Have you ever felt your words completely leave your head when someone jabs you with a criticism, look, or tone of voice? I have. I feel like a four year old who just got shamed or scolded, and my mind goes completely blank. I hate that feeling.
Have you ever been going along and your spouse or child says just the right thing, and BAM, you are losing it and so many words are flying out of your mouth at high decibels and you can't stop? I hate that feeling, too.
So...what can be done to stop the brain shut down, or shut down the flying words? First, just be aware that you are having the experience of being triggered. This is when a deep, hidden childhood emotion or fear comes racing to the surface of your brain because it recognizes and remembers that criticism, look, or tone of voice, and your brain wants to protect you from experiencing the pain. So, it shuts down your brain power, or turns it on high speed - either way, you are not in control and, either way, it feels yuck.
So here's my version of what I learned from a mentor years ago that I now teach my clients:
1 - Recognize when you feel triggered, then immediately take a step back from the situation and breathe.
2 - Say to yourself: I forgive myself (for feeling shut down, for negative head talk, for losing your temper - whatever the situation is)
3 - Say to yourself: I'm willing to let that go and I'm willing to feel peace.
4 - Take a break from the situation. Put yourself in time-out. Go for a walk, play your favorite music, go to the water fountain and get a drink...anything, just take a break.
When there is a plan in place, then you have more freedom to choose your response. Do you have a plan for when you get triggered? Please share! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about it!
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