I was thinking of the word anger and what it really means. Like, what does it mean to really be angry? A common definition relays the feeling to annoyance and displeasure. That seems right, I do feel both of those things while ‘angry’ but why do we feel that way towards others or situations, why do we care? I did a little follow up and when we express/feel anger we are using the limbic system in the brain and not the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is the thinking part of our brain while the limbic system is basically our emotional center.
When we experience life around us our brains send that incoming data to our amygdala- it’s there that it is decided if it gets sent to our emotional centers or to our cerebral cortex. If any of the incoming data triggers an emotional response the decision to move to the cerebral cortex is overridden and the information is kept in our limbic system (emotional center).
When this happens that part of the brain feels hijacked and a flood of hormones are released- this causes a person to move into flight or fight mode. It can take on average 20 minutes before a person can become calm again.
WOW. I’m not sure if I knew this stuff before and have forgotten or if I am just learning it now- but this totally makes me want to deal with (and feel more capable of dealing with) any and all of my emotional triggers, so that minor daily things don’t send my body into fight or flight mode.
10 big emotional triggers that even marketing teams try to attack or attract us with are:
7. instant gratification
While I was taking a close look at this information I felt more empowered that I am capable of stopping anger before it goes to far. I hate the way anger makes me feel and often times I could go on and on in circles with it finding it hard to let go. I feel empowered to be aware if someone or something is trying to make me feel one of those 10 ways- to sit back analyze what kind of place that is coming from (healthy or not) and stop it from triggering an emotional response.
It’s ‘cool’ for me to realize that there are points in our accepting and processing of life where we can choose to help ourselves, to be mindful (now that word makes so much more sense) and not to send our bodies and mind into hyper drive.
The other thing we need to be mindful of is not using our ‘triggers’ as an excuse and not allowing them to turn us into victims of situations. For this I think it’s supers important to be aware but not engrossed in our triggers/emotions.
“our brains create powerful associations between things that hurt us and whatever happened to be occurring when we got hurt.” Martha Beck
So our triggers help explain not excuse.
“it makes us responsible for recognizing triggering situations so we can change our unconscious reactions.” Martha Beck
Today after thinking, reading and writing about this mindfulness has taken on a whole new and better understanding for me. It was as if a light bulb went of ‘like whoa… it all makes more sense now’. I now feel so much more capable to try and master my anger, even anxiety with mindfulness. I am committing myself to start by repeating these loving-kindness phrases whenever anything comes up.
“may i be healthy. may i be happy. may i be free of suffering.” I’m confident that over time extending kindness to myself in emotional moments will help me reduce unwanted emotions that can lead me into more hard-core anxiety.
Andie Fuller is a writer and creative director living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is an animal lover and health nut and loves spending time outdoors or with a good book. Her current life motto is, “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” -John Steinbeck