Without getting into why we get emotionally triggered, or what is going on in our brain to make this occur, I want to look at why we often choose to stay there. This is an important and often overlooked aspect of being emotionally triggered.
Here is the de-trigger sequence. First you observe what happened—why did you get so upset, pissed off or so on? Second, understand what you made the incident all mean and mean about yourself. Third, match this to your three main triggers, examples being “I’m not good enough” or “I’m dumb and stupid” or “I’m angry” or “I’m alone” or “I’m scared” and so on.
As an emotional intelligence coach I see and have experienced for myself that it can still be hard to snap out of this triggered state and realign with the positive things about yourself and your key motivators.
Here are five reasons as to why we can stay triggered – it is all about the payoff. The payoff benefit must be there to stay triggered right?
The five payoffs for staying triggered
- Be right / make other(s) wrong
- Be justified about your point of view
- Be a victim (feeling powerless)
- Don’t have to be responsible
- Dominate / manipulate / control
These payoffs are familiar and comfortable places that we have learnt to go to over time. In an odd way we get a type of satisfaction from hanging out here, be it for a few hours or for some even a day or two.
The cost of staying triggered
To break this habit of sitting in the “payoff” it helps to write down on paper a list or few paragraphs as to what staying in this triggered state is costing you. If we really know and connect with these costs and were truly connected to them and what they mean, we would move in an instant. The cost is too great, the payoff too small.
One obvious cost is our health. When your emotions are not healthy, they ruin your day or days. Much worse they build toxic neural networks in our brain which over time affects our body. This then shows up in our health – disease (or better dis ease).
So be honest about payoff and dive deep into the costs as that will shine a light you can’t ignore, and you won’t stay stuck in the trigger.