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Leaning in Instead of Acting Out

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to talk about how we can deal with the moments when we get triggered. So, first of all, what do I mean when I say the word triggered? So that word can be used in lots of different ways. So just want to clarify here that when I'm using the word triggered here today, what I'm referring to is when we have a really strong emotional response to something. Usually it's an unpleasant emotional response of some kind to something that happened in the environment.

So one of the things that can happen when we get triggered is that we immediately have this urge to do something in the external environment. So we might want to, for example, yell at someone or just say something to put them in their place. Give them a certain look, write a hasty email, make a hasty phone call. We might have that urge to beep your horn really loudly at a driver in traffic, or to act coldly towards someone or maybe even withdraw. So because of the way that the human mind has evolved, anytime we feel threatened or afraid we do have a very strong tendency to want to immediately to lurch into some kind of attack or a defense type of response or behavior very, very quickly.

For our ancestors, the cavemen and cave women, this was a really wonderful response to protect ourselves very quickly in any moment of immediate danger. Now, for us these days, if we're just acting out of our intense emotions in a reactive way, that's not going to be very helpful for us if we're doing it all the time. But what can we do instead? So one more helpful approach is to think about when we get emotionally triggered to think about leaning in instead of acting out. So leaning in instead of acting out so. We can lean in, in three basic steps.

Any moment when we get triggered, the first thing we can do is take a pause and if possible, take a breath. One deep breath in and out. It starts to down regulate your nervous system a little bit. And in that moment, just taking some time to just recognize what the emotion is that we're feeling. So it can be helpful to actually mentally name the emotion to yourself.

Like right now I'm feeling angry, right now I'm feeling scared or sad or whatever the emotion is. But now we're not trying to change the emotion, just noticing it and accepting that it's here, acknowledging that it's here. So after we do that, the second thing we can do is take a moment to investigate what is happening for us and trying to do that with an attitude of kindness and curiosity. So we might ask ourselves things like, gee, what's going on inside me right now? What brought up these feelings? Or, you know, what kinds of thoughts have I been having about what's happening that are leading me to feel like this? So we're just taking a moment to inquire. Maybe you might ask yourself also what needs of mine are not being met in this moment.

So after we inquire about what's happening in our experience, the final step is to bring a sense of nurturing and kindness to yourself and to the emotion. You might even say something to yourself mentally like, oh, gee, this is really hard. May I be kind to myself in this moment. The reason that kindness is a really powerful step is because kindness soothes the nervous system, settles the mind and gives us back the mental space and composure to take wise and skillful action if we need to. So step one, recognize and name the emotion.

Two, investigate with curiosity. Three, bring kindness to yourself and the feeling. So the next time you find yourself feeling triggered, try leaning in instead of acting out. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here. Let's settle in now for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

Leaning in Instead of Acting Out

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to talk about how we can deal with the moments when we get triggered. So, first of all, what do I mean when I say the word triggered? So that word can be used in lots of different ways. So just want to clarify here that when I'm using the word triggered here today, what I'm referring to is when we have a really strong emotional response to something. Usually it's an unpleasant emotional response of some kind to something that happened in the environment.

So one of the things that can happen when we get triggered is that we immediately have this urge to do something in the external environment. So we might want to, for example, yell at someone or just say something to put them in their place. Give them a certain look, write a hasty email, make a hasty phone call. We might have that urge to beep your horn really loudly at a driver in traffic, or to act coldly towards someone or maybe even withdraw. So because of the way that the human mind has evolved, anytime we feel threatened or afraid we do have a very strong tendency to want to immediately to lurch into some kind of attack or a defense type of response or behavior very, very quickly.

For our ancestors, the cavemen and cave women, this was a really wonderful response to protect ourselves very quickly in any moment of immediate danger. Now, for us these days, if we're just acting out of our intense emotions in a reactive way, that's not going to be very helpful for us if we're doing it all the time. But what can we do instead? So one more helpful approach is to think about when we get emotionally triggered to think about leaning in instead of acting out. So leaning in instead of acting out so. We can lean in, in three basic steps.

Any moment when we get triggered, the first thing we can do is take a pause and if possible, take a breath. One deep breath in and out. It starts to down regulate your nervous system a little bit. And in that moment, just taking some time to just recognize what the emotion is that we're feeling. So it can be helpful to actually mentally name the emotion to yourself.

Like right now I'm feeling angry, right now I'm feeling scared or sad or whatever the emotion is. But now we're not trying to change the emotion, just noticing it and accepting that it's here, acknowledging that it's here. So after we do that, the second thing we can do is take a moment to investigate what is happening for us and trying to do that with an attitude of kindness and curiosity. So we might ask ourselves things like, gee, what's going on inside me right now? What brought up these feelings? Or, you know, what kinds of thoughts have I been having about what's happening that are leading me to feel like this? So we're just taking a moment to inquire. Maybe you might ask yourself also what needs of mine are not being met in this moment.

So after we inquire about what's happening in our experience, the final step is to bring a sense of nurturing and kindness to yourself and to the emotion. You might even say something to yourself mentally like, oh, gee, this is really hard. May I be kind to myself in this moment. The reason that kindness is a really powerful step is because kindness soothes the nervous system, settles the mind and gives us back the mental space and composure to take wise and skillful action if we need to. So step one, recognize and name the emotion.

Two, investigate with curiosity. Three, bring kindness to yourself and the feeling. So the next time you find yourself feeling triggered, try leaning in instead of acting out. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here. Let's settle in now for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

Duration

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