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23 Oct – Understand Your Triggers

As we go through life, we all have our own experiences, relationships and situations that are both good and bad. Everything we face in life helps shape us, and these things become triggers in our thoughts, emotions and spiritual life.

A trigger is a stimulus such as a smell, sound, or sight that ignites thought patterns and emotions and can often be related to trauma or stressful situations.

Fortunately, all triggers aren’t bad. Some are beneficial and pleasant, like when I walk into the local pool, and I’m surrounded by the sounds and smell of chlorine and water. The instant I smell the pool, my thoughts return to my childhood swimming lessons and the fun I had learning to swim. I emotionally connect with the smell and sounds all around me and the pleasant memory the pool triggers.

The same is true for certain foods, scenery, texture, music, particular people, celebrations or situations I might find myself in. Many are triggers of joy and beneficial to my emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. However, I also have had, and in some cases still do have negative triggers that push me to react and cause my emotional state to unwantedly shift.

The key to living healthy whole lives is to not be at the mercy of life triggering you into places that you don’t want to go is to begin to be more aware, and in touch with what you react to so you, with God’s help, can deal with and be healed in these areas of your life.

If something is negatively triggering you, it is helpful to:

Be present and notice what you are reacting to. Self-awareness is key to dealing with and moving towards healing from negative triggers in your life. If you’re struggling to connect with your thoughts and emotions, ask God to help you understand how you are feeling, and if needed, talk to someone who will support you.

Relax -breath deeply, hold your breath for 3 seconds, and then breathe out and release the tension.

Step back – Clear your thoughts and focus on one thought or phrase that you want to think and feel so that you can shift to responding rather than reacting.

Pray and think upon and speak what God says about you and the situation or relationship memory you are reacting to. Many triggers may be facts about how you perceive/d a situation, but they aren’t necessarily all true.

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 you negatively is what you need to let go of and determine to move on from. You don’t have to be negatively shaped by your past but can choose to let God into your heart so that you can heal, learn, grow and move forward.

Change the narrative – most of us will experience rejection, hurt, disappointments and challenges, but you get to choose how these things will shape you. Will they make you small, fearful and limited or with God’s healing and guidance, will you choose to become stronger, more resilient and something God uses to build your story of overcoming, breakthrough, hope and faith.

God says he will work all things together for our good, and His plan and purpose is to weave a fantastic tapestry of our lives using all the threads of who we are, and He declares we are in Him. (Romans 8:28)

Today don’t let your triggers manipulate, control or hold you back from the life and purposes God has for you. Instead, seek to recognise what is triggering you negatively or positively and focus on responding the way you want to rather than reacting badly.

Pray and seek God for what He says about your situations or relationships, forgive and let go and determine to change the narrative. With God’s help, you will build the life He has for you.

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.” (2Timothy 1:7)

“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfils 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. Would you please help me be more self-aware and understand what triggers I have in my life to move forward to wholeness and joy? 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 called and chosen for me. In Jesus name amen

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