Our Triggers and How To Rise Above Them

–Don’t Be a Hostage to the People Who Trigger You


How not to be a hostage to people and situations that trigger you? Is it even possible? YES. In doing these four simple (HAH! Simple???) things.


And you may say, ‘yeah, right Bird, so simple to do…NOT!’

No, I didn’t say they were easy. I said they were simple. But easy, no. It takes a desire, Intention, time, practice, and PATIENCE. Let’s face it, trying to avoid folks that trigger us or allowing them to do so is just plain ol’ EXHAUSTING. Truly stressful and anxiety-ridden. Causes physical aches and pains like headaches.

If you are on the path of a Mindfulness Practice or just beginning, or want to begin, learning not to be triggered by people and events is a biggie. Happily, there are tools for us to benefit from and not allow our triggers to constantly set us off.


What Exactly Is A Trigger?


According to the Cambridge English dictionary, a trigger is “something that causes someone to be upset or frightened because they are made to remember something bad in the past.” 

The National Alliance on Mental Health defines triggers as “individualized experiences that vary widely from person-to-person. For example, a trigger may elicit a physical reaction, such as heavy breathing or sweating. A trigger can also spur an emotional reaction, like thinking, ‘I am being attacked, blamed, controlled, disrespected, hurt and judged.’ After experiencing a trigger, a person may feel overwhelmed, powerless, scared, unloved and weak, among many other feelings. These feelings can be very difficult to address and quite detrimental to mental health…additionally, a trigger can impair judgment and some people may lack insight about their reactions….”


Who and What Things Trigger You?


Getting to the bottom of who and what your triggers are is very important–it’s not just the who and what, but identifying and knowing the why. I think many of us know who or what situations serve as our personal triggers but may be clueless as to WHY this person, place, situation or thing gets to us.

When you just pop off because you’re triggered (outwardly or inwardly), you’ve given up being the master of your ship which is YOU. Allowing ourselves to be triggered really ramps up the fight or flight syndrome where our adrenal glands are just’a pumpin’ our systems with adrenaline. Now factor the amount of times that happens daily, mannnnnnn, that’s just a recipe for mega stress and anxiety.

So go deeper, look at The Why of the trigger. When you shine Light on that, the person, place, situation or thing loses its power over you and puts your Power where it belongs: in YOUR hands.


Oh Yes, I’ve Had To Work On What Triggers Me, Too. BIG TIME!


There were two people who could get under my skin in a heartbeat–my stepmother was one and my landlord is another. My stepmom and I had a really bad relationship from childhood so there were MOUNDS AND MOUNDS of unpleasant past history and bad feelings. Over the last decade or so of her life, we had made peace…for the most part because I had gotten to the point where I didn’t respond when she goaded me.


Folks who like to trigger you know just what buttons to push ’cause they’re so good at it. But if you change your response, that can change the dynamics. You can’t change them but you can change how YOU react.

My landlord? For the most part I let the ish he does and says go by…but sometimes, SOMMMMMMEEEE TIMES $#%^&!!!!!

Oh and there’s one more trigger I’ve done a lot of work on and that’s my reaction to the sight of waterbugs (as we call them in Brooklyn, known as June bugs in the south). They used to send me running and crying. And screaming. Literally. They still startle me, but I don’t go running in the opposite direction any more. At least most of the time lol.


Ok, So Now You’re Triggered. Now What?


Just like the goalie at the end of a soccer field, you won’t catch your triggered reaction every time but when you miss, forgive yourself and the other person. They are just being themselves and haven’t examined why they do and say the things they do. They are totally unaware (blissfully?) that what they say and do could be hurtful to another. And sometimes they. Just. Don’t. Care.

At the beginning of this article I mentioned  four things:

BE MORE AWARE OF YOURSELF. You are triggered. Why?

CATCH IT. Ok, so I’m triggered. 

OBSERVE IT. Ok, so I’m triggered, is what they said or did any reflection on my worth? NO. I don’t have to continue to Allow myself to be triggered by their opinion or words. 

BRING YOURSELF BACK TO CENTER (or as they say on Westworld, “bring yourself back online…”) Deep breathing is a great way to reset and center. Doesn’t have to be for long, but take slow breaths in and even slower on the exhale. Focus on something pleasant or something you love while doing it.

Your mental health and well-being are top priority. Another article that could be of interest is  Reducing Stress–Be An Advocate For Your WellBeing



Holla back, I welcome your mindful comments and thoughts.



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