Triggers and Anxiety oh no!
We all get triggered and experience anxiety from time to time. Some of us know our trigger spots well such as being criticized, phobias, general fears, feeling out of control, the list goes on. Other triggers can hit us out of the blue and it sends our bodies and psyche into a swirl. Often we turn to our partners, our families or friends immediately when this happens. What if we learned to turn to ourselves in this state of overwhelm?
In my last 20 years as a Psychotherapist, I have spent the majority of my time guiding and supporting clients when they feel triggered or in a state of anxiety. Typical experiences include and are not limited to:
- Shortness of breath
- Racing heartbeat
- Compulsive thoughts
- Narrowed perspective
- Short fuse
- Lack of clarity.
Then added to it, the pressure to communicate with their partner, kids, boss, friend of family member what they are experiencing. Sometimes, it’s all just too much.
I developed a self-help tool called: Innerstate, a 6-step Process for Triggers and Anxiety. Innerstate allows you the chance to check-in with yourself at a deeper level, and gather a more dimensional and full picture of what you are experiencing.
Common culture is unnaturally weighted towards extroversion, and encouraging people to respond with immediacy when they are upset. I believe we need the opposite. We need to go inward when a trigger or anxiety comes up, because until you have fully listened and attended to yourself, it’s nearly impossible to communicate that full picture to someone else.
How deeply have you been listening to yourself?
Innerstate 6-Step Process
Innerstate guides you to place your hands on a corresponding body parts and ask a repeating question.
- HIGHER SELF, if you could speak, what would you say: _________________________________________________________________________
- MIND, if you could speak, what would you say: _________________________________________________________________________
- THROAT, if you could speak, what would you say: _________________________________________________________________________
- HEART, if you could speak, what would you say: _________________________________________________________________________
- FEELINGS, if you could speak, what would you say: _________________________________________________________________________
- BODY, if you could speak, what would you say: _________________________________________________________________________
Circle 7 words above that stand out and finish the sentence
I accept and appreciate my:_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Something magical happens in combining self-touch, attentive self-questions, and writing down the internal response. You will experience a more full empathy with yourself and your experience. You will also be more likely able to communicate this information with someone else, thereby creating more empathy. There is also a vulnerability you can access, which undercuts defensive strategies trying to keep you safe, yet stuck.
Self-love and attunement is the essence of Innerstate
Attunement is most often written in reference to others.
Attunement is the reactiveness we have to another person. It is the process by which we form relationships. Dr. Dan Siegel says, “When we attune with others we allow our own internal state to shift, to come to resonate with the inner world of another.
While tuning into others is crucial, we must attune to ourselves first.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdomAristotle
Here is an example of the 6 Step Innerstate process:
Trigger: I am panicked about my work presentation tomorrow! You can start with any part of yourself, however I recommend starting with your head, because we most often get stuck there.
- HEAD, if you could speak what would you say? What if they think my presentation is something they have already heard and I provide no value?
- HEART, if you could speak, what would you say? I can only deliver what I know, and I can’t be so hard on myself for that.
- THROAT, if you could speak, what would you say? My colleague Sam is always spouting off everything he knows during my presentations and it really irritates me.
- FEELINGS, if you could speak, what would you say? I am lonely in creating this presentation and wish I had someone to collaborate with. I am also afraid to fail.
- BODY, if you could speak, what would you say? I need to get this tension out and go for a walk. I need the endorphins to get more creative.
- HIGHER SELF, if you could speak, what would you say? What I have to say has value whether they appreciate it or not. Do your best. ❤️
Circle 7 words above that stand out & finish the sentence
I accept and appreciate my: fear, creativity, what I know, letting go of tension, my personal value and doing my best!
Now that I have become aware of multiple aspects of myself, I feel more self-compassionate. I might sharing this with my partner, friend or family member prior to the presentation. Being witnessed in our experience is powerful first with ourselves and then with others. Try it!
Innerstate Free Worksheet
The next time you feel triggered or anxious, take 5-10 minutes to fill out the Innerstate worksheet! Let me know how it works for you in the comments or leave me a message through my website: https://valtate.com/
Our communication can vastly improve with more self-understanding. I feel inspired when I hear the ‘wow’ and shifts in clients after utilizing Innerstate.
Forward this blog to anyone you know who may benefit from some self-reflection, self-love and care,
If you’re not on my calendar and want to be, I am offering tele-medicine Video sessions through state of the art HIPAA compliant software. I am also offering EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing on Video. Book an online session or FREE 15 minute consultation here: https://valtate.com/