emotional reactivity

How to handle emotional triggers

In Psychology by Ivory MagazineLeave a Comment

Emotional intelligence is not something that most people are born with, it is something that can be learnt and applied (the more you do, you better you get at it). And while a painful emotional wound may never go away, it can be tamed. Not beaten, but nurtured and controlled in a safe manner…

  1. Name the emotion

As soon as you feel a negative emotion, notice it. Often we don’t even know we feel bad, we just find ourselves craving a hit of our favourite fix to numb the feeling. Boredom is a negative feeling, as is not aligning yourself with your goals, otherwise known as procrastinating. Name that emotion. ‘I feel irritated / sad / tired / bored / etc…’

  1. Remember, everything passes

Physiologically, a bad feeling lasts about a minute before the body finishes processing its stress hormones and returns to its baseline setting. That’s one minute in which you can be triggered into doing something ridiculous. After that you are pretty much safe.

emotional reactivity

  1. Observe and lean into it

Delve into the emotion. Where are you feeling it? Notice any story you’ve created and lean into the emotion. This has the effect, not only of bringing the feeling to light, but of integrating it into the whole. You can’t repress these things, neither can you attack yourself for having them, instead you must nurture them.

  1. Breathe

Don’t judge. Don’t try and fix the problem, just take a meditative moment and a few deep breaths. Witness the pain then realise that you are not this emotion. Find that place inside your mind that connects with a higher power, and accept it. This is a real opportunity to do some healing work so be grateful for that uncomfortable feeling.

the 4 sublime states of meditation

  1. Distract

Get back to what you were doing, or if you are bored, go and do something. Journal it out or just take a walk. Phone a friend if you must, but one who won’t get involved in a stressful way and who you won’t harm energetically with your feelings. Don’t dwell, simply observe and notice what has happened to the intense emotion you were feeling. As easy as it is to unleash that wild beast, all feelings are transient, and you are human after all.

Each time you follow these steps and nurture that inner lion tamer, the triggers have no choice but to become more domesticated. This is emotional intelligence. Taming the wild emotions, not destroying them, neither suppressing them, but integrating them into the whole.

By Marianne Deval


Ivory MagazineHow to handle emotional triggers

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