Triggers are inevitable, especially as a mother. Striving to get through motherhood as a Zen Master is unrealistic. Every day you are bombarded with situations that can send a rippling sensation throughout your body, resulting in you ‘flipping your lid’ (i.e., losing your mind). The motivation is not about avoiding triggers (that is an impossible task), but rather, it is about learning what to do in the moment.
When we know that we are empowered to handle our inner crisis, we develop confidence and a healthy mind. Granted, we don’t always want to engage in activities or behaviours that will foster health.
While my children were young I thought that I needed to learn how to embody the state of being experienced by meditation gurus; someone who could handle all the stressful circumstances that were happening around me with ease and equilibrium. In the end, I often felt like a failure every time I lost my temper and went from 10 to 100 in a blink of an eye. Thankfully we can repair. I spent a lot of time repairing my relationship with my children, reminding them that Mama is human and makes mistakes, and it is not about them. I brought them in closer, held them, and loved them.
That said, I didn’t want to live in a chronic state of ‘flipping my lid’ and I knew that I was responsible to how I reacted to external circumstances. Further, I recognized that how I was responding to present moment situations were informed by my past experiences. My past informed my present. Current challenges inspired a quest to dig. I went searching for what was really bothering me. This act has become second nature for me now, but it had a starting point. I am reminded that it is never too late to start.
It just so has it that the other day I was triggered, really triggered, and I noticed that my system was moving into overreaction. I knew that I needed to catch it before it got the best of me. After de-escalating my activated nervous system that was pounding, pulsing, and enraged, I wrote down exactly what I did so I could share it with you (without sharing the personal details of the experience).
When you are about to lose your mind, you may want to try the following:
Notice that you are activated.
Pay attention to the sensations in your body, the thoughts swarming, the emotions presenting, and the actions you ‘want’ to engage in. Reminding the ‘self’ that what is occurring is a patterned response. Most likely it feels familiar and old.
e.g., I always know something is off when I want to attack my significant other and when I want to rage or pick a fight. I also know something is off when I feel generally irritated or ungrounded.