Tossing, Turning & Triggers

Triggers. We all have them, especially during divorce...but maybe they have a something to teach us.

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program... of tossing and turning in the middle of the night, struggling with anxiety, thoughts bouncing off the corners of your skull, trying to solve the problems of your world.

Does any of this sound like you?

Those pesky thoughts and triggers!

Why is it that they so inconveniently show up to hold a board meeting in our heads at the time we need sleep and to restore most?

Because they have a captive audience — and they like their power over us.

There is no bypassing them with tasks, to-do lists and busyness. So, in the stillness of the night, they march forward barking our name and doling out irrational orders.

Now that they’ve got your attention, I want you to consider approaching this differently.

First off, identify what is triggering you? Consider the pattern that normally plays out. Something like this:

When I start to think about_____ (fill in your own trigger), it immediately sends me spiraling thinking about_____.

Make a list for all your triggers that get regularly played out and the dark places you go. This will help you reveal the routine. I’m not going to oversimplify anything here by stating that all you need to do is identify the source, but it is the process for looking at these emotions through a new lens.

It’s not about eradicating the feeling or experience — it’s about sitting with it, recognizing it’s routine and the song and dance that ensues as a result.

Our emotions can be quite irrational and dramatic, if you haven’t already noticed. They can drag us down in a nanosecond and undermine us. Don’t worry. You can learn to return the favor, undermine them, and take back your power.


As the anxiety mounts, ask yourself some simple questions:

Is this real?

What is underneath this?

Have I felt this before?

What is the common denominator here?

Then, most importantly, tell it, Not now, this isn’t helpful. I need to rest. Go away.

Suffering is an attachment we can cut ourselves free from.

We can recognize what is the source of the trigger (money, worthiness, abandonment, feeling unloved, etc.). We can begin to identify and trace the source of our pain (note: it’s usually deeper than you think, which is why it persists). Think of the stubborn roots the weeds in our gardens can have.

The key is to interrupt the dialog. When triggered, acknowledge its presence but don’t invite it to stay.

I’ll give you a personal example that happened to me just this week. I went to a 2-hour healing meditation session with a few friends. I had a guided meditation to listen to and was all settled in and ready to get all ZEN when my monkey mind got going. I was getting annoyed with myself, Not here, why are you raining on my parade. And then finally, I just declared, Get out of here. You are not invited to this party.

And you know what? Within a few minutes the chatter was gone because we are THAT powerful. We are in charge. We get to decide.

Bottom line: If you don’t take control of your thoughts, they will take control of you.

You need your sleep. You need your inner peace. You need to trust your intuition, wisdom and heart. And rehashing the past won’t help you build your future.

Our triggers shine a light on what we need to see, but we aren’t our triggers.

We aren’t our fears and vulnerabilities. We are meant to use them to move beyond them. Think of them as steppingstones.

Why is all of this so important?

...Because a worn-out mother who’s been awake all night worrying, who has fallen down the rabbit hole of emotional triggers and hasn’t cared for herself, can’t be on her A-Game for her children — or her divorce negotiations — the important decisions she needs to make — or her next chapters.

It’s like trying to build a solid house on a wobbly foundation.

I’d like to say that we could live in a ‘trigger free’ zone — that we’d never feel pain or discomfort again...alas, this is the human experience. Triggers are our teachers. However, we are meant to move through them.

—Kristen Noel, Certified Intuitive Divorce Coach | Editor-In-Chief, Best Self Magazine



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