One of the things I’ve been confronted with in life is how many triggers I’ve had and how people, places and even smells can cause us to respond in various ways without even realising.
A trigger is usually a stimulus such as a smell, sound, word or sight that triggers thought patterns and emotions. These triggers can be good and remind us of a great moment or they can be related to trauma or stressful situations.
It’s important to understand that not all triggers are bad. Some triggers are actually beneficial and pleasant like when I smell the chlorine from an indoor swimming pool and my thoughts instantly go back to when I was a child and the fun I had learning to swim. I emotionally connect with the smell and sounds and the pleasant memory the pool triggers. Many of my triggers are triggers to joy and beneficial to my emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.
However I’ve been recently facing some of my more negative triggers that push me to react in anxiety and cause my emotional and mental state to shift. Like the smell of a certain aftershave, certain looking men, or people coming up behind me that cause me to trigger and to have a memory flashback.
The key to not being at the mercy of life triggering us into places that we don’t want to go is to begin to be more aware and in touch with what we react to so we, with God’s help can deal with and be healed and more in control of these areas of our lives.
If something is negatively triggering us it is helpful to:
1. Be present and notice what we are reacting to. Self awareness is key. If you struggle to connect with your real thoughts and emotions ask God to help you understand how you are feeling, and if needed talk to someone who will support you.
Relax -breathe deeply and inhale for for 3 seconds and then exhale and release the tension. If a certain smell is triggering you then carry some essential oil or other pleasant smell on you to remind you that you are okay and the origin of that trigger smell can’t harm you anymore.
Step back – Clear your thoughts and focus on one thought or phrase which you want to think and feel so that you shift to responding rather than reacting.
Pray and think upon and speak what God says about you and the situation or relationship memory that you are reacting to. Many triggers may be facts about how we perceive/d a situation but they aren’t necessarily true anymore.
Consider what God says about your life and think upon His truth. Start to visualise the future He has for you. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Forgive and let go – many times what is triggering us into a negative place we simply need to let go of and determine to move on from.
Change the narrative – most of us are going to experience rejection, hurt, disappointments and challenges, but we get to choose how these things will shape us. It’s our choice as to whether we use these things to become stronger, deeper and more resilient. God says he will work all things together for our good and His plan and purpose is to weave an amazing tapestry of our lives and where we’ve come from, where we are going and what He declares we are in Him. (Romans 8:28)
Today don’t let any trigger manipulate, control or hold you back from the life and purposes God has for you.
Recognise what triggers you have and focus on responding the way you want to. Pray and seek God for what He says and if you need to forgive and let go. Then determine to change the narrative, as with God’s help you build the life He created you for.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 53:5)
“Casting all your anxieties on Him. For He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” (Psalm 145:18-19)
Prayer: Lord thank you for your love, concern and grace towards me. Please help me to be more self-aware, to understand what triggers I have in my life and how to move forward to wholeness. I choose to forgive those who have hurt, rejected or disappointed me and I ask that you would build in and around me the life you have planned for me. In Jesus name amen