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Ep. 124 Best Practices When You Get Triggered

by Claudine Sweeney
April 13th 2022

When we are triggered, there is so much happening within our bodies it's extremely challenging to respond with calm and patience and find resolution. We become overwhelmed with emotion, stress and,... More

This is episode 1 24 best practices when you are triggered. You're listening to the rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Welcome back listeners today. We're talking about a popular subject, triggers emotional triggers and we actually did episode 106, we talked about triggers, we defined it, we gave some practical Zahn learning how to respond instead of react when you're triggered. Today we're going to go a little bit deeper onto triggers recently I was having a conversation with a woman and she made a comment about doing thought work when you're triggered.

And Ashley and I hear on the show talk all the time about renewing our minds and really working on our thoughts because we know that those create our emotions and our emotions fuel our actions and that gives us our results in our life. So so often we talk about how we have to really work on our thoughts. We have to manage our minds so that the rest will be better. But here's the thing when you are triggered, it affects your amygdala and that's an emotional center of our brain and when we're in that position, that is not the time to do thought work. So that's we're going to talk about today because when you're triggered and you're emotionally in your fight or flight, our prefrontal cortex has shut down so we can't make any new thoughts or logical thoughts at that particular moment or problem solve right? Which is a lot of times what we try to do when we are triggered, we tried okay, I got to fix the problem and you know that part of the brain just shuts down and the amygdala get that in your vocabulary and it's also fun to say, but it's really important to understand this little almond shaped part of our brain that is kind of acts like a baby gate if you will.

And I take this analogy from a book from dr Daniel Siegel called the whole brain child and this book changed my life and the whole trajectory of my parenting even. Um but learning about the amygdala and what it does in our brain is when we are triggered it activates the fight and flight response right? The fight flight freeze response and so understanding this and what happens with our prefrontal cortex and that like I said, the baby gates, so we have our prefrontal cortex and we have our limbic system and so the emotional part of our brain in the limbic system is going to be what takes over, it's like the baby gate shuts off the access to upstairs, the higher thinking of your prefrontal cortex, your executive functioning Um again, if you need more definitions, you can even google these terms but it's a simple concept but it is so profound and transforming when we understand what happens because like you said, well we try to problem solve and fix the solution and and sometimes even if were triggered in a relationship where we have a conflict in a relationship, this is what happens, especially with couples.

We go around and around and around and around arguing and arguing and arguing and fighting and fighting, fighting because we're just constantly like ping pong, trigger trigger trigger trigger and we're triggering each other's pain points but our prefrontal cortex because it shuts off temporarily. We're not able to come to a resolution. And so today we're diving into what things are we practically going to be able to do when our brain is activated like this. That's such a great point. Sometimes we feel out of control, right? So emotionally out of control but we try to gain that control back. Well today is going to be tools on what to do. Yeah, that happened and you'll know you're triggered when you act disproportionately to whatever just happened and people react in different ways. Like some people get angry, that's mine. So that's fight, right? I'm a fighter when I get triggered, not my normal calm self. Not at all. Some people shut down or get the silent treatment so you're the flight, the flight shut down, other people become needy or they turn to food, alcohol, drugs, netflix, negative coping negative coping pattern behavior.

So even understanding like when that happens like, oh like even for example, it's so funny because I love how life works. Like every time we're preparing for a show or I'm preparing to do something, life gives me a really vivid example. And so recently we, I got a phone call from our new lender loans been sold three times in seven months. So that's fun. So constantly have to make changes of address. But when I saw that it was the lender, like everything in me, I felt panicked. I felt angry because we had such a bad experience with our last lender 10 years ago and it was such a traumatic years long experience with them trying to get our loan modified during the financial crisis so that now whenever I see like a lender's phone number, it just triggers all that emotion from 10 years ago and I just felt all the feelings right. I felt all of them and at first I wasn't going to answer and I'm like no, I don't want to deal with this. And then I was like, no, I need to deal with it because they're just going to call back and actually they had a mistake on their end.

So it was a great thing. Um, to calm down to give it a few seconds, calm down, just deal with it and then they were able to correct it on their end, the mistake because it wasn't on our end this time and it wasn't even last time in some ways but this time definitely, but I was definitely triggered and it was quite a big response for just seeing a phone number on my phone and that's how you know if you're triggered and everyone has different ones because we all have different triggers. And one thing that's really powerful to know is what happens in your body when we are triggered. What is actually like how do you feel physiological? So our heart rate increases, our blood pressure increases. Um We get rapid breathing, shallow breathing, we've talked before, you know, especially when anxiety kind of rears its head. We tend to hold our breath at times and with not even thinking about it, we could get cold sweats and feel a lot of tension. I know for myself when I get triggered I'll feel my muscles just tighten and then it feels like I have a pinched nerve in my neck, especially if it's been days it starts doing that and very uncomfortable but it's important to know, okay, listen to your body.

We don't always do that enough listen to our body because there's times when we get triggered, we know that okay, something upsets us, that's not fair or you know, I'm frustrated or we feel angry or sad but then we just do the things to cope to get by like we said, um and so listening to your body. So that way you can choose a healthy way to respond rather than just reacting and going on default, but choosing a healthy response that will best serve you in your life and your well being and your relationships well, let's talk about some of the practical XyZ we have, so, one of the first practical is when you are feeling triggered when you're, Amygdala has flipped its lid. You know, oftentimes when people get angry, we say he flipped his lid, she flipped her lid. That's actually true. There's a little piece of that amygdala that flips up and so some research has shown it takes about 20 minutes for it to calm down, But we don't necessarily have 20 minutes.

Like for me, I had like 20 seconds to decide whether to answer that phone call, which I did. But let's talk about some of the practical is one of the first ones is to feel it and breathe like it's okay. Like everything you just said when your body, when you start feeling all those heightened physical sensations and you feel angry or shut down or any emotion with it, just feel it and breathe. Don't forget to breathe. I forget to breathe, especially when I'm upset, I would forget to breathe. I just kind of hold my breath instinctually So remember to breathe, feel it and breathe and I'll add onto that to um, in this step. What could happen is, well I'll give you an example. So morning routine for a lot of moms tend to be very stressful time getting your kids to school on time, making sure they have everything getting in the car with hopefully no conflict right or quarreling between any of you. Um, but I would get triggered. I would feel the tension in my neck, my muscles, I would feel panicky.

Like we're going to be late, we're going to be late and I'd get frustrated, start running really frustrated and then I would be snapping at the kids and I'd be lecturing the kids and I remember taking them to school, dropping them off. I would not give them the best goodbye because I'm frustrated. That's what we do. Right? As moms, we tend to get frustrated and then what happens, we drop them off, We go home and we feel shame. Right? Then we feel bad. Oh my gosh, that was not my best moment. I feel horrible. And for myself, I would fixate on it and I would ruminate on that shame and create a story. Oh my gosh, I'm scoring my Children and I, you know, I was not showing myself grace at all and then, you know, I'd pick up the kids and we talk about it. I'd apologize, they would apologize and we try and okay, what can we do better for tomorrow and we try and work through it Now. I'm not saying that I don't get triggered. The triggers are still there because we still have a morning routine, we still have to get to school on time. But I learned I was aware of it.

I learned what could I do differently? And so I will get in the car. I decided I need to stop lecturing. I need to stop making shame based comments towards them and making them feel bad. Um snapping at them. It's not helping anybody. It's not getting me the result. I want anyways. So I learned to just get in the car and sit silently and then if they try to talk to me and say I need a minute, I need a minute, I'm breathing, I'm breathing and I'll tell them even later I say I need to allow my brain to calm down because what happens if we don't pause in that moment we will say or do things that we will regret. So that is my point of that story, practical is to pause The 3rd 1, which you kind of alluded to it in your story is observed with no judgment like we do, we shame ourselves. So I shouldn't have acted that way. And it's not that we consciously wanted to act that way. I know when I get triggered and I react in an angry or hostile way.

It's not like I'm like I want to behave this way. It's the last thing, the last way I want to be right, we're not thinking properly. So observe it. Like while I was really interesting, I got really upset there. I really reacted defensively or angrily or whatever way, but with no judgment and really take the time and separate the shame out from the behavior like that wasn't my intention. That wasn't my desire. That was I got triggered. That's how I responded. And the great thing with triggers, which we talked about last time is they show us where we need some more healing. It shows us where we have work to be done. It's like, oh, that's interesting. Like even for me, this phone call, that's such a small thing. Obviously I'm sharing a very small example. There are people that have really deep, deep wounds and you know, a wound from a lender from years ago is not the same as someone who had abuse in their childhood. But it showed me, oh, I still have some issues here, whether it's forgiveness or finding trust or going forward with confidence and faith in our finances.

There's still something there. So it shows me, oh, I still have work. I don't need to feel shameful about it. I just need to observe it without judgment for one common one is also just being on social media because we can compare our lives and ourselves and our appearance and all kinds of things. Our Children in our house and compare it all our vacations with other people that are posting on there. Um, but if that is a trigger, then recognize that right could be certain topics of conversation. It could be someone else's success or like I said, I, I feel I can feel triggered by someone else's vacations. Wow, they're going on nice vacations. We don't do anything fun. You know, that's the one who just got back from Hawaii. But yes, but that exactly. But that's what our brains are trying to do right by our brains are trying to protect us from pain and but we do go to those things and just recognizing, hey, I think this triggers me. I might need to cool it on social media or I might need to talk with this person say, hey, this is kind of a hot button issue for me.

You know, if we can't really, you know, it just kind of triggers me or it's uncomfortable to talk about this and then do some of your own work and ask for help for guidance and that's what Claudine and I are here. I'm going to put a plug in for coaching because this is huge. This is something that we do with our clients is recognizing triggers and how to help you rise up and shine and be full of peace and love and fulfillment in life and when we are flipping our lid and we're not having control of our emotions and we don't really understand what's going on and are aware. Sometimes we need that extra guidance and that extra help. And so that's what Claudine and I do. Please check out our web sites and that Claudine at Claudine Sweeney dot com. Ashley specifically for stay at home moms mind over chaos dot com. And yes, Claudine with empty nesters. So huge help there. Another practical, Thank you Ashley for that wonderful little inside commercial there. But another practical is find the good and the gift of the trigger. There's always a lesson and we kind of talked about that.

But you know, there is something that still needs to be healed. There's something that still needs to be resolved. So it is a gift. So when we feel that emotional, you know, we get upset, we feel that emotional um reaction. It's like, okay, what's the gift here? Because I want to remove all this, right, We want to be empty of all the wounds and the hurts in the past and we want to be filled with love and joy and peace and kindness and all those things. And so it is a gift. And just saying, wow, that's interesting, where can I grow here and thank you for this lesson for this gift? I think there's something to be finding, there's something to be said for finding the good in every situation. You know, looking for the good instead of I can't believe I acted like that again. And that goes, it goes along with separating the shame out. But just saying, wow, this is there's gotta be something good that comes out of it. So find it and like you said, that's how we can help too with coaching, we can help find the good in a situation that when you're too emotionally connected, it's hard to see. And now is the time, once our brains have calmed down to bring in the thought work right, we can't do that in the very beginning when our brain is on hyper alert and we're reacting already and that amygdala has kicked.

But now is the time has flipped his lid now as our brain has calmed down and we can bring in, you know the thoughts and dig in, dig deep to find out what is the belief underlying this situation that triggered me, What is the story that it's bringing up or that I'm telling myself what, if you're able to access those memories, what memories could be, you know, part of this all factor in here, A lot of them are still subconscious. Um but if we do take time to sit down and reflect and think about these things, it can be brought to the surface. It just is really giving ourselves that space to okay, what is going on here and again with grace and curiosity. Alright, everyone, so we hope you enjoyed this episode today on triggers and really understanding what happens in your body when you are triggered and allowing yourself some time to let your brain calm down. That whole emotional chemical response that is happening in your body, allowing that to pass and then being able to and then be able to make healthy responses.

You know, deciding on how you want to respond when you're triggered and even going forward is what can I do for the next time when this happens again? So thank you again everyone for tuning in. We are so appreciative of you and we just hope that you have a wonderful week and we will catch you next week. Thank you. Alright everyone. Thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rice. I've been shined podcast if you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode. And while you're at it share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com. And Ashley at mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Mm hmm

Ep. 124 Best Practices When You Get Triggered
Ep. 124 Best Practices When You Get Triggered
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