If we don’t learn how to manage our triggers, our triggers will manage us, and therefore, we must learn how to manage our triggers successfully.
Our emotional triggers are created from past negative experiences. When we are placed in a position similar to that negative experience, strong emotions are stirred up, and the ensuing reactions can lead to emotional difficulties—maybe even regrettable outbursts. Triggers can appear anywhere in our relationships or communication, and left unchecked, they will control us.
But the choice of how we respond will always be ours.
We can allow our triggers to set us off and control us, or we can manage them and discipline ourselves. The good news is that there are ways to can address these triggers and reduce our negative reactions to them.
Here are some powerful ways to manage your triggers:
Listen to your body. The moment you get triggered, you may experience a physical response. Your breathing may get shallow or your chest may tighten. You may suddenly feel that your head is about to explode. Whatever form it takes, learn to pay attention to your body’s signals. Listen to your body so you can stay ahead of the trigger.
Behavior tells. Sometimes strong emotions come up and we have no idea what triggered them. But by paying close attention over time to the situations where you become agitated or annoyed and you aren’t even sure why, you can identify the types of things that tend to trigger you. This makes it easier to work with them.
Stay in touch with your feelings. Our emotions signal to us what is going on for us within. By staying emotionally honest with yourself and recognizing the cues of your emotions, you’ll be able to identify what you’re feeling and why—and do something about it.
Expand your tolerance. It’s natural to want to avoid triggering people or circumstances. That may be possible and even good when you’re in the early stages of learning to manage your triggers, but it isn’t usually realistic in the long run. Slowly allow yourself to take on more triggering experiences, reminding yourself to slow and control your responses, then build on that success until it’s no longer a problem
Take a time out. Distract yourself by giving yourself a time out. Stepping back can help you calm down before you re-engage with a situation. You can use this time to think about the emotions you’re experiencing and how to address them in a positive way. Do something that can create an opposite emotion—if you are stressed, think of things that will calm you down.
Create a new habit. Long term, to avoid being triggered at all, you need to work to create new habits of mind—not to break down what your have built for yourself, but to build a better life by making small changes. When you create a new habit for positive change, you will experience long-term effects on your emotions and how you mange them. Work toward self-improvement by taking small steps each day. Do something that helps you feel competent and more in control to regulate your emotions and gives positive feedback for your sense of purpose.
We must learn how to manage our triggers successfully, before they overpower our lives and leadership.
Lead From Within: We all have our own unique emotional triggers. Learning to mange them constructively enables us to deal with the issues that get in our way and move ahead in our lives and leadership.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
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Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.