5 Steps to Avoiding Emotional Trigger Traps
As a coach, much of the work I do we do circles back to the body-mind connection. It only makes sense, feeling better physically translates back to a calmer and happier you. That said, even the more mindful among us know that staying calm in emotionally charged situations is easier said than done. Take this morning for example; the day after Christmas, rounding up week 2 of my parent’s 3-week visit, we were preparing to leave for breakfast at the time we’d planned the night before.
My parents, true to form, were waiting by the front door ten minutes early with their coats on. My children, meanwhile, continued to complain and procrastinate instead of getting ready to go. Still tired from the previous day’s festivities, I soon found myself teetering on the verge of a frustration meltdown. Just in time I realized that whatever I said next would come out as a shriek. I managed to escape for some deep breathing relief before returning to the situation in a calmer frame of mind.
While this challenge may by different than those you typically face, for many of us a day seldom passes without at least one trigger-worthy incident threatening to suck us in.
Whatever drama life decides to throw at you, the trick to successfully navigating interpersonal challenges begins with you! When you feel out of balance, it’s important to make your well-being a priority, even if you think it’s the last thing you think you have time for. Because when you’re mentally and emotionally fortified, you can take a pause and evaluate before simply reacting – ultimately a more effective strategy for reaching your goals.
Here’s a short list of 5 ways to avoid emotional triggers before getting caught up in them:
- Regular exercise (hint: it doesn’t have to take long)
We all know exercise is key to maintaining a greater sense of well-being. But when time is tight, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good! Whether it’s a brisk walk in the park or a living room yoga practice, adopting a regular exercise routine of even 30 minutes 5 times per week produces tremendous health benefits. Recruit a buddy, choose an activity you love and mix it up to make sure to stick with it – you’ll be glad you did!
- Adaptogenic herbs
The stress dilemma strikes again… It’s no secret that stress can be physically toxic, serves as a major contributor to crankiness, and yet is almost impossible to avoid. Ready for a natural remedy? Then it’s herbs to the rescue! Herbs such as ginseng, licorice root and ashwaghanda have been shown to calm nerves and reduce the impacts of stress, and offer additional health benefits as well. The good news? They also make a great tea!
- Moderate your blood sugar
Most of us ingest far more sugar than the American Heart Association’s 25 grams per day (for women, 35 for men), and the ensuing energy fluctuations can make some of us pretty cranky. With some simple diet upgrades, you can stabilize both energy level and mood, plus reap some extra health benefits. Since ready to drink beverages, including healthy sounding juices and smoothies, often contain more sugar than the daily recommended allowance, opt for water, tea or stevia sweetened alternatives instead. You’ll take a substantial sugar cut with very little effort, and probably save some money too!
- Get enough sleep
Seven hours in the minimum requirement for most adults. Less than that and you’re in danger of not just potential crabbiness, but a bevy of health risks including weight gain and memory loss as well. Trouble sleeping? Power down an hour before bed, enjoy a cup of chamomile tea and a good book to help you into a more relaxed state.
- Take a Breath!
There are times when all the craziness of life with work, kids and everything else in between can be nothing short than maddening. It’s hard to respond graciously in the heat of the moment, so don’t. Take a pause, excuse yourself to the rest room if you need to, and take some deep, full breaths, consciously slowing down your breathing. No matter how triggered you were, decide what’s important, and prioritize that outcome when you return to the situation, in a calmer, more balanced place.
There are times when all the craziness of life with work, kids and everything else in between can be nothing short than maddening. It’s hard to respond graciously in the heat of the moment, so don’t. Take a pause, excuse yourself to the restroom if you need to, and take some deep, full breaths, consciously slowing down your breathing. No matter how triggered you were, decide what’s important, and prioritize that outcome when you return to the situation, in a calmer, more balanced place.
When I stopped to take a breath and returned to my morning drama scene from a calm place of focus, things began to take shape and we managed to leave for breakfast on time, day saved.
These 5 tips for avoiding emotional traps will help you to stay calm and grounded, regardless of how the drama around you unfolds!