How to Process Emotional Triggers
I remember whenever I got sick as a little girl, my mother would bring me into the kitchen and give me a spoonful of medicine. I didn’t like the taste of it, but she said it would make me feel better. As I was processing a trigger just the other day, God gave me this flashback for a picture: getting “triggered” was like the spoonful of medicine – I usually don’t like it, but it promotes healing and health.
A trigger happens when something emotionally stirs me up. In other words, an event occurs that causes an interior disturbance. When the majority of us are triggered, we tend to either shove the feelings down or walk in the trigger the rest of the day (or week or month). For example: if I am upset with my boss for using my co-worker’s idea while never even allowing me to share mine or listen to me (this is the “trigger”), I tend to, A) keep my resentment and hurt to myself and go about things like nothing’s wrong, or B) have a chip on my shoulder and stay irritable, cranky, and in a bad mood the rest of the day, affecting everyone and everything around me. Any of this sound familiar? For me, my norm was always stuffing my emotions and pretending everything was just “fine.”
Fortunately there is the third option – processing the trigger. To process we simply stop and take the time to, first, feel what we’re feeling, then secondly, question why I’m feeling that way. There are a number of good questions to ask as you step “beside” yourself and calmly observe. (Our new CD series Discovery Prayer Ministry explains this process thoroughly.) As you observe and bring your discoveries to the Lord, usually prayers of forgiveness or repentance are needed and Father speaks truth to us regarding the situation. Then the event loses its negative effect. You have now processed through it, not avoided or wallowed in it.
Getting through our triggers is a way to regain health – emotional health. It’s like taking that spoonful of medicine for our physical health. Sometimes stopping and processing our emotions can be yucky and uncomfortable, but afterwards the hurt and pain is gone and we feel better.