In my last blog, I spoke about the differences between stressors and triggers and how to identify both. Stressors are things that cause internal or external pressure. Triggers are things or events that bring you back to past trauma. Triggers happen through sight, sound, taste, smell or touch. This week I want to talk about why it’s important to identify your stressor or triggers and ways that you can manage them.
The why is an essential part of making this change. We no longer want our triggers and stressors to control our lives. Nobody is perfect nor do they live a stress-free life, but knowing how to manage them can promote and create a happier, healthier lifestyle. In an episode of the Book of John Grey, Pastor John is helping Tami Roman deal with her triggers and began to create an image of her true self. Pastor John tell Tami “Control your triggers to control your presentation.” #Gem How we outwardly handle our triggers can affect our presentation to others. This moment also made me think about how I use to control my triggers.
Control your triggers to control your presentation.
When I was younger during one mother’s days, I remember my aunt talking to me about my behavior. While mother’s day is one of my biggest triggers, my outward presentation was not the best. My attitude was nasty towards everyone, I was standoffish, and just not pleasant to be around. When my aunt approached me about how I was acting, I became extremely pissed off. I even wrote a nasty journal entry about her not understanding or caring about my feelings, and how mother’s day sucks. Now when I think back to the situation, I see how I wrong . My aunt never once told me not to be sad or not grieve about wanting my mother. She told me to stop treating my grandmother like she is the cause of my pain. Moreover, she was right. Sometimes when triggered, we tend to express that anger onto those who are around us outwardly. Our presentation at that moment could change their thoughts of us, especially if they are unaware of our past traumas. Of course, my family knew of my abandonment issues, but instead of using them for comfort I pushed them the further away. While Mother’s day is still a trigger for me, I now know how to better control better and work through these triggered emotions.
You can use different solutions to help manage your triggers and stressors; I am going to give you a guideline on how to figure out your coping mechanisms. First, we want to identify what’s a trigger for us vs. what’s a stressor. In my previous blog, I said that some of my stressors are bills, my job, and situations that I feel like I can’t control. Two of my triggers is Mother’s day and someone yelling at me. Next, let’s measure these things on a scale from one to ten. One is a situation that angers us the least and ten would be the angriest. This will help us understand which triggers or stressors are causing us the most pain. After we identify our tens are we can target them to make them ones. Mother’s day for was at some point a level ten trigger, now I would say it’s a level three. What level is your anger or emotional response? Now that we have identified the situations and categorized them as trigger or stressors we can now find solutions.
In the past, if someone were yelling at me, I would completely shut down and leave a situation, or I would begin to scream back. Now I have learned how to better control situations where someone is using a tone I am uncomfortable with. I may say something like this, “Hey you are beginning to raise your voice to a level that I am not comfortable with can you please lower your tone. If you feel that you can’t, we will have to continue this conversation when you’ve calm down.” Being yelled at brings me back to being yelled at as a child then I couldn’t control it but now I can. By knowing your triggers, you also know what situations or people that you should stare clear of. If you can’t, at least you will know how to handle your emotions when you are in these situations.
To help deal with my stressors, I have begun to put things in place that help me feel like I am more in control. I now schedule my billing on my phone’s calendar and write them in my planner so I can see when they are due. Learning to meditate daily has helped me put my mind at ease. Headspace is a great app to start with daily guided meditation. If you have Apple Music, Spotify, or any other music listening applications, look for meditating music or guided meditation albums. Faith Hunter has a great guided meditation album. I followed her on IG and listened to the album on Apple Music and Spotify. Therapy may not be for everyone, but getting professional coping skills is also a great help. Finding a specialty group that helps deals with specific traumas is another options if you feel that one on one therapy is not for you. Therapy and group sessions help you look at situations differently and gives you insight from people who are outside of your situation. This may help you find patterns in your behaviors and maybe help you connect with people you feel understand your situation better.
Two other important things to remember when doing this exercise is to be truthful with your self. Don’t downplay situations or act like things aren’t bothering you. Also, don’t get down on your self if you mess up. We tent to be harder on ourselves than we are on other. The solutions you come up with may not work the first time, but if you began to reduce your number, you are still on the right path. I hope that this has helped you in some way. Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email of your thoughts.
Peace, Love, and Healing