Strategies that don’t work when you’re triggered and what to try instead

How many times have you read if you feel rage or upset – walk out the room, breathe and come back again?

Has it worked for you?

I’m sure 80-90% of the time it HASN’T worked.

Because what’s happened in that situation is the thing that’s activating you – it’s still there.

Let’s illustrated it with mess.

You walk into a room – there’s mess everywhere – you can feel the anxiety and rage coming over you.

You walk out of the room to ‘breathe’.

You walk back in – it’s still there – you are still triggered.

It’s even bigger this time round because you haven’t managed to calm yourself down.

RESULT – really losing it.

This is true for so many behaviour fixing strategies.

Using affirmations – “I am calm” – when you don’t feel calm and you try to tell yourself you’re calm – the rage takes over.

Breathing – you cannot focus on your breath for long enough.

Thinking positive thoughts or gratitude.

None of these things work. They are not helpful strategies.

When you SUPPRESS how you feel – the part of you that you suppress just gets more anxious, more angry, more triggered.

Think of it like a beach ball.

Try to push a beach ball under the water and at first you might have some control of it.

Continue to try to push it lower under the water or for an extended time – eventually it pops.

Your emotions are exactly the same.

The more or longer you suppress – the more they pop out in an uncontrollable way.

What does work?

Working WITH your emotions.

  • Lean into it – what is the feeling?
  • Get curious – why is it there?
  • Acknowledge anything that comes up
  • Be compassionate
  • Work on your triggers

Let’s illustrate it again with mess.

You walk into a room – there’s mess everywhere – you can feel the anxiety and rage coming over you.

You lean into this feeling – maybe a tightness in your chest, maybe a feeling in your stomach, maybe a feeling ALL over your body

You ask this feeling – why are you here – what is it you want me to know…… it might say something like I’m worried that someone will judge me for this mess, this mess feels overwhelming as I can’t think, I’m resentful that I have to always tidy and clean.

Acknowledge anything that comes up – ok I hear you – you’re finding this hard because….

Engage compassion – I can understand why this is tough for you – what do you need right now? How can I help you?

Work on your triggers – this might remind you of a time you were scolded for mess, a behaviour you saw from your parents, it might mean something other than mess, a belief that things aren’t fair.

RESULT – a much calmer and kinder you.

The work I do with my clients in sessions is learning these skills.

Often by the time someone has decided to work with me, anxiety is impacting so many parts of your life and is destroying both you and your relationships with everyone around you, meaning your confidence, esteem and self worth are at all time lows. It stops you enjoying your life and seeps into all your thoughts and behaviours.

It might mean that you feel helpless, stuck and exhausted and tried so many things that just don’t work or work for a bit, but don’t last.

When we work together – we work in different ways.

The work we do together might look like:

  1. Releasing trauma/difficult life experiences, beliefs and patterns so you can manage life as you want
  2. Rewiring how you function to work in a new or different way depending on what you want
  3. Resetting and embedding habits and behaviours in your life such as boundaries, priorities, wellbeing

I only have very limited spaces left to work together in 2022 in my one to one 90 day thrive programme.

If you’d like to find out more about my programme, get in touch.

Much love, Tricia xxx


Get in touch

Other posts you might be interested in…

My Experience with Belief Coding

My Experience with Belief Coding

You may have heard about Belief Coding and are wondering what it is and whether it's legit. I've got you. In this article I talk about my experiences of using it in my practice. I also cover some of the most common conserns my clients have expressed about it. My...

What does confidence really look like?

What does confidence really look like?

Confession time. One of the pieces of work I often do is a future you visualisation. It’s part of solutions focussed brief therapy is embodying the you that you want to be. Something in the last week shifted when I saw someone else talking about it and I realised that...

Which wolf are you feeding?

Which wolf are you feeding?

I’ve shared this parable before (a long time ago)… but want to share it from a slightly different perspective.  I love love love this parable.   Tale of the two wolves….  The story features two characters: a grandfather and his grandson. The grandfather explains to...