Posted by: Judy | June 6, 2014

Positive triggers…

I skimmed the subject, yesterday. Today, I thought I’d elaborate.

I’m slipping in Roots to Blossom’s post, from yesterday. It ties in neatly.

Being an abuse survivor means I have a lot of triggers, things that elicit bad memories. Sometimes simply unpleasant memories and sometimes full-blown flashbacks. Anything is a possible trigger: A smell, a sound, a touch, a taste, a picture.

When I was preparing my workshop on creating a writing environment I focused on the methods of creating habits to signal it’s time to write. Triggers. Positive triggers.

I based it on material I’ve read and studied over the years. I knew habits were important, and then I was introduced to FlyLady. FlyLady takes it to a whole new level. (She shows up first on a search on the internet. There’s even a FB page.) She taught me to recognize and learn healthy habit building.

Routines come in handy. Anxiety triggered frustration used to turn cooking into a nightmare when I’d have a flashback or simply blank and would completely forget where I was in the recipe. Did I add the salt or didn’t I? It takes a little longer, but I made it habit to put everything out in order of use. As I added each item, I put it away. What a relief when I came to myself again I could see the salt had been put away so I knew I added it.

The brain resets every 10 minutes. My Sunday review is about resetting my life clock every week. Going to P. Croissant every Thursday is about resetting my writing clock. I need to create something for every day. I’m working on it.

Morning routine: Up, dressed, walk. The rest of the day is debatable until I hit bedtime, and then it’s braid my hair, brush my teeth, and dab frankincense and myrrh on the end of my nose. Neither guarantees a perfect result, but they both help.

Pretty much everything works the same way. Create a habit. A key for me is to start small. I started with brushing my teeth before bed. I added braiding my hair. I only recently added the essential oils. If I make a routine too complicated, I invariably forget something. Forgetting something stresses me, and the habit becomes a burden rather than a help. For me, my “magic” number is three. Three stops when running errands is about all I can handle. Three steps in a habit works for me. I’m able to occasionally add a fourth, but it usually doesn’t stick. Maybe the fourth doesn’t stick because it goes beyond the 10-minute segment. Something to think about anyway.

In the past, triggers have always been associated with bad memories. Now, I’m creating triggers to do things I want to do.


  1. I like the rule of three….I’m not sure what my number is yet. I’ll need to experiment.

    • I started with 1. ((Ruth))

  2. Food for thought. I think in the last most of my attempts at positive triggers were actually negative actions (i.e. drinking alcohol) that would somewhat effectively reset my brain. If I could figure out how to be nicer to myself to hit reset, I could maybe manage this. Thanks!

    • You’re welcome, Pandora Viltis. 🙂

  3. I am similar about routines as well; I have to start small. One of the things that causes me anxiety is getting ready in the morning before heading out the door. If I pack everything up the night before and set it near the door I have a better morning.

    I like how you refer to it as positive triggers, I had never thought of it like that before. xxTR

    • I was telling my sister about the class, and she was the one who said, “Oh! You’re creating positive triggers!” I love it. 🙂 ((TR))

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