Any addictions counselor worth their salt, will ask a client trying to maintain their recovery to compile a list of triggers for their possible relapse. For example, weddings can be a huge trigger for people in the beginning of recovery…..all that free booze floating around is a terrible temptation or trigger for potential trouble.
All of us can compile a list of triggers that cause us to over eat, texting an old ex you really are supposed to let go of, driving by a house to see if there is a new car in the driveway, or feeling lonely & having a one night stand with a complete jerk.
Boredom is one of the biggest triggers I track in my office. Chewing fingernails out of boredom, feeling anxious or depressed because of boredom is all too ordinary.
Some people are whirling dervishes of activity, they are overly productive because to relax or be idle is too hard. There is always a another project to complete so they avoid boredom. This isn’t really a solution because being able to just be, not always do is an important part of wholeness.
What is the opposite of boredom? Creativity. This is the reason teens are so often bored because they are supposed to be experimenting with life & new ideas. So if you are bored, try something new. The brain loves novelty. The choice to go find trouble is only easier. Opening the refrigerator door or a glass of booze to your lips is easy. Figuring out a way to be creative takes more effort.
Another trigger for trouble is not recognizing your emotions. If you lopsided in caretaking others and don’t deal with the reality of being annoyed or irritated or wishing you could just say No, then you end up resentful and stuffed full with unspoken anger…..talk about a trigger for trouble! Unspoken anger is one of the quickest paths leading to depression.
Self righteous feelings can be a trigger for trouble. Our current quagmire in Congress is the best example of this. I see it working with couples every week. Self righteousness erases the ability to compromise & problem solve. Relationships require negotiation which requires respect for both points of view.
Not understanding your feelings can be very overwhelming & confusing. Often people don’t even have the vocabulary for feelings. Feelings can be very mysterious so on my website I built an Emotions page & there is a downloadable list of feeling words. Identifying feelings can be very helpful. Once they are more specific you can use your thinking to sort out whether they are exaggerated feelings or accurate.
Triggers are like fingerprints, they are unique to you. It can be very advantageous to spend some time pondering your own triggers for trouble. Self awareness is the first step of change.