We’ve all been there, whether we knew it or not, where something inside us, some intense feeling, started to bubble up and take over as a response to an experience. Instantly, we are at a 10 and a feeling is TRIGGERED! Whether it’s an overwhelming feeling of anxiety/fear spreading throughout your limbs and body, hot anger coursing through you and causing your brain to go offline, or sadness swallowing you up–Your intensity scale is at a HIGH point. We may be reacting to a situation we can change or maybe it’s a situation we have no control over–either way, it’s challenging to exist in this triggered state.
Here are some TIPPs to help you immediately (and physiologically) decrease the triggered emotion’s intensity:
T – Temperature: Put your face in a bowl of ice water OR take a cold shower, run cold water over your face, hold a ziplock bag of ice to your face, eyes, cheeks, and temples. Finding a way to change that body temp will rapidly reduce the intensity of the emotion.
I – Intense Exercise: Moving till you are sweating for at least 20-30 mins will help the body de-escalate that intense feeling.
P – Paced Breathing: Regulate and slow down your breathing by taking deep breaths into your belly through your nose for 5 seconds, and then exhale the air through your mouth for 7 seconds. Do this paced breathing for as long as you’re able, trying for a minimum of 2-3 minutes if possible.
P – Paired Muscle Relaxation: Tense a set of muscles while you breath in for 5-6 seconds. Relax those muscles as you breathe out. Take notice of the difference you feel between tensed up and relaxed. Work your way through different body groups of muscles, all the while, tensing as you breath in and relaxing as you breath out. You can also try saying to yourself “relax” as you exhale. It’s helpful to practice this skill when you are not in an intense emotional state, that way, when you really need it, it will be well known to you.
These are exercises I support my clients with in therapy. If you need support working through your triggers, feeling more calm and safe, or exploring your past experiences that increase the likelihood of getting triggered in the first place, schedule a session with me or another Love Heal Grow therapist today.
Hi, I’m Maegan Tanner, therapist for individuals and couples at Love Heal Grow Counseling.
I help couples and individuals explore and improve the most important parts of their lives; from relationships and sex to family and career–sometimes life can feel so overwhelming.
You can read more about me or schedule an appointment here: About Maegan