Working with your triggers

The word “triggers” is one that’s being used a lot at the moment. In fact every time I head onto social media I seem to read about someone being triggered by something they’ve seen or heard.

Illustration by Sian Butcher, Buzfeed (

I’m not criticising that; firstly because I think it’s a huge step forward in the world for us to not only be able to recognise those triggers but to talk about them too. But also because it’s a term I use myself… all the damned time!

For me “triggered” means something that has piqued my anxieties and taken me to a place mentally and emotionally that I’m really not comfortable in – usually one I thought I’d long escaped.

What are my triggers? Where do I begin…

It’s anything from the beautiful, thin, articulate and sparkly women doing similar work to me and being incredibly successful in the process. Because while I totally wish these ladies well, some of them don’t half pique my insecurities about whether I’m “good enough” to do the job I know I was put here for.

It’s being disrespected or patronised, which immediately seems to strip away all of the experience I’ve gained, wisdom I’ve gathered and confidence I’ve built and makes me feel like that unpopular, unheard and angry teenager I once was.

And it’s the men who assume that paying me a compliment means I should fall at their feet or into their bed and gives them some sort of right over me and my body, regardless of anything else I may want or think.

And those are just the triggers from this lifetime!

No, my issue is definitely not with the idea of triggers, or with the word itself. No, my issue is with what we all do when we recognise our triggers.

Because it’s true that those triggered moment are unpleasant to say the least, and may even feel completely paralysing at times; but that’s not to say that we should let them take hold of us entirely.

Because those moments of pain and terror that come up with our triggers also bring with them huge opportunities to learn and to grow – and isn’t that what this whole journey through life is all about?

When we find ourselves triggered we should absolutely check in and honour those feelings, taking some time out to give ourselves the time and the space that we need to be OK.

But then, once we’re ready and it’s safe to do so – and safety is the biggest thing to bear in mind here, so let me talk more on that in a second – we can delve into those triggers and start asking some questions… and of course finding some answers.

Now let me just say that I know – I categorically bloody know – that the questions below aren’t easy ones to ask, and the answers and memories they bring up can be tougher still.

Some of the memories these triggers can bring up in us are nothing short of traumatic, and can take us back to the toughest and most terrifying times of our lives. So please PLEASE do not delve into them until it feels safe to do so; that means waiting until you feel centred again and back on solid ground, and it means quite possibly seeking out some support if that feels necessary.

Once you’re ready, think about the following:

  • What was it that made you feel this way?

  • Is there anything else that has the same effect?

  • What does it take you back to – when was the first time you remember feeling like this and how does this current trigger remind you of that experience?

  • What have you gained and learned since that first memory to help you move past that point outside of these triggered moments?

  • And if you could go back to that initial point, what would you tell the you back then in order to let her know that it’s OK and she doesn’t have to feel like this?

This work is deep and it’s tough. But it’s also powerful; so so powerful when it comes to healing and to moving forwards and lessening the effects of those triggers on our lives moving forwards.

If you’re ready to delve into your own triggers but don’t want to take that journey on your own then get in touch; I don’t just offer the coaching sessions that help you to move forward and create the life you’re longing for, but also the counselling sessions that help you to heal and work through those experiences and memories from the past that are keeping a part of you trapped in negative triggers and patterns. Find out more about those if you’d like to here.

And however you decide to take this journey forwards just remember that your triggers aren’t just the keys to your fears and anxieties… they might just also hold the keys to your truth and healing.

#healing #peacewithyourpast #patterns #counselling #change #empowerment