We are smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is over, and Hanukkah, Christmas, and the New Year are all on the way. How are you doing? I mean, how are you really doing?
As much as I love the holidays (and I do), what I don’t love is the mind field of trauma triggers that get set off at this time every year. When the season starts, I feel excited and hopeful. It’s all Christmas carols, good cheer, and decorating. My heart is joyful, and I anticipate and look forward to spending time with family and friends. But somewhere between the cranberry sauce and the prime rib, things can start to go haywire and my internal operating system has been known to get overloaded.
Trigger trauma, old stories, and old behaviors crop up. Well-intended comments can seem like attacks. Getting stuck in childhood feelings at family events is so common that many people actually dread the holidays.
And here’s the thing, the old stories are like apps on your phone, draining the battery. Maybe you purchased one called “Childhood stories I tell myself to feel like crap,” or another one called, “I have never fit in,” or another called, “I’m not good enough” or my favorite, “They don’t understand me.” All of these apps are running in the background and you are paying $4.99 a month for each old story running in your subconscious. No wonder you are walking around at 10%.
So, what can you do to uninstall the old story and get back to your preprogrammed state? The one that leaves you charged, uplifted, and feeling your best?
You can change the context.
We are walking reactors and are used to behaving with trigger responses that have very little to do with the here and now but have become a quick coping mechanism. Here’s the way out.
- Catch your thought. When you feel triggered, take a moment and pause. Notice where you feel it in your body.
- Ask yourself, what is an alternative viewpoint that I can see this from? It doesn’t have to be true for you. You don’t have to believe it. But do look for one. You can look at this from the lens of your highest self, higher power, or from the viewpoint of someone who has sound and alternative thinking.
- Ask yourself, from this alternative viewpoint, what action can I take?
- Take action on the new thought and let the old thought trigger response dissipate.
Let me give you an example of what this looks like. I was traveling for work last week and my husband didn’t answer a text I had sent. I was feeling sensitive because I hadn’t seen him or really connected with him for a few days, and I was at a coaching conference – nothing better than a group of coaches to pull up your deep internal stuff to have you look at. I was feeling raw and my childhood trauma trigger of abandonment popped up. I felt unloved, ignored, devalued, unseen. I wanted to cause a fight, say mean things, and act out. Instead, I stopped, paused, asked myself what an alternative thought/viewpoint could be. I came up with a few: he could have been sleeping, or away from his phone, he was busy, maybe he needed a minute to collect his thoughts to respond kindly, he didn’t have his phone near him. Since it was 7 AM PST for him and 8 AM MT for me on a Sunday morning, I went with he was sleeping. I took action based on that and left a nice text and went on with my morning. The trauma response softened. I reminded myself that I was okay in the here and now. He hadn’t abandoned me. A few hours later, he texted good morning and said he had fallen back asleep after we had spoken. I was so glad I hadn’t caused a mess even though my app called, “Childhood stories I tell myself to feel like crap” was on standby.
We all have trauma and old stories just waiting to be triggered. The good news is that with practice, we can catch our thoughts and take a new action to get a different result.
If you have triggers you want to reframe, please schedule a complimentary 30-minute session with me. If you are looking for ways to up-level 2020, please contact me about my VIP program that is meant to clear your blocks, create vision and prosperity, and kick start your year.
Be well, my friend. Be kind to others and to yourself. Happy holidays!