The power of positive thinking is a beautiful concept. . . until snap, something bugs you. Affirmations like “you have the power to succeed” can uplift our mood, improve self esteem, and inspire us to strive for better options, but can also fall flat, sounding a little cliché. With all the thousands of thoughts fluttering through our heads each day, such motivational affirmations may only feel like more congestion. We all dream of realizing our fullest potential, but to truly actualize this dream requires knowing how to release the emotional patterns that hold us back from embracing positivity as a way of life. To fully benefit from positive self-talk requires cultivation of receptivity: a meditative state of mind that we can activate by cleaning out trigger points in the body.
A “trigger” is a surface-level instigator that pushes your buttons or “gets your goat.” The trigger, often something simple, stirs deep unresolved emotions that, when not fully expressed, get stuck in the physical body, inflaming tissue and ultimately resulting in an adhesion, a stuck point. Simply, the trigger is the stimulus, and the trigger point is the physical manifestation of this locked-down emotion in the body.
We all have stuck trigger points invading our bodies. Oftentimes, our emotional process gets shortchanged because dealing with the emotion is too difficult to fully acknowledge, so we skip over the necessary therapeutic steps of feeling, filtering and forgiving. As a result, the charged emotional impulses tied to our emotions unconsciously get stuck in the body. In real terms: we’re all familiar with the defense mechanisms of our body. Haven’t we all closed off and shielded ourselves from being hurt, by using tension to guard our vulnerabilities like locking the knees, jaw or heart? Our ability to protect ourselves emotionally by shutting down physically is a brilliant short-term self-protection mechanism. However, over time, these lockdowns take a toll on the body by limiting blood flow, movement and vital energy to that region and ultimately diminishes our overall receptivity, closing us off, in essence, to the flow of life!
If something minor causes drama and results in you feeling disappointed or defensive, this is a good sign you stumbled onto a trigger. Make a daily habit of tracking your reactions to everyday annoyances, as this can expedite your awareness of trigger points and zero your attention straight in on the locked-down areas of your body. You may already know these areas as your “pain points” or the places you carry stress, but the trigger points are like the wizard of Oz behind the screen—they are self-created smoke and mirrors—and once they are removed, the overall region can heal.
Train yourself to tune into these moments that get under your skin by being alert and watching for tension in your body. Consciously locate trigger points so you can react to the guarded areas and release excess tension. So when a little thing irritates you, or you feel yourself tighten up, get excited! This is your opportunity to unlock an unhealthy byproduct of a trapped emotion, and be on your way to reclaiming new space in the body for more positive ways of thinking.
- Fill Up. Ask yourself each morning, What do I need more of today to be at my best? Do not censor your response. Then ask, If I received more of this (fill in the blank), how would I feel? Use this feeling word as your muse, and make it a priority to find and fill up on that feeling.
- Own It. Take accountability for your triggers. Avoid blaming others for irritating or annoying you. Consider each experience as a powerful lesson for your own growth. Shift away from a “look what you have done to me” way of thinking, and adopt a “thank you for inspiring me to look within” kind of attitude.
- Reset. When you are triggered, it’s tough to see clearly. Emotions escalate, paving the way for tired, unwelcome old habits to take center stage. Rather than jump on the freight train of defensiveness, take a moment, catch your breath, and say to yourself: This is an opportunity to break free from this trigger and become a more positive person.