Know Your Triggers

If self-care was as simple as getting a manicure when you’re stressed out, we’d all be in good shape. But it’s not. Keep reading...

By Momentous Institute | Apr 25, 2016
Know Your Triggers

When talking about self-care, it is very important that we get in touch with ourselves and do some self-reflection. If self-care was as simple as getting a manicure when you’re stressed out, we’d all be in good shape. But it’s not – there’s so much more that goes along with it. And one important factor is understanding our own triggers and our own emotional baggage.

Have you ever been in a room with a bunch of screaming children and seen that one adult who remains calm, quietly getting down to a child’s level and asking him nicely to stop screaming? Or have you ever been in a total panicked frenzy and seen someone calmly jump into action? If you’ve ever seen someone else remain calm during a time of chaos, you might have thought, “Wow. I could never do that!” And you might have been right. Perhaps a room of screaming children would set you off. But perhaps that same calm adult would get upset at something that wouldn’t bother you in the least. That’s the thing. We all have our own triggers and emotional reactions to things. So we can’t dole out blanket advice for self-care that is one-size-fits-all. We can say, “In a room of screaming children, you can take a minute to close your eyes and take five deep breaths.” But that might not work for everyone. Not everyone will even need help handling a room of screaming children, and others might find deep breaths don’t do anything for them at all.

So in order to find self-care strategies that are successful for you, you need to do some self-reflection.

Think for a moment about the times in your life when you’ve been the most stressed out. What factors contributed to this stress? What seemingly small things set you off? What was the bigger issue at hand?

Think about the times when you’ve felt the least stressed out. What were you doing at the time? What were you feeling? How did you react when small things didn’t go your way?

Now think about the times in your life when you’ve faced adversity or trauma. Maybe it was in your childhood, or perhaps it was in an adult relationship. Think about the people around you during that time. Who helped you? Who hurt you? Who stepped in and cared for you when you needed it the most?

Each of us has our own issues that will impact what sets us off. Experiences from your childhood, your relationships with adults, and your work with children all come into play. Something that is grounded in your own adverse experience might trigger an emotional reaction that wouldn’t bother a colleague.

So what’s the point of all of this self-reflection? When we know what our triggers are, we can be aware of them before they become issues. Take a moment now, and write down your top three triggers. Now, write down three strategies that you can use to “settle your glitter”  before you flip. Having a plan in place is essential so you don’t have to think about it in the heat of the moment. The more we open ourselves to awareness about our areas for growth, the more growth can happen. And the better we’ll be able to help serve others and serve ourselves.