I wanted to talk about a very simple technique you can use when you are feeling triggered. Let me get this disclaimer out of the way first: I am not a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. I am a Yogi, therefore I bring yogic solutions to the table. I am completely in favor or whatever works FAST and if I find a technique that helps me live a more peaceful and happy existence, I'm going to share it.
I've combined what I've learned from one of my favorite books The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer with some teachings from Pema Chodron, who is an incredible Buddhist teacher and writer. I've added some yogic breath work and transmutation techniques I've learned along the way and here we are. I hope this helps...
We'll call this NFBT for short:
Before we get to the technique, let's define "triggered" as I'm referring to it here. I'm talking about those events that quickly ignite a negative storm of emotions within. A trigger could be something someone says (knowingly or unknowingly), a passive aggressive comment or question from a family member, a post you see on social media, getting cut off in traffic etc.. These things can be big or small but after you are triggered, the result is a downward spiral of your energy and once the downturn begins, it's hard to bounce back.
"If it's hysterical, it's historical" is one of my favorite sayings that speaks to the fact that if your emotional reaction is BIG, it's probably a past wound being poked by the trigger. In my experience, knowing intellectually why something bothered me isn't enough to work through the emotion. Also, there's stuff stored in our subconscious mind that we may never have access to. This is where this technique comes in handy. You don't have to have to know the whole history behind why you are triggered because we are working on an energetic level with this technique.
How do we work with this energy so that we can quickly move through it without allowing it to ruin the rest of our day or week? How can we use the difficult moment as an opportunity to actually work towards getting rid of the trigger altogether instead of continuing to feed it?
The first step is to NOTICE that you are triggered. You will feel the energy change fast- that is the nature of being triggered. Things could have been going just fine on second ago and then all of a sudden, you have been blindsided by your emotional reaction. If you can NOTICE without reacting, this is already a huge victory.
Next, FEEL where the reaction is happening. Did your throat get tight? Do you feel constriction in the heart center? Did your stomach turn or knot-up? Here's the challenging part: do NOT let your mind take over at this point. Try to avoid creating a story around what is happening. Instead, drop awareness into the body and FEEL what part of you is experiencing the tension or change of energy.
Now, BREATHE into that area. Take a few really deep breaths while focusing all of your awareness on the part of the body where the energy is tight, uncomfortable, swirling, hot (however it shows up for you). Imagine that with each deep breath, you are creating space for that energy to move. With each deep breath, "watch" or experience the energy as it morphs and changes. Again, try not to analyze or figure anything out with the mind. Leave the mind out of it for now. Just BREATHE and observe the energy.
Finally, we TRANSMUTE. We take that triggered energy and we imagine that it turns to black smoke. Keep breathing and imagine that the energy of the stored emotion, both past and present, is a swirling ball of black smoke that moves down and out of your body through the soles of your feet. Send the energy out of your body and down into the earth, where it can be transmuted and used for good. As you visualize or feel the energy moving down the body, imagine that the earth is a vacuum that assists in pulling the smoke completely out of your body. Clear and purify the energy by sending all of the triggered emotion down and out of the body and then cloak yourself in a golden or white light.
I've gone into detail here and broken this technique into 4 steps: NOTICE, FEEL, BREATHE, TRANSMUTE but in practice, the steps happen in quick succession and the whole process shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes. If you were triggered by something during the day but completely forgot to do this, you can revisit the triggering situation in your head and bring yourself through the steps retroactively.
I remind myself of these steps in the morning before I begin my day so that if I encounter difficult circumstances, I can use them as opportunities to get rid of some garbage instead of getting myself into trouble by reacting. When I manage to keep these concepts in mind and stay conscious enough to practice them, it works like magic.