When you feel triggered, here’s how to stay cool

Photo by Sander Sammy on Unsplash

When triggered, the amygdala, the part of your brain primarily associated with emotional processes, can be activated. It releases stress hormones that prepare you to fight, freeze or flee. Fantastic if you’re in physical danger, but not necessarily when in a meeting or negotiation. 

Here’s a way to return to or stay COOL.

Catch the trigger, 
Observe it, 
Open up and 
Learn from it. 

Notice what set you off. Was it something someone said or did? Pay attention to what’s happening now and/ or reflect on it afterwards. 

Get curious. Focus on taking slow breaths in an out and observing the internal thoughts and feelings. 

Open up
Consider sharing what’s happening. You can say: ‘I’m noticing myself getting triggered. It’s stopping me from thinking clearly.” If this isn’t appropriate, take a short break and make a written or audio note on your phone. 

If you know your most common triggers, it becomes easier to manage them. You can’t stop them, but you can choose how you respond to them.

Try this the next time you’re feeling triggered and let me know how it goes.