Triggers: 5 Ways to Deal with Them Head On

Most of us have heard of the word trigger by now – you may even know about it through therapy or other types of inner work. Thankfully for exciting reasons, our world is becoming more psychological so much so that the concept of triggers is becoming well known. But as I always say in my blogs and podcast, The Consciousness Salon – episode 6 on Triggers, repetition cannot be underestimated. The more we hear important ideas especially those that will help us in our lives the more they will become an integrated part of who we are.

So back to triggers – here is the definition: triggers are an event or a series of events and/or experiences that set off a succession of feelings connected to big or small traumas from our past. They are very personal in nature and when ignited feel really big — much bigger than the event occurring merits (your first clue).

Here are 5 Ways to Deal with Your Triggers Head On:

  • Know What is Happening – a trigger is when we experience something that is jarring, unpleasant, difficult, or challenging. When a trigger occurs a past wound is exposed that feels similar to your current situation, although this is not initially obvious as the connection can be vague and unconscious. We may get angrier that the situation calls for, we may act out against our best judgment or interest, we may harm others or ourselves, we may reach for unhealthy ways to self-soothe (excessive amounts of substances, food, sex, device use, risky and impulsive choices). All of these behaviors or a combo of them can happen when we are triggered.
  • There is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of: It happens to everybody and it can even happen when we are doing well – work may be going well; relationships are good and then wham! A trigger happens. The trigger can be big or small but what is significant is it derails us – it puts us in another state – a state of dysregulation. It is important to note that there is no shame in being triggered – we all have them – we all have challenges associated with our past experiences (no gets out of that one) and we are all vulnerable to getting triggered.
  • Know Your Triggers:  Second is to recognize when they are happening – that is the jump into consciousness and that is how you can get a hold of them instead of them having a hold on you. Then you can start managing them – once you know you are having one – then move to stop whatever behavior is making them worse. Then you are at the crux of your golden moment – use the trigger to learn about your unresolved traumas and core wounds so you can do what is necessary to heal them.
  • Triggers are a Doorway to Liberation: They may continue to come but the more you know you are in one the more you can take charge, manage it, heal it and release. This process leads to that internal liberation I keep talking about. With this work, you can focus more fully on your goals, your relationships, your psychological and spiritual interests, your life and all that is meaningful to you because – you guessed it –  you’ll have more energy to focus on your passions instead of dealing with the symptoms that come with unresolved traumas.
  • Do the Work: Once you realize you that you’ll have triggers – you have the opportunity to heal past wounds and traumas (big and small). This is one of the greatest gifts our pain can give us – the chance to evolve – suffering does have meaning and gives us the chance to heal, grow and live our most authentic lives.
  1. Go to a good therapist trained in the areas you need to work on (i.e. if you were raised in a narcissistic family go to someone that knows how to work this kind of trauma).
  2. Do somatic-oriented trauma work like EMDR, bodywork, reiki healing.
  3. Do ancestral trauma work – find out what traumas have been handed down intergenerationally and heal those.
  4. Heal the meta -traumas –those messages we have taken in from the collective and our cultural ideologies: internalized misogyny, LGBTQ-phobias, racism, toxic-masculinity, white-privilege and so on.
  5. Find psychological or spiritual communities that speak to you and definitely stay connected to those communities that you love and love you back – we need healthy relationships and community connections to thrive.

Doing all of the above work – I see it all the time with the people and communities I work with and within myself – everything I write and talk about I have worked on or experienced as well. I am sure you can tell my passion for inner work – I truly believe in its magic and it is a joy to share it with all I am connected to. Please pass this around to anyone you feel might also benefit from it.

With so much love,

Dr. Lauren