Leonard: Part Two … Using Emotional Triggers For Personal Growth

Chart Courtesy/Laura Leonard

Doctor of Chiropractic
Los Alamos

Last week’s column discussed how the power of our subconscious mind keeps us stuck in patterns of behavior which no longer serve us. This occurs because we only have so much space for working memory and conscious processes.

The rest is stored in files deep in our subconscious library. The key concept here is to remember that most of this database contains negative information from childhood events. These files vary in intensity from person to person but when something in the present triggers a stored file, the body feels it in the same way. Fight, flight or freeze.

For one person it could be they missed out on ice cream at a birthday party and for another it could be a hospitalization or accident. The patterns of feeling an intense emotion and the resultant fight flight or freeze are automatic and beneficial for survival.

At the end of the day, the monkey mind is protective and there is no time to think logically if surviving is the name of the game. In terms of today’s world, this system is as outdated as the first gen twenty-pound computers.

Breaking free from our monkey mind requires self-awareness, which allows us to open and rewrite those stored files with conscious intention.

The desire to dig into our patterns gets bigger when we are struggling. Health crisis, divorce, financial struggle, job loss etc. are strong motivators to change our status quo. The trick is to find the motivation to change with smaller day to day challenges.

Once you have awareness about emotional triggers and behavioral patterns it’s easier to shift focus towards optimistic and productive thinking.

How are triggers identified? By…creating awareness. The easiest ways to start peeling back the layers of the onion is to start with a Life Wheel. Specific areas of your life are scored from 1-10 and you get a visual image of where you can focus your efforts. Triggers are usually embedded within the lower scoring areas.

Subconscious files become conscious when we logically evaluate our emotional and automatic reactions to things, people and situations. Notice what triggers you emotionally and look for patterns in these situations.

Do you fight, avoid or get paralyzed with discomfort? Do these things often fit into the lowest scoring area of your Life Wheel? Keep a journal that includes your Life Wheel and spend a few minutes every day, if possible, making notes on where you struggled that day in relation to what you are working on transforming.

The difficult part of this work is that it feels uncomfortable to gain awareness. The intensity of emotion and drama are more attractive. This is why the morning news is typically negative and catastrophic.

The monkey mind is wired to be attracted to the train wreck and there are some fabulous chemicals released in the brain when we turn in that direction. The trick to getting around this is to re-program yourself towards working towards a place of internal peace and long-term happiness. I’ll dig into some simple subconscious hacking tricks in next week’s column so you can begin to expand awareness into transformation.

Dr. Leonard’s practice focuses on posture and performance using a combination of soft tissue release, adjustments and exercise recommendations. She also coaches patients on nutrition, self-care and body awareness so they can manage themselves in between visits. Los Alamos Chiropractic Center is in the Mary Deal Building on Trinity Drive.


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