What did we learn?
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?
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?
The energy in the room was high. Then in a reflective moment one participant shared “I can relate to that” and tears started to flow freely.
The atmosphere changed.
We had already created a safe environment for sharing that day, but the authenticity in the room soared to a different level. Attentively, everyone focused on the personal story being shared. It was a moment of high emotion and an intimate turning point in the workshop. In opening up in such a manner the participant had taken a great risk in approaching a vulnerable area in their life by sharing it so deeply. The silence was palpable.
Unwittingly, by speaking so candidly and tenderly, the participant had completely engaged everyone in the room.
Then it happened.
I watched, as those on either side felt impressed to reach out in a compassionate and reassuring way by physically touching our storyteller.
The whole experience had a profound effect on all of us in the room. There was a feeling of connection, togetherness and unity for a fleeting moment in time.
Deep and meaningful learning moments come quite unexpectedly at times. When they do, don’t be afraid to welcome them, gently explore them, embrace them and cherish them….forever.
Can you reach out and touch someone today?