YAY for triggers!
What are triggers? Triggers are a golden fucking opportunities to expand our awareness, and grow through challenge. Triggers are gifts from the Universe, pointing to that which needs our attention.
Triggers are personal to each of us, and they generally piss us off, or generate some other strong, emotional response. They’re the things that get under our skin, which DEMAND a reaction from us. Often we can’t NOT react. And frequently, looking back, we wish we had acted in some other way instead of the way we reacted.
Generally triggers are accompanied by a feeling of stress. Whether we react, or hold back the reaction we feel, stress or anxiety are activated inside us. Sometimes we also beat ourselves up for having reacted. (Why did I let them get to me? I should be past this by now! What’s wrong with me? Or similar thoughts.) This can add shame to the toxic mixture of emotions already triggered within us, and increases our perceived stress.
Humans get triggered by all sorts of things. Think repeated behaviors that annoy, like a partner dropping dirty clothes on the floor, leaving dishes in the sink, or not calling when they will be late. These behaviors don’t trigger me – and maybe not you either – but they are triggers for many people. Triggers come in all shapes and sizes. Coworkers, children, politicians, parents, or pets can all trigger us for different reasons.
Recently I was speaking with a client who has two new kittens that she adores. They are young, and energetic, and often misbehave and steal small, important objects and hide them out of reach. As we were talking, a new game popped into my head.
What if every time the misbehaved kittens trigger frustration, we create an opportunity for self-love instead?
Misbehaved Kittens Russian Roulette of Self-Care
I suggested she make a list of everything she considers self-care, write each item on a slip of paper, and place the slips of paper into a hat, a fishbowl, or a fancy box. Then every time the kittens misbehave, she reaches into the fishbowl and pulls out a self-care prize, instead of shooting herself in the foot with stress, reactivity, blame, and shame.
She loved the idea, and so do I!
I encourage everyone to play.
The game allows us to be triggered into self care, and replace stress-building reactions with desirable actions that reduce stress and build healthy habits! Of course you don’t need misbehaved kittens to play. You could play Annoying Coworker Russian Roulette of Self-Care, or Inattentive Spouse Russian Roulette of Self-Care, or my current personal favorite, Puppy Poops on the Carpet Russian Roulette of Self-Care.
So how do you define self-care?
Anything qualifies that makes YOU feel cared for, held, and supported. The header contains lots of great possibilities for self-care, and below is a short list. I encourage you to personalize your list to include your favorites, and only use those that truly resonate for you. Some women love to get pedicures and look forward to them as a pampering treatment. Others find them tedious, and don’t enjoy having their feet touched. There is no right or wrong. It’s about whatever makes you feel calm, relaxed, cared for, and loved.
Make a gratitude list.
Dance for 5 to 10 minutes.
Schedule a massage.
Get a mani-pedi.
Journal while you get a mani-pedi.
Fix a cup of your favorite tea.
Take a nap.
Sing your favorite song, and really belt it out.
Do some mirror work.
Take 10 slow deep breaths.
Take a 10 minute yoga break.
Sit in the jacuzzi.
Take a walk.
Spend time in the sun.
Write yourself a love note.
Go to bed early.
Call an uplifting friend.
Look at beautiful photos of nature.
Make your own list of self-care.
Write each item on a slip of paper.
Place them in a container that pleases you.
Now when you feel triggered, you can choose to react by reaching for self-care.
Header image photo credit – Thanks to Western Oregon University!