People, Places, Things – How To Handle Triggers

from Google

from Google


I’m in a Dwight Schrute type of mood today. You’ll see. “People, Places, Things.” I’ve talked about it before but today I’ll share some new insights and thoughts to ponder. Question. How lucky are you? Answer. Very lucky! “People, Places, Things” deals with triggers. It comes from the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Or at least, that’s where I heard about it. I was able to use the concept for my addiction recovery and healing from the trauma my husband’s disclosure brought me.

from Google

from Google

Question. What do we need to know about our triggers? Answer. We need to know what they are, how to avoid them, and how to manage them if they can’t be avoided.

Sometimes you can’t get away from people, places or things. This is when it’s important to learn how to manage triggers. While it’d be great to take Dwight’s advice and simply not do “that thing” or let our emotions get to us, we may need to learn some acceptance instead.

Rather than try to control things in our lives, we can learn how to accept them and no longer try to direct everyone and every situation so we aren’t taking on things (or people) we don’t need to. When we don’t like the situation we’re in, we have the power, strength, and opportunity to walk away. We can Let Go.

The Big Book in AA (in part) says:

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I’m disturbed, it’s because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of life – unacceptable to me and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it’s supposed to be at this moment. Nothing happens in this world by mistake. Until I could accept my *addiction, I couldn’t stay sober unless I accept life completely on life’s terms. I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” He forgot to mention that I was the chief critic. I was always able to see the flaw in every person, every situation. I was always glad to point it out because I knew you wanted perfection just like I did. Acceptance has taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us.

 That last sentence is so powerful to me.

 We can be mindful that we are doing things to the best of our ability. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and putting trust in other people. Sometimes that means standing back and letting someone else take the wheel. We don’t always have to be the driver of the car of life.

 In his book, “The Power of Now,” Eckhart Tolle says:

“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find you’re here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: 

Remove yourself from the situation

Change it

Accept it totally

 If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences. No excuses. No negativity. Keep your inner space clear.


 While it may seem easy, so black and white, we’re not Dwight. We do care and because we do, we must be aware of when we’re susceptible to our triggers. (BLASTed/HALT bored, angry, stressed, tired, hungry).

Here are some ideas to help you manage your triggers

It can help to reframe your brain. Shift your thinking from, “I can’t do this anymore” to “I have a great life because I’m not doing that anymore.”


Practice Box Breathing.

Write and then write some more.

Face the trigger! Talk to it. Lessen its power.

Write the trigger down and then assign thoughts and feelings to it. 

Create a positive playlist, reading list, podcast list (and dance!)

Practice good self-care: eat, sleep, exercise, meditation/prayer, healthy hobbies.

Talk to someone. People want to help and they’re rooting for you so pick up the phone, write the email, or message your support group. 

What tools do you use to cope with stress or triggers? What do you think of the concept of acceptance? Have any thoughts on The Power of Now? Are you a fan of The Office? Sad it’s leaving Netflix?

I talk more about this at my podcast Elsie’s Corner. Hope to see you there!

NOTE: I may be delayed today. I have an appointment.