When you get Triggered... PAUSE

When you get triggered… PAUSE!

This week I held a live webinar about the Wisdom of Saying No, and the feedback I got was that this image below (and what I said about it) was some of the most valuable information. And I actually agree. In coaching, and any kind of self-development you want to learn how to do things differently and not let old patterns and mindsets lead you down a dead-end. 

Insanity is doing the same things over and over, hoping that it will turn out differently.
— Rita Mae Brown

What we want to learn is how to respond instead of reacting blindly. And the best way to do that is training to take a PAUSE:


Breathe + Create Space + Align (Head + Heart + Body)

Every request triggers a core emotion (fear, anger, grief, disgust, joy, excitement) and sends signals to our body and our brain to get ready to react. Some requests we like and some we don’t. What is important to know though, is that we have learned only to listen to our thoughts. Problem though is, that our body is much faster to process and react to information (a trigger) and actually our brain gets shut down momentarily (or at least limits it’s capacity so that our energy can be used to fight, flight or freeze). So the thoughts we have right in that moment are not what solely want to depend on.  

As that is what led to (up until now): Get triggered - get angry - and explode. Or get triggered - get scared - and run. Or get triggered - get excited - and jump (= agree to something that you might not want to agree the next day. You remember that dress/shoes in the back of your closet? The one that you never wear?)   

None of these reactions helped to solve the problem, nor does it build trusting and lasting relationships. And that is what we ultimately want. 

Though, when you learn to take a PAUSE, you actually create space to react differently in the future. 

And you have to train that, like you train your muscles at the gym and it will be very difficult and maybe even painful in the beginning. That’s why coaching is called coaching, it’s like your personal trainer at the gym, helping you get your strengths and endurance up and building the muscles you need to be the person you really want to be. And similar to the gym and exercise there, you start with a breath (or two) and listen to your body and it’s sensation to know how much you can do today. And your thoughts are only there to organize and track the movement and hopefully to motivate you to go further. 

And here is what it looks like to thoughtfully respond instead of just blindly reacting:   

1 - Breathe  = opens up space and helps to calm down your bodily sensations 

2 - Create Space = ensure to gain some time and distance. Maybe through a reaction like: Oh, let me think about that. I’ll get back to you tomorrow. 

3 - Align your Head, Heart, Body = means tracing the emotion that got triggered, and the sensation it creates in your body, as well as the kind of (limiting) thoughts and beliefs that run through your head. 

There are many different ways of alignment, as each person has different needs or starts from a different point. In my coaching practice I work with my clients on exactly this alignment until it becomes a natural flow in their day-to-day. 

In my blog post “Why Not To Avoid The Rollercoaster Ride” I described what I did the last time I had to deal with a very big trigger. 

Join my next live webinar in September and/or set up a Breakthrough Session with me if you want to know how to bridge the gap from where you are right now to where you want to be in the future.  

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