5 Triggers for Emotional Distress and How to Deal

(This post is based on the book, Attachments: Why You Love, Feel, and Act the Way You Do by Gary Sibcy and Tim Clinton)

1. Relationship disputes: 

This can occur in a marriage, between friends, coworkers or with a boss and family.  We can bicker about differences and miscommunicate and this can cause stone walling and refusing to discuss the problem any longer, criticism, and defensiveness. This can then progress to emotional disengagement from each other. You cut each other off with little communication and coldness. You can't confide in each other anymore and this builds up anger, resentment and bitterness. You become like strangers and you try to deny your resentment but it builds up as you try to hide your anger.

 Tip: deal with it right away as much as you can! It should be resolved in a few days as emotions subside. If they persist, and conflict advances to anger and unresolved fear, this can turn to worry and negative thinking, panic and depression. Give each other the benefit of the doubt and try to speak with charity and calmness.

2. Transitions:

It could be health problems, marriage, Parenthood, moving houses, and you job, starting over, or ending and starting relationships. It feels like leaving a whole identity behind. The things we trust for security are taken away because our normal is no longer normal. 

Tip: Transitions can be smooth but can also be really rocky if you don't have a support team. Organization and delegating can help relieve the stress.

3. Unresolved grief:

Death, loss, and betrayal can cause grief. Grief can replace sadness with anger and unresolved loss can lead to depression. 

Tip: try counselling or therapy - it takes great courage to start the healing process. Identify problems and possible solutions that are short-term and long-term.

4. Loneliness:

Loneliness can be triggered by feeling disconnected, dealing with a death, breakup or divorce or facing a transition in life. 

Tip: build good friendships. Join community clubs and get involved- focus on giving back to others because when you think of others, you feel less sorry for your own circumstance. Get busy and get active to cope with depression. Try journalling and building up hobbies to fill your life with constructive outlets.

5. Negative thinking: 

How we think affects how we feel and vice versa. Thinking you are what you do can create negative thinking that you're worthless and not useful because of failure. Negative thinking leads to behaviors that causes others to act in ways that confirm your negative beliefs and increases toxic emotions.

 Tip: People trapped in emotional problems need to see that the way out starts with identifying primary feelings such as fear, anger or sadness. Validate feelings and look at the root of it and connect the feeling to the triggering situation. Ask yourself: What are you afraid of? When did the sadness come about? 

Target negative thinking and repair it with catching yourself, identifying the patterns and ask questions. What am I telling myself about the situation that is not true or accurate? Look at the situation based on truth not emotion, is there a more honest perspective to look at that I am missing?

Seek out whatever triggers unwanted behaviour and behave differently. Act opposite of how you feel, I know that it takes courage. Each time you face your negative feelings, your action creates new information in your brain that can revise your negative thinking patterns. 

Emotions are messy and love is messy but don't be afraid to surrender your mess to Him. He won't shudder at your mess. He will embrace and turn your brokenness into beauty.