Understanding Triggers: Addressing The Reaction-Response Ratio of your Nervous System

A client asked me the other day, with a bit of irritation, “why don’t you start with triggers since they are the things that throw us off course?”.  I loved that question because it showed me she was really committed to her path of becoming her highest, brightest, clearest most coherent self.  I asked very gently, “How would you know you were triggered if you didn’t fully posses the ability to know when you are truly relaxed within your mind-body-spirit connection?”

That landed like a freshly poured glass of milk knocked off the table by accident.  It crashed and puddled at our feet.  We both sat quietly feeling the gestalt of her understanding spread throughout her field of awareness.  After several moments she looked up and said “Cool.  I am finally getting this thing you call taking up the leadership of my life.  Those triggers I have are not totally mine but they do live in my body.”

To which I said “yes-ish”.  "They are yours, as they live in and trigger your mind-body connection to react. But they also belong to another moment in time, where they got truncated and are still stuck in your mind-body connection and your neuromuscular circuitry. So why not give them back to that time, or at a minimum give them less space in your body, so you can be free to express something other than that reaction.”

Any time you have a reactive “out of context” experience to something said in conversation, something watched on TV or in a movie, when you see something, hear something, taste something, feel something, that causes you to react vs respond to the moment, that’s generally a sign that you have an unresolved past experience still operating in your nervous system.   

And just so you know, I see this is a good news-great news scenario.

The good news is you are now ready to process that experience to a more complete resolution.  The very fact that you are now aware of this trigger or reaction, tells me you are in a good position to engage it consciously.  And, the fact that it showed itself to you, is the first step in process of healing it.

So "Good job".

The great news is, with the resources and guidance I provide in this process I call Engaging Your Wholeness, you will move along the path of resolving this issue before it grows into something else within your body-mind.

And “what might that "something else" be?” You may be asking in this moment.  

Unresolved past moments can turn into personality traits that develop a whole approach to relationships that are engendering of competition instead of collaboration.  They could turn into a habit of frustration or irritation that becomes a baseline of experience for your entire life. They could turn into headaches or stomach aches or poor digestion.  

A reaction that is “out of context” with the moment at hand just underscores the need to transform neuromuscular patterns that contain that reaction and, inform or feed any accompanying body armor, like chronic shoulder pain or lower back tension.

And instead of getting all heady about the where from’s and why to’s of this reaction or trigger, devote your energy and mental resources to daily practices that include a heavy focus on activities that engage the relaxation response in your nervous system.  And just to be clear, I am not saying to totally diss any mental activity around a reaction. 

I do feel it’s important to “notice” how the thoughts surrounding a reaction cause you to feel a certain way. And how your feelings and emotions that accompany or arrive out of those thoughts will tell an often negatively biased story about yourself.  It’s important to notice those influences and then to engage in a positive neuroplasticity and self-esteeming activity like a walk in the woods, engaging in a hobby you really enjoy, or any of The Relaxation Response inducing practices I described in Engaging Your Wholeness.

By activating The Relaxation Response in your mind-body connection, especially after an incident of anxiety, stress, & overwhelm or a strong mental-emotional reaction, you begin to give those energies, and any  stories attached to them, less real estate in your neuromuscular circuitry.  And as you get better and more adept at activating The Relaxation Response when you need it, your mind-body connection gets better at healing of these stuck patterns in your mind-body connection and neuromuscular circuitry.

Always remember, in the back ground of all this energy, focus and daily cultivation of your conscious embodiment is a real and palpable forward-looking, liberation seeking, guiding light of the urge for sovereignty.

Taking up the leadership of your life includes a devotion to addressing the Reaction-Response Ratio any time you notice it out of balance. And the quickest way to amp up the response side of that ration is to learn how to activate The Relaxation Response within your nervous system.

 

Homework: 

Download my Free Building Resiliency in your Nervous System yoga nidra recording and recommit to listening to it at least 3 times/week.  

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