Have you ever been emotionally triggered and you reacted in a way that was less than ideal? You may have noticed physical sensations such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, a temperature change or feelings of constriction or tightness. You’re not alone. Before you know it, you may have found yourself being short tempered, shutting down or fleeing from the situation all together. Our reaction can leave us feeling disempowered in how we handled the situation.  This not only affects how we feel, but may also impact our relationships, our work and our performance.

Here are 4 Simple Steps to Take Control:

  • Power of the Pause – When you feel triggered this is your signal to take an intentional pause. Consider picturing a yellow stop light in front of you queuing you to “slow down.”


  • Breathe – Take a few deep inhalations as this helps change your physiology and can reduce the stress response and calm the mind.


  • Get curious – Identify what triggered you. Consider asking yourself, where is this emotional reaction coming from? What is it that is causing me to react this way? Increasing your awareness to the trigger and asking “why” can lead to greater clarity and insight.  Identifying the trigger can give you the opportunity to make a conscious choice on how you want to respond in the future.


  • Acknowledge your emotion – Sometimes we can create a story in our heads that will criticize ourselves and/or blame others.  A healthy dose of self-compassion and taking responsibility for our behavior can be useful.  Experiment with “Reframing” the situation in a new way that allows you to see the situation with different possibilities and opportunity. When you are able to shift your perspective, you will begin to think, feel and show up differently in in your life.

As you practice these steps, you are shifting the way you respond to your emotional triggers from a knee jerk reaction to a more empowering place of choice and freedom.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”-Wayne Dyer.

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