What’s a trigger? It’s something that, when “pulled” sets off an explosive reaction. Okay…so that’s carrying the metaphor a little far, but not really.
Triggers can be anything that causes a reaction in us. It can be a scent that reminds us of baking with grandma (possible good reaction) or a song that makes our skin crawl because it’s the same one playing when that creepy guy tried to touch us. Triggers are useful tools we can use to heal and make our lives better. The only catch is you have to be willing to feel all that crap in order to work out the trigger.
Many highly sensitive folks suffer from anxiety. Why? Because we’ve got lots of triggers and normal folks find it fun and often just not are aware that they are pulling them. Some triggers for anxiety might be:
- Busy schedule
- Meeting someone new
- Ringing phone
- Certain scents
- Any sensory input that connects us to trauma
Limited list, yes, but it gives you a general idea. Highly sensitive individuals tend to pick up on stimuli far more easily and readily than others. Our “finely tuned nervous system” is wired this way. So, there’s no use trying to be other than what we are. That in itself might be a trigger – trying to act normal. If we can allow ourselves the freedom to be as we are and to work through some of the things that cause our present anxiety, we may find we like being what we are.
(I’m currently working on a book about all of this. If you’re interested, feel free to post a comment and I’ll let you know when it’s released. Semi-soon is the best I can do as my HSP-ness keeps finding things to fix. :) )
When something triggers us, we tend either to run, freeze or fight. It’s all natural responses for our way of being. But, because it’s seen as “weird” by those not so inclined, we tend to repress our reactions. This means that things that we might be able to view as “normal” for us soon become internal spring-loaded traps.
Let’s say you were subjected to being taunted with bananas as a child. The smell of a banana could make you anxious. The sight of yellow might do the same. We tend to avoid that which makes us uncomfortable…especially around other people. That’s why working with your triggers in private is key.
Take some time to desensitize yourself to the stimulus. It’s a common technique. Start out with a picture of a banana. It’s going to be stimulating enough just as a picture. (or snake or spider or angry mate or whatever your trigger(s) may be) Let yourself feel the anxiety for just a few seconds. Then put it away and leave it. When you have time or just as you’re doing other things, think about your reaction. Why do you now have that reaction? Let your mind wander. One thing we don’t consider is that our strong creativity is very useful in this task. We can ponder things in so many variations that eventually, we find a solution or at the very least, a direction to keep working.
The ancient Greeks believed that if you thought about something long enough, the answer would come. I can only say that for me, this has been 100% true. Patience might be a key to it. You don’t have to solve a problem here and now. That’s all very “normal” but since we’re not “normal” we get to do other things to work out our issues.
So, think about it. Then think about it some more. There is no rush and you don’t ever HAVE to solve this. That’s one choice we seldom consider. We get to choose IF we want to change something and then we get to choose HOW and WHEN. There’s a great sense of freedom in acknowledging this power. Just because the rest of the world says you should do things this way or that it doesn’t mean WE have to.
Triggers are going to be issues for any highly sensitive individual. But if we work with our strengths and not try to push ourselves to be like the rest of the world, we may find that we can work our triggers into something else completely. Maybe a piece of art. Maybe a song. Maybe just a moment of knowing that it’s okay to be as we are with no solution.
Acceptance is a great tool for the HSP. Use it well. :)
Thank you for the birthday wishes. I can’t find where to reply or give a heart…so I’ll have to do it here.
It’s very kind of you to offer me your well wishes.
My favorite pieces were the ones I did not try to think into existence. So far, the ones I like the most have all been “accidents”.