Everything you need to know about triggers

Feb 14, 2024

Triggers are incredibly insightful and are the doorway of our healing process. Whether small or big, they are here to show us where we need to heal. They shape our belief systems and our way of experiencing life and relationships. They direct our decision-making process, the choices we make, our lifestyle and of course mental health. 

1. So how do triggers work ?

Example of a trigger :

2. what is the subconscious mind and how does it work?

The subconscious mind is the part of the mind that operates below our conscious awareness. It is a completely separate entity from the conscious mind. it is not brain either because the brain itself is considered to be the antena of the mind. The subconscious mind stores all of our information, memories, beliefs, imprints and emotions that we may not be consciously aware of at all times. These subconscious elements influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours everyday. For example if you are driving a car everyday and taking the same road and you forget even driving that road once arrived at destination, you have then operated from a automatic subconscious level. So really the subconscious mind  is like a vast reservoir of information, where a multitude of experiences, memories, and knowledge are stored. This includes not only personal memories but also cultural, societal, and ancestral influences.

This powerful part of the mind also  handles a wide range of processes, such as regulating physical  functions (e.g., heartbeat, digestion, autonomic nervous system, central nervous system), filtering sensory information, and managing automatic responses (e.g., fight-or-flight reactions).

More importantly ( this is my favourite part) the subconscious mind is also the gateway to other realms such as past lives, other dimensions, spirit realms and the collective consciousness. 

3. How to recognise a normal emotional reaction from a trigger ?

A normal emotional reaction and a trigger are two completely different aspects of the emotional process. 

One originates from trapped trauma or emotions and the other simply from a natural emotional response. 

Aspects of an Emotional Trigger:

  • Origin: Emotional triggers are typically rooted in past experiences, often associated with strong emotions, trauma, or significant life events. These experiences are stored in the subconscious mind.
  • Activation: Triggers are activated when a current situation or stimulus resembles or reminds the individual of the past experience. This resemblance can be in terms of sensory cues, emotions, or even abstract concepts.
  • Intensity: Emotional triggers often lead to intense and sometimes overwhelming emotional reactions. The emotions are usually disproportionate to the current situation, reflecting the emotional charge of the past experience.
  • Automatic Response: Triggered emotions tend to emerge automatically and without conscious control. The individual may not consciously choose to feel a certain way; instead, it’s a reflexive reaction influenced by the subconscious mind.
  • Potential for Unpredictability: Emotional triggers can catch individuals off guard, as they may not be consciously aware of the underlying memories or associations that are being activated.
  • Impact on Behaviour: Emotional triggers can lead to impulsive or irrational behaviours. Individuals may react in ways they later regret because their response is driven by the intensity of the triggered emotion.
  • Recurring Patterns: People often experience the same emotional triggers repeatedly until they address and process the underlying issues in a therapeutic environment. 

Aspects of a normal Emotional Reaction:

  • Origin: Normal emotional reactions are a natural response to the current situation or stimulus. They are not necessarily tied to past experiences or subconscious associations.
  • Activation: These reactions occur when individuals perceive and interpret their current circumstances. They are based on the immediate context and their conscious understanding of what is happening.
  • Intensity: Normal emotional reactions are typically proportional to the situation at hand. They reflect a person’s genuine feelings in response to their present experiences.
  • Conscious Choice: Normal emotional reactions are often more under conscious control. Individuals can acknowledge their emotions and may have some degree of choice in how they express or manage them.
  • Predictability: While emotions in response to a given situation can vary from person to person, normal emotional reactions tend to be more predictable and aligned with common emotional responses.
  • Adaptive Behaviour: Normal emotional reactions often lead to adaptive behaviours. They can guide individuals in making appropriate decisions and responses in the context of their current circumstances.
  • Temporary Nature: Normal emotional reactions are transient and typically subside as the situation evolves or as the individual processes their feelings.

“Your triggers are your responsibility, it is not up to other people to tip-toe around you or manage your feelings”

4. what to do when feeling triggered?

Knowing how to react from and manage our triggers are a really important 1st step of the healing process. 

The goal of this process is to become an observer of your own emotions and negative memories and not give in to them.

  • As the emotion arises, make sure not to react to it! This could lead to unwanted words and actions that you may regret over time and add a lot of trapped shame to the already stuck past trauma. 
  • Pause, take a few deep breath through the nose into your belly and out through your mouth. This will allow your mind to calm down. 
  • Aknowledge the emotion and identify it : feel where you feel the emotion : is it in my chest, my stomach ? Left knee ? Shoulder ? This will allow you to connect with the emotion mindfully.
  • Identify the emotion: is it anger? Is it fear of rejection? is it shame? Or something else? To help you identify the emotion please check the emotional wheel below here.  
  • Take a moment to yourself and do not react to what or who is triggering you. Take a few step back and allow yourself some time to process the emotions rising and feel grounded again. Perhaps go for walk, drink plenty of water, take a few more deep belly breaths. Avoid reacting, giving any answers or engaging in dialogue until you feel more into your body and grounded, this could be a few hours later, the next day, or the next week. 
  • Journal : write about the trigger that has arisen during the day, take 5 minutes to process it and understand it. 
  • Seek holistic therapy : holistic therapies are by far the most effective ways of releasing emotional baggages from the mind and body. examples here : Energy work, hypnotherapy, EMDR, acupuncture, Reiki, kinesiology. 

Christelle x

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Welcome, I am Christelle

I am a certified trauma-informed holistic hypnotherapist & and energy worker.
I have created My Holistic Journal to share everything mind, body and spirit related topic from my own lens and hope this will help as many of you as possible on your journey of self-discovery.

Warmest thoughts x