Emotions can derail the best of intentions.
We can wake up and have the best of intentions to start our day off right with breathwork, meditation, a full glass of water before we gulp our coffee…and in a flash, we are triggered. Automatically we step into our survival program (fight, flight, freeze, fawn), leaving those around us bewildered as to what they just witnessed.
A: Do we write the day off as a loss?
B: Do we use our tools and salvage what we can to move through the day?
Most will choose option B because it’s the preferred choice; however, if you are living with PTSD or CPTSD, chances are option A is usually what happens.
Emotional Triggers are associated with PTSD/CPTSD and are anything that elicits an intense emotional reaction, regardless of your current mood.
This reaction goes BEYOND a “mood swing,” as it is a sudden and noticeable shift accompanied by dilated pupils, increased heart rate, breathing patterns change, shakiness, stalled or rapid speech, a sudden burst of tears, rage, and other physical displays of immediate change in demeanor.
Did you notice something about the list of “physical” reactions? Emotions are energy in motion. That means they’re moving through our body, and what isn’t moving through is being stored in the body.
Unfortunately, too many people are not equipped to understand what’s happening, both emotionally and physically. We can’t isolate ourselves in a bubble, which means it’s up to the trauma survivor to educate themselves about emotional triggers and ultimately manage their symptoms.
Below are examples of situations that trigger intense emotions. As you read to the list, note how many situations are based on perception (thought).
Now here’s the rub: unless we have a traumatic brain injury, we will never stop our physical, emotional responses. This means it’s useless to try and fight them or repress them. If we approach them as a witness, then challenge or shift our perspective and focus on WHERE on our body we are experiencing the reaction(s), we can draw more insight into what may have triggered them.
If we learn to listen to our body — Somatic Awareness — we can [successfully] manage our emotional responses. This means we can reduce our reaction and produce a response only when needed.
The image above offers a brief snapshot of the successful process I have used to help me with emotional regulation — a large part of trauma recovery. As I said before, it looks great on paper, but in practice, it’s highly effective.
If you’re ready to move beyond reaction to being pro-active, reach out to me through the link in my bio, and let’s talk about the processes that can benefit your recovery process. Until then,
Keep Growing with Love.