Hello! We are glad to have you back for week 6! This week's prompt will allow you to look at your triggers and plan how to respond in non-self-destructive ways.
Triggers are actions, situations, memories, physical sensations, or emotions that cause an emotional response. Becoming aware of triggers is necessary to change behavior patterns because once you know what is causing you stress, you can adjust how you respond. You may know some of your triggers already, but others will take some time and self-awareness in future occurrences. Once you can identify your triggers, you can plan for the future when they pop up. An alternative plan can help you break free from detrimental patterns by learning how to cope in healthier ways.
Before you begin, take a moment to prepare yourself mentally for journaling, as this can be a sensitive process, and emotions may arise. At any time, if you need a break, feel free to come back to this later.
PROMPT: If you currently are not aware of any triggers, think about when you felt emotional stress and how you responded. Then write it down.
EX) "The last time I felt emotionally stressed was when I looked in the mirror and did not like the way my body looked. I responded by telling myself that I am fat and ugly."
Now, take time to think about what caused you to respond in that way.
EX) I did not like the way I looked in the mirror. Because I did not like what I saw, I reacted by talking to myself negatively.
You have just identified a trigger!
If this was difficult for you, do not fret! This takes introspection and can be complicated. It may take multiple attempts to identify a psychological trigger. Once you know your triggers, you can start changing how you react. The first step is to think about why your triggers occur or the underlying reason for your responses. To do this, it helps to ask, "What could have caused my reaction" or "What made me respond this way?".
Here is an example:
What made me react this way? I do not feel confident in how my body looks.
Therefore, the reason is low self-confidence.
This is a pretty straightforward example; however, it may take some more digging to know what caused you to react in the way you did.
What made me react this way or What could have caused my reaction?
Once you know the reason for your triggers, you can plan to prevent self-detrimental reactions. It is beneficial to take responsibility for your triggers and take action to heal the trauma or underlying problems. You can do this by counteracting the reason for your trigger with an action that challenges and prevents that response in the future.
Write about how you can respond differently to your triggers the next time they occur.
Moving forward, we hope you look back on these plans during moments that are triggering to you and follow through with them. Please know that this process of changing deeply held beliefs, emotions, and thoughts is difficult and will take time, so be kind to yourself and celebrate small successes!
Until next week :)