Sometimes it feels like we have no control over the amount of triggers that show up in our life, and that they are completely dependent on the outside world. This, however, is only partially true.

But before we go on with further discussion, let me ask you to do a simple task.

Look around the room where you are sitting and notice all of the things that are green. It could be a vase, a dollar bill, or a plant. Anything that is green.

Stop reading and look around the room now!

Did you notice a lot of green things?

Now repeat the same exercise, but this time look for everything that is the color red.

Stop reading and do it now!

Did you notice a lot of red things that you did not notice the first time you looked around the room? I hope so, at least that is the result that I get when I perform this exercise.

So what does this simple experiment tell us? Well, it appears that we do have some control over what we choose to notice in our environment.

So the next time you find yourself getting triggered a lot, take a step back and try to identify what is causing your brain to focus on all of the triggering stuff.

Chances are you will find that in one way or another, you were not in a good place. Maybe you didn’t get a lot of sleep, maybe you skipped the breakfast, or maybe there is a strong emotion or false beliefs that are really taking over your life.

In other words, you will be able to determine what is causing you to feel triggered, as long as you are consciously aware that something unhealthy is taking place.

Don’t get me wrong, the environment where you choose to be is a major factor on the amount and strength of triggers that you are being exposed to. But staying away from triggering places is only one part of the equation. The other part is what takes place in our heads. As one of my friends in recovery put it, “when I am in a bad place, I can sexualize dirt.”

© by Horia Varlan

So you don’t have to go to a triggering place in order to feel triggered. On the flip side, if life takes you to a triggering place by accident, you will be more likely to maintain your composure if you are in good place.

Just remember this simple rule.

If you notice yourself getting triggered a lot, it is just a sign that something in your life is out of balance. You can restore the balance once again by taking good care of yourself. You know, all of those things we talked about earlier: journaling, meditation, eating, sleeping, hydrating, doing your ERP practice, looking at your A-B-C-D’s, etc.

There is another area of taking care of yourself that we have not talked about yet, and we will get into it shortly.

But before we do that, there is another important exercise that we will need to complete. I’ll tell you more about it in the next section.

Today, try to pay attention to yourself when you are getting triggered and later journal about it to identify what emotion, belief, or discomfort was the real cause behind this experience.

Keep up the good work!

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