What on earth just happened? Or, what just happened here?
If those questions are spoken after someone has just become inexplicably angry then the chances are you have seen a trigger in action.
In stress jargon a trigger can be absolutely anything which fires off a strong (usually angry) reaction in a person. There may be some logic in the trigger but that can be deeply buried and hidden from view.
Another moment of reaction can arrive where it is obvious that there is a connection between an event and a stress. Someone passing away, losing your job or being threatened with a pay cut can be examples. They need not all be bad. A promotion, an increase in responsibility or a change of job description all can generate potential for trouble in your soul. Such things are called stressors.
So, the difference between the trigger and the stressor is that the trigger can be absolutely anything and usually has no obvious logic to the outsider, while the stressor is an understandable, observable pressure which can produce stress.
Here’s something about them that will help you manage them. They are both very personal. You have your own collection of triggers but over the years you have also got your set of stressors (or pressure-points) which have personal impacts for you.
Your relative’s behaviour may be irritating but it’s much more irritating to you then it is to your friends because they have no history with her, for example.
You also carry in your soul triggers or trigger-points which can fire off at any time.
Knowing your stressors and triggers is a huge step along the journey to stress management. Knowing can lead to predicting, foreseeing, avoiding, planning and preparing and, out of self-awareness, reducing your risk.
Israel’s first king, Saul, had a depression problem. He discovered that a young man called David had the ability to play him music, and David’s music calmed Saul’s depression.
David started to become a military success and slowly the king became jealous, fearful and angry about David’s success. This success was a stressor for Saul, there was a logic to it and Saul knew it.
One day while David was playing to soothe Saul’s depression Saul picked up a spear and threw it at David (twice) to try and kill him. What on earth just happened? David’s music had become a trigger when Saul literally shot a spear at him. David’s achievements were part of Saul’s stressors, but it was the music playing which fired off the trigger.
May I encourage you to get to know your stressors and triggers? The more you know them, the more you can manage them.
Work well today,
© Geoff Shattock April 2019
1 Samuel 18:10-11
10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
Note: It is worth looking at the whole chapter.
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