How to Release Pressure

    This week we’re seeking to understand our subconscious defense mechanisms, how to recognize them, and how to move past them. In our first two posts, we learned to notice times when we overreact and/or switch from one feeling to another quickly, without sufficient cause in what is happening at the moment. These are signs that an inner defense has been triggered.

    Other signs you can notice include tension and tightness in your body, complaining, blaming, or negatively judging others or circumstances, and engaging in distraction or avoidance behaviors. For more details, check out the last couple posts.

    Today, let’s talk about what to do as you notice yourself being triggered. As you pay attention to signs that your defenses are active, you may notice just how often this happens. You may discover that much of your life is spent in a triggered state, or a state of low-level tension, stress, or anxiety. It’s not that all-of-a-sudden this is happening more often, you’re just noticing it more. It’s O.K. We all get triggered. It’s how we relate to it that makes all the difference.

    When you notice yourself being triggered, insert a mental pause. Stop what you are doing. Be still for a moment. Relax your shoulders down. Take a couple deep breaths. Shake out your body if you feel tense. If you need to, step outside the current situation to do that. If necessary, you can tell others that you just need a little break.

    Recognize that you’ve been triggered and accept it. It doesn’t make you a “bad” person, or any less competent, or any less able to realize your goals and dreams. You just need a moment to “come back to yourself.”

    Take an honest look at what is happening inside you, what you are thinking and feeling, and what is happening on the outside, what you are doing and how you are relating to others and circumstances. Accept whatever you see.

    Realize that what you are doing is just an automatic reaction, a mental-emotional track that was formed from past experiences. These reactions are not “who you are,” they are simply learned response patterns. We all have different versions of automatic inner defenses that activate when we feel pressured.

    When you take a moment to pause, relax, and breathe, you interrupt that automatic cycle. You break up that pattern and insert a moment of conscious awareness and relaxation into that moment.

    In tomorrow’s post, we’ll talk about how you can take the next steps from there.


    Kevin Schoeninger

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