This article is the transcript of an episode on a podcast I made responding to a question I got.
Listen to the Podcast on Spotify
I got a question recently about how to manage a moment of a trigger.
And. I thought it was worth sharing it here as well.
So the first thing when we talk about triggers. I think it's really important to recognize the context.
And I work a lot with women. And I know. In period time, for some it will be a week, for some, it will be 10 days. Before our system go into some higher sensitivity I would say and many times it creates this openness or this likelihood. For more triggers.
So something that's maybe in a normal day will. Not be, so triggering or will be handled. With less activation in our system in this period of time, sometimes is more likely to create this high activation and more symptomatic activation in us. So I think it's really important to acknowledge. That. And. It doesn't have to be, yeah. For us women, the time before our period. I think for many of us if we didn't have enough sleep or had a lot of alcohol or other things in our system, or we experience a lot of stress in our work environment or in our family. We are our system going to this more sensitivity, more stress hormones are involved, and fewer things that regulate our system and support it. And then we are getting into the zone of being more likely to get triggered.
And I think it's really important to acknowledge this context, to acknowledge the technology to ourselves and sometimes even to say like hey to myself like I'm in the week before or I didn't sleep well in the last two nights. So to give us this break. And sometimes it's also to communicate it. In the contact, we are triggered. Before the fight heats up, or before it gets this huge thing just put it there. It doesn't mean my emotions are wrong. It doesn't mean all these things, but it's just like creating this space and when our system experience triggers, what we want is to support ourselves, to create more space in us.
So after we did that, we put our focus on the context and what is happening in our system and a little bit of the bigger picture of what's happening at this moment.
We go to the facts, and the facts are based on our outer sensations. So I hear, I see, I smell. Yeah, go by our senses. "I heard you say", "I see you do", whatever it is in front of the person, the facts of the factual reality of what is happening. "I have a flight to catch and I didn't travel during this time, these years of COVID and now it's really stressful for me to do that again". Yeah, that's factual. Reality.
And then I start to go down into my system, my body. So first I want to encourage you to find the physical location of where your trigger. Where is it in your body that you feel the activation? So is it in your chest? Is it in your belly? Is it where is it? And take your palm. If it's. OK, for you. And place it there.
And when doing it, start noticing sensations. Is it warm? Is it cold? Is it?
Burning or tingling or what is it? What is this sensation? How is it for you?
Notice it. And give some words to describe it. Even if it's just to yourself. And then what emotion is present for you there? Is it fear? Is it anger? Is it a shame? Is it sadness?
And at the same time, I want you to notice. What happened in your cognitive fields? What is your interpretation? Of this trigger. What is your imagination? What do you have on it or the story, the narrative? Become aware of it.
What is your reasoning in a way you're meaning-making all of this?
And for a second, just hold this with your palm that is placed there. Just hold. These parts. Or ask someone to hold it with you.
And the context we mention in the beginning can be also communicated here if it's too. The person who triggered us or it's to yourself? "hey, I'm exactly in this time or I didn't have enough sleep". Just like that. Give yourself this break. It's OK that I feel this now.
And maybe I could revisit and see how I feel about it in a few hours or a few days. See if the meaning I make is the same.
And last you can recognize if you have any impulses. So my impulse is to. Fight back or run away or shut down or go to sleep or whatever it is for you.
We don't aim or try to change it, try to move away from it.
We're just being present with all these layers of us. For a few minutes.
And if it's possible for us, we communicate it either with ourselves. Or with the person. That is with us. That has to do with this trigger.
"So I'm in this time where I didn't sleep. And I feel this nauseous in my belly."
"And I'm afraid. The fact was like I have a flight tomorrow. I didn't take a flight for two years."
"Is it going to be OK? Or do I need to know something?" all the stories that narratives around it.
And for a second just to be with it.
I will just say that this model is based on a communication model that is called the bodyknot from the Bodynamic system from the somatic psychology system, the Danish system.
And it's a model that I really like, I love using it in my personal life and in my practice.
And after a few minutes. I encourage you to move a little bit to your neck so you can do it by just like scan with your eyes the room around you. Look at different pictures on the wall, the ceilings, the door, the. I don't know what details you have there, but just like, encourage your neck to be in movement very slowly. By scanning with your eyes the room around you. Just a little bit of what we call in somatic psychology reorientation.
Also, when you finish you can do a little check-in. Was it effective? Was it good for you? Did IT support you? Was it more triggering? Or was it kind of neutral? It didn't change much?
And that's a way to get an indication of what's happening within us and if tools we are trying. Support us or not? And maybe today it will not. Maybe tomorrow suddenly it will. So this is how we tune in to Check, to get a sense of what happened in my system when I did that.
I will sum it up by saying that so many times, we run away from our triggers.
We have behaviors in us and different ways of moving away, running away from it, to distract ourselves from it.
And that's OK to do sometimes when things are too much for us.
But our triggers, our symptoms, our pains want attention. Want to be listened to.
And from my experience, with the work with people. Many times when we take this time to be present with it. Similar to what we did here. Everything. Reduce everything comes. A little bit more down.
So I would love to hear about your experiences with it as well.
You're welcome to write. Writing down or writing. To our mail.
And. See you or. I'll be with you. In their next one. Chao.