triggers that you would have heard me talk about when I talk about food or addictions and things like that. There’s also the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual sensation or experience, of being triggered.
These are possibly two of the same, but they actually feel quite different to me in my perception. The first feels like a trigger that happens to your body, the latter, within your body.
I wanted to talk to you about feeling or being triggered and what being triggered can bring up for you, whether you’ve ever felt triggered before, and 5 simple steps to follow if you do feel triggered.
I had never heard of this word 'TRIGGER' until about three years ago and then I started hearing it more and more and becoming more aware of it. I still didn’t really have a sense of how that felt in my body until under a year ago when there was a situation that arose and I was literally thrown into a 'fight or flight' mode. I couldn’t stop myself from reacting in that panic, anxious, and unconscious way. It was very clear that I wasn’t thinking straight, in hindsight.
That is when I realised what it meant to me in terms of feeling triggered or being triggered. I realised that through times in my life, I have had those triggered feelings but just not been completely conscious of what they were and why they were coming up and what they were coming up to show me about myself.
I was not completely aware of what they were because to me it just felt like I was out of control or was having a breakdown and couldn’t stop myself crying. I was feeling depressed.
I was also reaching for comfort foods and using those as a tool of comfort; which we all know is not a good thing! Do you know anyone who does the same?
But pre-breakthrough for me in my spiritual awakening journey, every time I was faced with some kind of trigger, this out-of-control feeling, this fight or flight mode, food was my saviour, and in that respect, triggers/trigger foods eased my feelings of being triggered!
For other people it might be different things - it could be alcohol, cigarettes, sex, shopping, it could be a whole assortment of things that might connect us to feeling good; even if only for a short while.
**ASIDE NOTE ENDS**
There are various spectrums of being triggered; there are various degrees as well. There are degrees of just feeling this in your body where you just feel you’ve not got a good feeling, you’ve had a 'bad' emotional reaction, or something feels unsettled in your body right through to hysteria - feeling like the whole world is against you and you don’t know what to do. You’re stuck. You're feeling like you’re bouncing off the walls and you can’t bring yourself back to ground.
Various things in our lives can create these triggered feelings. It can be confrontation, it can be stress, it can be an argument, it can be overhearing something, or it can be sensing something that maybe is completely unwritten or unverbalised as well.
What has prompted me to do this blog today is a quotation image that says “Life is amazing and then it’s awful and then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful, it’s ordinary, it’s mundane, it’s routine. So breathe in the amazing, hold on to the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living. It’s heart-breaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life.”
That’s being human and we have to embrace this feeling of being triggered at times as part of it because when triggers come up inside of us it’s our opportunity to learn to listen to our body and to acknowledge that there’s something in there that doesn’t feel quite right for us.
So then we can look at it in all its glory and learn from it.
You know I promote you to reach out, to be authentic, and to share if you need to in my online Facebook group. So in total transparency, for about three days I’ve been in that triggered state. I’ve been in that state where the mind has been going a bit crazy, I’m not sure what to think and I’m not sure how to deal with something, I’m not sure what my gut is trying to tell me although deep down I probably do, and it’s all of those human feelings that we sense in ourselves that we try and push down; doubt, fear, rejection, anger, sadness, to name just a few!
What I want to encourage you to do is if you have these feelings or if you’re feeling it right now - because there does seem to be this undercurrent of this happening quite a lot for a lot of people at the moment, everything I’m reading and seeing seems to be to some degree people are experiencing these kinds of feelings at the moment - is not to push them down.
Be with them. Sit with them. By sitting with them I don’t mean suffer; I mean work through them.
Two years ago, my kneejerk reaction to feeling like this would have been to comfort eat, sit and wallow.
What I’ve been doing this last few days is the most incredibly empowering stuff.
I have literally journalled pages and pages of stuff that’s just coming out to guide me, to support me, to show me without being completely biased with my own perspective what all the other perspectives could possibly be of all the people involved and also what part my Ego is playing, by curiously asking how is my beautiful Ego trying to protect me in this respect as well?
One of the most powerful things I just felt drawn to do was to actually state exactly why it is I’m feeling so triggered right now.
I hope as I share these with you, if you have ever felt this way, you can use these as a guide to help you through it too.
1: Why is it I’m feeling this way?
Literally jotting down all of the things, situations and experiences that are making you feel this overwhelmed, triggered feeling.
2: Allow yourself to really dive in to what emotions this situation is triggering.
Emotions like sadness, frustration, confusion, overwhelm, worry, all of these things. Force yourself not to deny them anymore, to just allow them to come up onto your page with tears, with emotions, and with honesty - complete, powerful transparency.
3: Write down exactly what physical feelings this is bringing up in you.
No word of a lie, for myself, looking at the reason I am triggered, the cravings have been coming back. I’m just human like everybody else. This situation is a different trigger for me as opposed to the one I healed around my dad that used to cause the eating problems, so it is simply a different layer that has not yet been seen.
Actually, this is coming from a completely different pathway in my brain that’s again bringing me to that source of comfort which for me is food. Luckily for me I’m conscious of it now and I’m able to see this inside of me and work with it without unconsciously reaching for the food-I have a choice. The other physical feelings are stomach-ache and headache. Back pain is also a really common one for me when I have emotional stuff going on.
Go on, its your turn now!
Once you've done that, go through the process of working out the thoughts that you're thinking around this.
Really breaking down “It’s not just this situation; it’s actually the thoughts, the feelings, and the emotions going on in and around me”.
This is the physical, the mental, the emotional, and of course the energetic aspect of this happening-you are looking at ALL of your layers and all of your bodies now.
4: Break it down into what beliefs these emotions are leading to.
Do you know what one of the main one usually is?
I am not (good/clever/wanted/loveable/fill blank) enough.
Isn’t it interesting how this comes up for everybody?
It can come up with different layers, different cloaks, and different disguises every single time. But as you start to break this down you will feel it releasing. Seeing and observing the wisdom your body is holding to allow you to pay attention to this and to see what it is you need to do to be able to move forward is EMPOWERING with a capital EEEEEE!
What it is in your body you need to listen to to allow you to trust that gut instinct; to listen to your heart and to listen to your head?
5: And then the final piece is to reframe these old beliefs.
If your belief is that you are not feeling good enough, you can switch this to “Of course I am enough!” or "Why I’m I enough?" Turn it into an affirmation!
As you do this exercise, feel the power in your pen as you are writing. Feel this energy changing in your shoulders, in your neck, in your head, your heart. Feel there places in your body already starting to physically relax.
That power for you may not be through journalling; it might be through talking to somebody, it might be through voice memoing, it might be by colouring or allowing yourself to move in to some knitting or crotchet - something that allows you to move into this stream of consciousness to process things, to consciously think about them but also allow your subconscious as well as your ego to be involved in this with real curiosity rather than “You shouldn’t do this because... you can’t do this because... this is hard… you shouldn’t be doing this… don’t do this to yourself.”
Yes, let them come up but then look at it from every single avenue that you possibly can.
The very last part of the healing is to fill a page full of things you are grateful for.
Go to town on them!
Some of them are little. Some of them are just the fact that you can breathe, you can see, you can hear, you have access to incredible supportive communities that you can share in. By you sharing things like these you are giving others' permission to do the same for themselves.
But also be grateful for the bigger things, like the incredible business you have, your partner, children, spiritual tools you love, having the home comforts like a dishwasher and a tumble dryer. Literally just dredge every part of your brain to bring in all the incredible stuff you want to feel and be grateful for to bring your body back into alignment for the incredible stuff that this world has available for you, rather than feeling stuck in that triggered state where you are in confusion. If you feel like everything is against you. you feel quite negative. But this feels completely different, right?
As you do this, as you start to bring yourself into the positivity having worked through those steps, raising your vibration, everything starts to lighten and brighten and lift and starts to change. And it’s not always rapid - it has still taken me a couple of days in the past to a couple of weeks.
When you are feeling light enough and bright enough to really look at it with more gratitude, more things you are appreciative for, more things you are able to work towards, and also what it is you have to look forward to when you listen to your gut instinct and know what it is that you need to do and what you are called to do.
It’s in that lightness, that brightness, that you can start to see the power you have to have worked through this process rather than pushing it to one side and burying it deep. When you push it to one side it will only come back, the next time you’re triggered, twice as strong, if not more and twice as hard, if not more.
So why not work with it when it’s there?
Why not allow yourself just to function, just to be without makeup, just to cry, just to let these things come up, to be angry, to be sad, to be frustrated, and to be confused? Why not allow it to come up?
Give it permission because as you do that you realise that it’s actually not as hard as you thought it was going to be.
Mostly in that moment that you give it permission it kind of diffuses and goes, “Okay; I can release this now.”
Then, in starting to understand how it has come about, why it has come about, how you can reframe it to make it even more powerful, you’re letting go of the hold it has on you, for good.
It happens to all of us. You may think “I’m healed”, you may think “I’m superhuman” sometimes although I hope you don’t, but it happens to all of us and it’s normal. This is part of us. When you come through this - you're going to be wiser, you're going to be stronger, you're going to have even more power about your self-belief and your self-worth than you have ever had.
Actually, there are only good things that can come from this, absolutely only good stuff!
I know that these days and that’s why I’m willing to work through these things. And that’s why I see now that two years ago I wasn’t willing to go through these things which is why food became the crutch and which is why now in this situation it hasn’t even been there. I haven’t allowed myself to move through that despite those cravings coming up and despite this old subconscious habit saying, “Come on, you can do it. Go to the food.”
No, I’m not available for that anymore. I’m all for working through this!
You can do that too.
It does require a decision.
It does require a choice.
It does need courage and curiosity.
But you all have it in you to do this.
I believe in you.
Believe in yourself enough that you’re worth it.
Respect yourself enough and love yourself enough to know that it’s worth going through those difficult triggered periods to allow you to become better, lighter, brighter, happier, more confident, and believe in yourself even more than you ever have done as well.
I’m sending you so much love.
If you’re feeling triggered then don’t be afraid to work through it - journal it, write it down, knit through it, crotchet it, or draw it. Whatever that is, allow yourself to be with it and work through it with every spectrum of emotions.
If you feel you need support to work through a situation like this that is affecting you, then reach out or look at the options to work with me.