Now that we have learned the first part of our S.T.O.P. process: S is for Slow down we can move on to the second step.
T is for Trigger Moment:
MAKE A LIST OF ALL YOUR TRIGGERS
In order to start noticing triggers start by making a simple list of all the triggers you notice that surface in your life on a regular basis. How do you know if something is a trigger? The litmus test to identify a trigger is if you are responding emotionally. Maybe at 5:00 everyday you are impatient to the point of yelling at your children? Maybe when the topic of money comes up with your spouse you get defensive? Maybe when you talk politics with your father you get angry? Maybe there are certain types of people you can’t tolerate? Maybe certain foods cause an emotional response? Don’t overlook it. Write it down.
It is best to compile as long and complete a list as possible, so you can really SEE on paper what you are dealing with. Think of situations, people and locations. Think of topics of conversation. Try to notice patterns. The idea is that the list of triggers opens up your awareness. Maybe your children fighting causes you to jump in and play referee, so you write it down. Then the next day you notice this same thing happening again. Ah! There it is! You noticed it again. Now you are making progress!
It is not better if it is a short list, or worse if it is a long list. The fact that you are taking ownership of your reactivity and trying to identify personal patterns is in short, amazing! For now it is enough to just make the list. Don’t worry about what to do next. That will come. For now, keep listing. Keep a paper taped inside of your kitchen cabinet and add to it over time. After you react, think about it. Try to identify what it was that triggered you and write it down. Congratulate yourself for having the courage to look more deeply and start getting excited for Step 3 next week. Freedom from triggers is on its way!
Now we can move on to O is for Ownership!