Mind Triggers – Part 2 – “ Be Happy ”
How do we address our triggers, so as not to be overcome or dominated by them – to regain ownership from that which we have allowed to seize us? How do we go from being “trigger happy ” to just being …“happy”?
Having looked at the psychobiology of triggers in part 1 of this article, in part 2 we explore how this knowledge may serve us.
First we need to build awareness of what is happening and what is driving it. For instance, being aware of the psychobiology that drives the trigger helps us to predict and deter old unhelpful patterns.
If our behavioural pattern is to “shut down” in response to being triggered, this corresponds in psychobiological terms to our arousal system being “hypo-aroused” (see part 1). To return to natural functioning, then requires our arousal system to become more active – we need to fuel our system by becoming engaged and attentive to resolve the challenge.
Alternatively, if our behavioural pattern is to “over-react” in response to being triggered, this corresponds in psychobiological terms to our arousal system being “hyper-aroused”. To return to natural functioning then requires our arousal system to deescalate – we need to slow, simplify and be more mindful to resolve the challenge.
By becoming curious about ones internal drivers through reflection and review, supports us be more considered, attentive and decisive in the actions we take. Through a process of integrating new information we heighten our perception and objective response, averting our old warn paths of sabotage and instead create actions toward positive change.
We need to mobilize and transcend that which is stuck in old unhelpful conditioning. By becoming more mindful and active in determining the messaging (both internally and externally) that we generate, we regain the power of optimal self regulation and functioning. Through this process of regulating our messaging system we establish a filter to determine how well we respond. The early detection of intrusive messaging can act as a signal to implement certain strategies to maintain the “natural state” (see part 1). For example, the detection of an intrusive thought may act as a conscious signal or cue to implement the alternative self “message” to oneself to … “Stop. Breath. Check -in, Feel. Sense. Think. Decide. Act”.
A regular process of “checking in” brings conscious attention to what’s happening internally. There may be unhelpful unconscious processes operating or deep blockages impeding positive action. The process of “checking in” allows this to come to the surface of awareness to provide opportunity to be addressed. In doing this process we can be more aware, secure and confident in how we wish to proceed with a matter we are dealing with. “Checking in” with another person who is safe and supportive is also a valuable process for growth and validation.
Written by David Kalmar
“The three zones of arousal: A simple model for understanding the regulation of autonomic arousal” (Pat Ogden, Kekuni Minton & Claire Pain, Trauma and the Body, New York: Norton, 2006, p. 27)
“Waking the Tiger : Healing Trauma” – Peter A. Levine, 1997
Siegel and Hartzell, “Parenting from the Inside Out”
Very helpful to learn about the psycho biology of triggers. Thank you for the articles David.