“With all this unpredictable change, it’s more important than ever to manage and conserve your energy because you fuel your entire life with it. You have four sources of energy: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. When we get triggered emotionally, we lose a lot of energy.” – Alice Inoue, national award-winning author and life expert
These are the words from my job training yesterday morning at the Hawaii Convention Center. Alice Inoue was one of our public speakers in our presentation.
I’d been a newly-employed temporary Adjudicator in the Unemployment Claims sector of the Department of Labor for the State of Hawaii. That day, I was training in the art of communicating with clients especially when they’re emotionally escalated. Little did I know, this training would be coinciding with adult adoptee life as well as the public in this time, as I’ve had to cope with emotional triggers all my life.
Now it seems emotional triggers is something we’re all dealing with on a larger scale. Spanning and intermingling with larger demographics of society.
Emotional Triggers of the Unemployed
Covid-19 is affecting all of our lives in seen and unseen ways. Unemployment to date is persisting with over 100,000 issues in the state of Hawaii. I was hired to help alleviate some of these issue. It is a full-time job.
One day is not enough time to even put a dent in this situation.
I talk to customers at work who are struggling in hard times. It can be difficult since as governmental workers we are also living in these Covid times. It is a challenge working with emotionally-triggered people who have fallen unemployed.
Especially being vulnerable to triggers as a person living in these shifting and uncertain times too. From state workers to the public, everyone has more stress, pressure and anxiety than ever. Additionally, as an adult adoptee, I find myself working with my own emotional triggers along with everyone else’s.
So, I sat with my friendly team of adjudicators who were hired on in June and listened.
What I first realized was a pre-conceived notion: that emotional triggers are mostly reserved for people with PTSD. What I learned from the presentation is that triggers also develop with people with any hurt in their childhood.
“Growing up, we had pain that we didn’t know how to deal with,” stated the slide, with a photo of a crying baby on the screen. “As adults, we become triggered by experiences that are reminiscent of those old painful feelings.”
I listened and gulped down my coffee.
In the hour, I learned how triggers are not just in the land of adult adoptee post-trauma but also interweaves broadly in the scope of the world’s social terrain.
Another slide stated: “(Triggers are) the super-reactive places within you that become activated by someone else’s behaviors or comments.”
The Best Advice to Dealing With Emotional Triggers
“Whatever you feel compelled to do, don’t,” Alice Inoue said, as she explained the golden rule for all emotionally triggering situations. “Put your focus on your feet and toes. Feel the ground beneath you. Take yourself out of the visceral experience of threat so you respond rather than react consciously.”
- Create a “counterfact” or reframe a scenario of a current situation that could be worse, so you can feel better about it instantly.
- Control what you do have control over: your perspective, decisions and actions. Calm yourself with a “4-7-8” breathing technique.
- Apply logic to irrational fears when something happens. And, remember the 3 As: Accept, Adapt and Allow.
Thriving with a Post- Adoptee Skillset
The world is changing everyday due to Covid. Amidst this time I have found untraditional footing in the world because of my own life’s experiences.
As an adult adoptee, I am armed with all of the therapy and coping I’ve done in my past, to where I am educated. Additionally, I can extend my practices into a profession where I work with an emotionally-triggered public in this time of Covid-19.
It was like an epiphany, training in how to thrive professionally and personally as one. My adoptee solutions coincided with serving the public together. Thus, in this time, I have been seeing how each of our own rivers can one day meet the ocean. While learning, how life’s challenges can also become our greatest tools of transformation.
“From every crises and challenge emerges blessings,” Alice Inoue said, at the end of the presentation. “You have a lot of blessings coming to you.”