Five Triggers that Leave Us Feeling Yucky

The Monday morning stomach ache.  A familiar uneasy feeling has settled in my gut, and no amount of self-talk makes it go away.  It’s our weekly sales meeting, when my production will again be measured against everyone else’s.  Oh don’t get me wrong.  Sometimes, even often if I’m honest – I was at the top of the curve.  But it didn’t seem to actually matter where my name appeared on the rankings spreadsheet. I always had anxiety going into those meetings.

I didn’t know it then, but I do now.  I was being triggered.  The dictionary says that a trigger means “an event or situation that causes something to start”.  In this case, those meetings triggered an overabundant supply of anxiety and fear.  I was deeply afraid of not being good enough, and even more afraid that someone else would see it too.  This fear was my constant companion and flared up at the least provocation, with the after effects rendering physical feels and emotional hurts that could last for hours.

As it turns out, just like my Monday meeting, a certain situation is one of the top five triggers people experience.  I’m not citing any fancy Harvard Business Review behind this assertion. It’s simply my own observation and experience housed in 20 years of consulting and executive coaching.  

Here’s the Top Five Triggers list:

  • Self Doubt
  • Specific People
  • Certain Situations
  • Unfavorable Outcomes
  • Unrealized Feelings/Emotions

Do any of these feel familiar to you?  Perhaps you’ve experienced countless other triggers that create strong physical and emotional reactions within you.    

At the core, these triggers are simply bringing awareness to something inside of us we have not yet addressed and cleared.  And what seems challenging at first is that the triggers cause such big feelings it can scare us and/or prevent us from looking into our own centeredness to find the real meaning behind the trigger. But here is what I’ve learned in my own experience.  These triggers are a gift.  It’s our physical and emotional bodies gift of awareness.  When I finally (I’m a bit stubborn) gave myself permission to sit with my own triggers and consider what was behind them, I felt surprisingly free and content for the first time in years.  I learned that digging a little deeper really isn’t scary. As a matter of fact, getting to know myself more helped my self-confidence and made it easier to be ME! With a bit of time and practice I was able to release the core issues the trigger was showing me.

If you are tired of feeling unwanted familiar twinges, stomach aches or the like from your own triggers, maybe you have simply outgrown the usefulness of that trigger and you’re ready for a new day and your new way.  Check out The Self Awareness Journey© ( for a simple process to get you started.  



Photo by Jeffrey Doty Photography with permission