Tag Archive for: emotional triggers


Do you pay attention to your feelings?

Yesterday, as we drove to Apeldoorn in the early morning for interviews, the traffic was worse than normal. Here in the Netherlands, it’s called “spitsuren” (rush hours). It was becoming clear that we were going to be late.

Sometimes we can all get caught up in a cycle of our own emotions and negativity.

Have you been there?

Remember, you have a choice. You have the ability to choose your response to any situation.

We can choose to vent our emotions and “fly off the handle” which may increase our stress levels.

Or we simply put a lid on them, which can also be ineffective and over time, even quite destructive.

So, what else can you do?

Self-management is key.

It is all about how you act, react, or whether you take no action at all.

Firstly, you need to be self-aware enough to understand yourself and what triggers your emotions to be able to manage them well. Being self-aware of our feelings is a prerequisite to regulating them.

Yesterday, Monic was my rescuer as she spoke calmly, gently and measuredly, suggesting some possibilities for next time – which all made sense to me!

“So, we’ll be late” she said…

Although she was traveling in the car with me, she’d been studying for over an hour and wasn’t directly invested in the problem at hand.  That really helped, by simply getting another perspective.

Secondly, learning to pause is a great way to control our emotions.

In its simplest form it may be simply counting to 10 in your head or stepping away from the situation somehow for 5 minutes before you decide how to act.

Thirdly, shift your mood.

Move your body around, put some upbeat music on, take a walk, give someone a hug, or talk to someone.  All of these can help.

Fourthly, ask yourself – what’s important now?

Be accepting that things go wrong! That’s life.  Rather than dwelling on what you can’t control focus on what you can control in the future, rather than dwelling on problems that have already passed.

Finally, one of my favourites is to consider “how will this look in 6 months’ time?”

That’s a simple way to put things into perspective on any situation. Will you even remember? How much energy do you want to expend on something that you won’t even be thinking about in a few days’ time!

How do you control your emotional triggers?

Emotional Triggers

You’re having a lovely civil conversation, then BOOM! Suddenly your blood pressure surges, you get agitated, you gasp for air, you raise your voice and you have a noticeable urge to throttle the other person…

What just happened?

Emotions kicked in, that’s what happened.

On two occasions this week, my “hot buttons” have been triggered.

So what are emotional triggers?

They can be almost anything. People, situations, words, opinions, can all provoke extreme and disproportionate emotional reactions within all of us, usually resulting in some kind of unhelpful behaviour. Often, the triggers can unconsciously remind us of past life events or maybe even long established beliefs from childhood.

So, what can you do?

In my case, I took some time to question why I was being triggered. Then I took even more time to pause, breathe, reflect. Then I chose to write down what actually happened in my journal. Capturing what emotions surfaced and what my reaction to the events were, actually helped me to have that inner dialogue with myself and understand what happened.

Another learning experience for sure, pausing, recognising the trigger and being able to change the response is key.

What are you emotional triggers and how do you control them?

Emotional Triggers

Why are we all in a hurry?

After a beautiful Sunday afternoon country walk, my wife, daughter and I drove into our street, to find it jam packed with cars on both sides of the road. As I pulled in, another vehicle was coming towards me. There was an immediate problem.

Options were limited for both vehicles. It felt more dangerous for me to reverse back onto the main road, so I made eye contact, waving my hand, suggesting to the female driver of the other vehicle to reverse. It was met with an aggressive look and piercing stare. Looking for alternatives, my wife suggested I mount the kerb on our side of the road. So I did. As the other vehicle passed by, the rude gesture and audible obscenity were a little disturbing.

A trivial incident – yet anger, hostility and frustration boiled over in an instant – an emotional trigger maybe? Perhaps there were a whole host of pressures going on for the other driver – I’ll never know.

In times past, I know too that I’ve had the occasional hot headed occasion.

Is there a road rager inside you?

In the heat of the moment, I was able to pause, breathe, relax and shift my focus elsewhere to avoid an emotional confrontation. There was some inner dialogue going on in my head for sure!

How do you handle emotional triggers?