What does it mean to be triggered and how can you overcome that?

Some people have a misconception that being triggered is starting to throw things around or becoming angry or aggressive. Although those things do happen in some people, being triggered sometimes can result in someone going quiet, people not contributing and people not putting their best foot forward. Being triggered is purely the creation of an emotional response due to the words, actions or treatment from others.

Having an emotional response is not just starting to cry. When people mention emotional response the first thing that come to mind is empathy emotions and sadness. But that is not the only emotional response that people exhibit. If I was talking to you now and was triggered, it could be inciting an array of emotions from frustration to sadness or anger and even cockiness. If there is any kind of emotion being elicited within you, then you have been or are being triggered.

Being triggered bring helpful and unhelpful aspects into your life. If someone tells another person that they can’t do something – it can spur them on and trigger them to prove the person wrong. Yet others may give up and no longer strive for their goals when told that they can’t achieve or reach them.

Why does that happen? Why is one person spurred on and one person isn’t? Firstly, the way that they respond to triggers does make either of them any better or lesser of each other. The way that they have been programmed on a subconscious level enacts a survival mode and the way they have learned to survive kicks in. The person out there striving to prove someone wrong has had to do that for survival, in order to feel safe, in order to feel loved and validated. The person that goes within has usually been beaten up enough that their belief systems of self has been affected or they have had to withdraw or hold back in order to have been loved or to be enough or to not trigger or spark something in someone in order to look after their own safety.

This subconscious programming normally happens when we are young and when it programs from a young space/age then it programs at that age level, from that cognitive space. So even though as adults we can rationalise and tell ourselves it is silly and that we aren’t that person, on a subconscious level the program and beliefs stay there.

That is why it can be tricky to move through. Some people are on journeys their whole lives, improving, growing, learning and expanding and yet they still find that they are not able to move through the thoughts, emotions or behaviours that are holding them back. And if they are doing programs that are not getting results then it could be that it is not connecting with the subconscious element of their mind.

One of the key elements of the hypnotherapy sessions I provide is a recording that clients listen to everyday for 28 days. If you listen to the same messaging regularly over time, then that will affect your subconscious programming. There are many ways that you can create subconscious change in yourself. It doesn’t need to be a recording created by me or from one of my sessions, it can be created by you as you have the power to choose what you do and don’t listen to. You can choose what you do and don’t put into your mind and what you will allow to affect your subconscious programming. Some ways to do this are through daily affirmations, music or even as simply as the people you surround yourself with.

So, when someone is referring to being triggered, it does not just mean that someone has flipped the monopoly board. It means that something has changed on an emotional level and when something changes on an emotional level cognition changes as well. When acting emotionally the brain is in the space of survival mode, it is not thinking of how to do thinks clearly or better from an elevated level of cognition. It just wants to survive and that affects the choices that are made, the words that are used when speaking with others. And if people are interacting with others and neither have any awareness of how triggering works, it can create a trigger war where both parties being unconsciously triggering each other as a defensive mechanism. And that is definitely not effective way to facilitate communication in business or relationships.

If you want to learn more about how tackling this issue can improve the team cohesiveness in your business or if you would like schedule in a session for yourself then you can book a discovery call here.

Picture of Niomi Hurley
Niomi Hurley

Niomi specialises in behavioural and social elements of positive psychology. She has developed a unique approach that merges the practices behind traditional psychological theories with energy science to help people increase passion, focus, and accountability.

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