Getting triggered and then reacting negatively is a circumstance most of us have experienced at least once in our lives. If you are familiar, you’ll want to listen to this advice about how to avoid the rippling repercussions of reacting before you think.
We all know what it feels like to be surprised by an interaction that triggers a negative emotional response.
It’s a perfect opportunity to practice self-management, because it is invariably accompanied by an urge to lash out at the other party with something other than kindness and understanding.
Why does this happen?
It’s largely because of the “man behind the curtain” known as our subconscious mind. When something triggers us into immediately feeling angry or frustrated, we feel those uncomfortable emotions, at least to some degree, because of an unpleasant past event in our subconscious memory that has been reactivated.
Acting in the moment is not ideal.
It can make matters worse!
If you’ve ever done it (and most of us have), you are familiar with the feeling of regret, disappointment, and general yuckiness you experience once you’ve come to your senses.
These feelings can then start a cascade of emotions and self-judgment that lead to an even more unpleasant self-battery session.
The good news is that most situations don’t need to be addressed immediately.
It’s helpful to step away and shine a light of understanding into the matter before responding. Acknowledge you have been triggered, and why (see above). This will immediately start to dissipate some of the negative energy.
Another thing to keep in mind when you get triggered easily is that you are probably in need of some self care. Consider that you have probably overdrawn what I call your “energy bank account,” and it’s a good idea to make a deposit into it as a priority before you try addressing the challenging circumstance.
Making a deposit into your energy bank account is anything that helps dissipate the negative emotions and bring you back into a state of serenity. Some examples are:
- Going for a walk in nature.
- Taking a bath.
- Watching a good movie.
- Getting a pedicure.
- Spending time with a close friend.
- Doing some breathing exercises.
Taking these steps will allow you to respond when you are in a more balanced, calm state of mind. You’ll thank yourself later for being conscientious enough to avoid the damage you may have done if you’d responded in the heat of the moment.
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