What to Do When You Are Triggered

How to Control Your Reactions When You are Triggered  

Do you find yourself at the mercy of negative knee-jerk reactions when you are triggered? 

In this video clip from Video Chat 369, you will learn three questions to ask yourself so that you can be in control of your reactions, instead of being at their mercy. 


I'm going to make it even simpler. So you and me, we're going to make this simpler. You're going to get triggered every single day.

How to Know You're Being Triggered

Now, how do you know you're being triggered? The instant you're having a non-peaceful feeling— I'm going to make this really direct. Here's how we deal with triggers. So, notice I didn't say, the instant you're angry, cuz oh no, we justify it. “I'm not really angry, I'm just annoyed and frustrated.” bla bla bla No. Simpler. Afraid, running—no. Non-peaceful.

Right now, as I'm talking to you, I'm feeling really peaceful and on top of that a little energized actually. I'm having fun. I'm sitting here and talking to you and I get to be with my sweetie in the room who's running everything. This is a fun. Knowing how I feel now helps me to identify when I don't feel like this.

If you've never experienced true peace, not just because nothing bad is happening, but you're just feeling loved and wonderful. Once you have that feeling, all you have to do is identify when that feeling is not there. You don't have to get all clever and analytical “Is this anger? Which getting a protecting behavior is this?” No. I almost never use those terms. Non-peaceful.

What do you do? Stop.  No, it can't be that simple. Yeah, it really can. Let's keep going. Stop—because anything you say or do when you feel non-peaceful is going to go how? Really, the universal flow of everything is love. The universe is powered by love. It's a perfect brocade, it's gorgeous, it's a tapestry. Anything that you do that isn't consistent with that tapestry’s gonna look just stupid and end up hurting you or everybody else. So, when you don't feel peaceful, stop. If you're in the mountains and you're climbing a mountain and you feel your feet slipping out from under you, stop. Don't keep doing the same thing.  

Don't Ask "Why" When You're Triggered

Then you're going to ask some questions, just three and they're not Why. That's just the dumbest one. I get asked this every day: why do I feel bad? Who cares? The past. There, done. Okay so we took care of why— something from the past is triggering you and what thing is it? I don't care. Maybe your mother sighed when you did something like this, maybe your schoolmates laughed at you and you peed your pants. I don't care and you don't know either. You can look back at some things that you think are triggering you but  the odds you're right are really tiny since we remember far less than 1% of our lives when we were really young, far less. 

Three Questions to Ask Yourself When Triggered

Now, let's ask three questions. First, what am I doing? What am I doing right now? Okay, I'm not feeling peaceful. I'm living in the past in some kind of past judgment. I'm angry. I want to cut the head off of the person in front of me. What am I doing and feeling? Just, that's it—what. You have to be honest. You're doing this yourself so you got nobody to impress. What am I doing?

What's the next question? All right, so we got that, and is what I'm doing working? Kind of stupid. So what am I doing. Second, what do I want? Do I want something different from this? Well yeah, I want to be like Buddha. I want to reach the state of Bodhisattva. I want to have a Zen-like peace.  Okay. Say what you want. Anything. World peace.

But now we get to the third question, what am I capable of doing? So, I know what I want. I know what direction I'm headed for. How much am I capable of in moving in that direction? So, if you set world peace as your goal, okay. What's your next step, what's the next thing you actually can do toward that? Sometimes, it's leave the room. No kidding.

A Strategy for Dealing with Feeling Triggered  Peacefully

For example, I did this with a man this morning. I just reached into my pocket, I pulled out a three by five card on skype and I said, “This is what you do the next time your wife does that.” And he said, “Well, what does it say?” And I said, “Nothing. You haven't written on it yet. You pull out the card and a pen and you say, ‘I want to deal with that subject’ (the subject that she just brought up that triggered him crazy). You say ‘I want to deal with that subject tomorrow at 3 o'clock.’ That might be absolutely the best shot that you’ve got.

He said, “Well, she's not gonna like that.” We didn't ask what she'd like. That wasn't one of the questions. What are you doing which has triggered you out of your mind and you want to cut her head off. What do you want? “I want a happy marriage.” Yeah, and you're probably not gonna get that in the next 30 seconds, so what can you do? You don't know. You can get out a card which simply indicates to her that you're taking this seriously. “So, tomorrow at 3:30 we'll talk about this.” and then maybe you'll talk to some people who will help you acquire some sanity. I don't know what you're gonna do.

In conclusion, ask yourself these three questions. And just stop. It changes everything, no kidding. Now you're not a victim of being triggered anymore.

Learn more about eliminating your anger.  

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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