Thursday, May 1, 2008

Our Emotional Responses

I am trying more than ever, to recognize how my thinking triggers my emotions and therefore, my responses.

I have known this for a long time, that; event triggers thinking, past thinking or conditioning interprets the event, and the thinking triggers the body or emotion, which triggers the reaction, which triggers more thinking. A loop if you will.

Since my qualifier has become worse in her addiction, I recognize how I react and reacted to issues and situations through my emotions. AND importantly, how the reactions and emotions can now be changed by going to the source.

And the source is NOT my qualifier (Okay, in truth, the source is my qualifier). But I cannot control my qualifier, but I can control my thinking and my interpretation of the event or statement or circumstance.

These are "triggers." If I can interpret the "triggers" differently - that is, not to identify the trigger with me or who I am, I then can choose how I allow my body to react (aka emotion).

Our mind - or our voices in our mind - can be allowed to run rampantly, like untamed, wild horses, - if we allow our mind to do so. These voices usually drift into a dysfunctional rant. And the voice, if allowed, becomes more trained in its dysfunctional rant, because it knows what buttons to push inside of your head. And, then, when you qualifier "tests" you, he/she finds these same buttons. And you have the internal voice not supporting you and the trigger from the qualifier hitting these buttons of doubt and anger and fear - you react emotionally. The reaction starts with your thinking which jumps to the body - a flight or fight type response. The body responds with chemicals and triggers emotions - or emotional responses.

Soon, if we continue to allow this to happen, the neural pathway becomes a neural superhighway, because the path widens and deepens with events and - and this is important - replaying the negative events over and over in our minds. You see, the mind and body cannot tell the difference between a real experience or an experience played out in our minds.

So one negative event that actually occurs, becomes a negative event the occurs ten more times because we replay it in our minds. And this is not good!

We need to think about this. When we have an event, we need to reframe it. And we need to disassociate from it. We need to put space between the event and the reaction.

Space can be time. Don't respond or react. Go out of the room. Go for a run. Go for a walk. Put time space between the event and your response.

Space can be dissassociation from the event. We can not allow ourselves to associate with it or allow it to become part of our identity. That is, not allow it to "be us." We are not the event. We are not our labels. We are certainly not what others label us. Just be. We just are.

Space is also, staying present. Staying in the now. Now means not allowing us to think about the past or the future. Stay present. Think about right now. NOW.

Another Little Solution
Observe the voices in your head. I read somewhere, that if you place a rubber band on your wrist, and pulled it back and snapped it against your wrist every time you had a negative thought you can really see and observe how many negative thoughts you have in a day.

Now I never tried this, but as soon as I find a rubber band, I am going to do this!!! You will be able to identify me in the airport this afternoon - I will be the guy with the welts on his wrist.


Anonymous said...

Interesting word, "space".

Seems to be the center of my universe these days....

Peace this Thursday.


Anonymous said...

This certainly ties in with my reading in Courage to Change this morning.

The "If Only's"...

If only my boss, my job, family, relationships would change in the way I want, I would be happy. It becomes clear that I have put my hapiness on hold for things I cannot change.

Today's Reminder:

There are many areas of my life I cannot change. What I can change is my attitude. Today I can accept my life as it is. I can be grateful, and happy, here and now, with what I have.

Wow, what a reminder.


Syd said...

The triggers set off my character defects, mostly fear. But recognizing those triggers and the reaction helps. Thanks for a great post.

TraceyBaby said...

How timely...I just finished a rant of my own with my qualifier and got on to read my Alanon blogs to help me get through. This blog helped.

Cognitive therapy...I used to be so good at it, mostly regarding depression. For some reason I find it much harder when it comes to my anxiety. I need to try harder.