What are "Triggers"?
There’s no denying it. We all have events that can lead to a reaction. In psychology a trigger is a stimulus; a reminder of a past experience strong enough to generate a reaction. It can be sensory; smell, a sound, an image or just familiar words. When stimulation occurs you have the potential for unintended consequences.
Your Triggers are a Double Edged Sword
Triggers can be positive.
- A photo of a loved one
- The smell of fresh brewed coffee
- A song that rekindles a fond memory
- A conversation that leads to taking positive action
Triggers can be negative.
- A message that has you revisiting a past conflict that rekindles negative emotions
- An odor that stimulates a gag reflex
- The voice of an adversary on a voice mail message
- An enraging news story that has you reaching for a firearm to seek retribution
Our emotions are subject to triggers that occur without warning. The stronger the trigger (stimulus), the stronger your potential reaction.
To Feel is Human
This just in: If you’re a human being, you experience emotions.
We can try to deny it. It happens in corporate environments all the time. But we all know it’s true.
Why would we try to deny it? Mostly it’s because there are times when our emotions get the better of us. They overcome our normal, stable demeanor. When that happens, it’s not always pretty. This in turn, can trigger emotional reactions in others. And that’s not always pretty.
Applied Emotional Intelligence
A Proven Approach to Address Your Negative Triggers
Each day, reflect on the connection between your emotions and your behavior. Identify those behaviors that trigger a negative reaction. Once you have identified the negative triggers, come up with three alternative responses that you can have ready the next time you encounter a trigger.
- When I am set off, how do I respond?
- What would be a better response?
- How can I change those responses?