Don’t Panic – Ever Been Triggered?

What happens when you are triggered?

How many organisations teach their staff and leaders how to cope and bounce back when they are triggered?

When you find one let me know because they seem to be as rare as an England football, world cup winning team!

Becoming Triggered

Getting triggered (physically, emotionally and psychologically) is a normal, expected part of being human because we all have a unique perception of the world that doesn’t automatically fit with the reality of the human thats standing, living and breathing next to us.

Science knows that two human beings can see exactly the same event, inches apart from each other, one will be triggered and the other wont because of the way the human brain creates its personal view of reality.

As its such a part of being human you might expect that every organisation, team and leader would invest in developing skills and insights to bring us back to calm, reasoning and equilibrium.

Ever seen organisations suffer from interdepartmental ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’?

In other words, lots of people triggering each other!

Generally ‘We’ are Rubbish at Live and Let Live

We often like to think we are good at a ‘live and let live’ outlook but that holds no water when we feel our hackles go up at someone else’s different behaviour.

In workshops i sometimes entertain a 5 minute discussion about what triggers are ignited when out supermarket shopping and by other peoples driving. It takes all of 3 seconds to see we fail miserably at live and let live!

Its More than Mind

Rebalancing  being triggered takes more than a mental readjustment.  This is because the reaction is occurring in the body, within our nervous system well before our conscious mind knows whats happening.

For an extreme example observe the Liverpool and Uruguay footballer Luis Suarez who has a renowned habit of biting players. I’ve heard several pundits ask, why does he do it?

A fair enough question but psychologically speaking its highly likely the player himself doesn’t even know why!  Its a trigger that happens so fast that it bypasses the conscious mind and the dirty deed is done.

We Need to Utilise the Body 

One powerful theory is that because it starts in the body before conscious awareness this is where we have to begin making adjustments; in the body before the mind!

It’s why certain breathing techniques for instance can powerfully reduce nerves, anxiety, panic, etc. The answer doesn’t come cognitively from saying to yourself, something like, “don’t panic”!

Therefore how we breath is linked to composure, confidence, presence, resilience and performance. 

In fact, cognitive interventions such as saying “Don’t” are proven in some psychological studies to often make matters worse. Think of the old sit com, Dads Army, as Corporal Jones says “don’t panic, don’t panic” and his anxiety escalates.

Embodiment – An Answer

Embodiment is a relatively recent school of learning in which we learn to understand and control things like being triggered through the influence of the body. It can include

  • Breath work
  • Posture realignment; including how we stand, move and walk
  • The release of tension in muscle groups that effect communication and performance (such as neck, shoulders, back and jaw)
  • Mindfulness practises

Anger, stress, panic, frustration and anxiety tend to control the breath, rapidly affect posture and tension and so to regain control we learn to make adjustments directly here.

Ironically, this knowledge also act as reasons why you wont find many organisations training one of the most essential skills we need in a demanding business world.

Training buyers can find it difficult to see that the skills of embodiment are worthwhile. Instead they look at things like breath and posture work as non business, fluffy or intangible.

When learning how to rebalance being triggered is one of the most pressing needs in todays ever changing corporate world.

For more obligation free information on how to rebalance your teams when they are triggered or to create greater resilience contact me at

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