Have you ever had the experience where you just felt angry? sad? or afraid? Do you know what was the cause?
Or did you just chalk it up to – “That’s just who I am?”
To the untrained mind and person, we all have situations and circumstances that just cause us to react a certain way. We can’t help it, and we just do. We aren’t even aware of it.
And so we react, either for the better, or for the worse.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
What causes you to behave in certain ways?
We all have triggers – various stimuli that causes us to react in certain ways.
Some triggers causes us to feel certain emotions, and to start to bring to mind certain beliefs. Most of the time, deeply rooted in our experiences and past.
It’s like playing with fire when you were young, and then getting burned real badly. The experience teaches us to be careful with fire, and maybe, even to fear it.
Some reactions are like reflexes. We don’t even have to think about it, we just do it, it just happens.
It’s not all good though.
I had several experiences early on and frequently in my childhood with my parents, and it involved them always shouting at me, for whatever little reason. Probably I was a mischievous little kid, but I could do nothing without them shouting at me.
Fast forward years into the future, and the sound of my parent’s voice shouting, even at other people, is still enough to bring my hairs standing up, and to bring about deep negative feelings inside of me.
I know it’s no longer aimed at me, and it’s just an environmental stimulus that I’m presented with, but that is my reflex reaction. When I was unaware of what was happening, just the sound of their voices shouting was enough to bring me to a bad mood, which resulted in many bad decisions being made on my part.
Also, for the longest time, I thought that I was just really careful whenever I made my decisions. By being aware of my triggers, and what causes my reactions, I found out that decision making situations brought about a certain fear because when I was young, no matter what decision I would make, it would always end up with me being shouted at.
The awareness of your triggers, and their causes, is powerful.
It allows you the chance to react otherwise, and to choose a better behavior and response to the situation, and not be at the mercy of your knee-jerk reactions and reflexes.
Is it true now? Is it necessarily true?
These stimuli, and what causes our reactions, are rooted in the past, and have been deeply wired into our minds and bodies.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t break free from them.
Especially, if they are ineffective.
In my case, a lot of the fear had to do with my parents shouting at me as a kid. But now? Is that necessarily true? Of course not.
But the human body and mind remembers, long after what has happened is no more.
Begin to be aware of your triggers, and what situations and stimuli cause certain emotions, reactions, thoughts, and fears to open up inside of you.
Be mindful of what situations not only are like, but what they feel like. What they remind you of. What they tell you. What your initial reaction is and what you want to do.
Get inside of your head, and be aware of yourself in the situation.
One practice that helps immensely in developing deeper self-awareness and mindfulness is meditation. Being aware of the sensations on your body, and what’s going on inside of your mind, is a great practice to begin to look at yourself objectively.
Another great practice is journaling. Not only about the events that happened, but what did you feel in those events? What were your thoughts? What was happening inside of you, as well as outside? How did that influence what you were saying, doing, and thinking?
What’s a better reaction? What’s a more effective mindset to have?
A big part of reactions is that it’s not just physical – it’s not just the body. Our mind, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings play a big part in our reactions as well.
So to change a reaction to a certain situation, would mean we would have to change what we believe and what we think about that certain situation as well.
You can do this through affirmation, and by constantly being aware about yourself, your feelings and thoughts whenever you get into situations, where you are aware you have some very touchy triggers.
Don’t let your triggers control how you react, and how you live your life.
Get to mastering yourself.
Don’t react blindly. Be aware of yourself.
And recognize – you are not your past, and you are not your reactions.
Have you overcome a trigger of yours that causes you to react negatively? Please share in the comments below!