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How to Prepare for and Navigate Stressful Situations

Hey there, fabulous mamas!


Welcome back to another uplifting episode of The Mom-entum Podcast! I’m your host, Tanya Valentine, and I'm thrilled to have you here today. 


Today’s Topic: Feeling Triggered? Let’s Handle It Together!


So, you clicked play on "Listen to When You Feel Triggered," which tells me you might be going through a tough time right now. First off, breathe. Seriously, take a deep breath with me. In through your nose... hold it... and exhale through your mouth. Feel a bit better? Great, let’s dive in!


What We’ll Cover:


1. Understanding Triggers: We’ll start by breaking down what it means to be triggered. Spoiler alert: it’s more common than you think and totally okay to feel this way!


2. Preparing for Triggers: Learn my "When, Why, and What" framework to help you identify and prepare for those tricky moments.


3. Coping Strategies: Discover practical, positive ways to handle triggers in the moment. From deep breathing to dancing, I've got you covered.


Key Moments in the Episode:


- Breathing Exercise:  Start your journey to calm with a guided breathing exercise.

- Defining Triggers:  Understand the meaning behind those intense feelings.

- Preparation Tips:  Learn how to prepare for triggers with actionable steps.

- Real-Life Examples:  Hear a personal story about how triggers can highlight our deep-seated values and beliefs.

- Coping in the Moment:  Explore immediate strategies to use when you feel triggered.


Why This Episode is a Must-Listen:


- Gain insight into your emotional responses.

- Equip yourself with tools to handle stressful situations.

- Feel empowered and less alone in your motherhood journey.

Action Steps:


1. Reflect: Take a moment to jot down when and why you feel triggered.

2. Plan: Implement the "When, Why, and What" framework in your daily routine.

3. Practice: Use the coping strategies discussed whenever you feel those intense emotions rising.


Connect with Me:


If you loved this episode, make sure to subscribe so you never miss out! And please, leave a rating and review – your feedback means the world to me and helps other amazing moms find the show.


Be a good friend and share the love by sharing this episode with someone who could use a little extra support. Tag me on Instagram or Facebook @tanyavalentinecoaching with your takeaways – I love hearing from you!


Alright, mamas, remember: when life gets tough, take a deep breath and trust in yourself. You've got this!

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Hello and welcome to another episode of The Mom-entum Podcast.  The show dedicated to inspiring, uplifting and empowering women on their journey through motherhood.  I’m your host, Tanya Valentine and I’m so glad your here!  Thank you so much for taking the time to listen today!  It is my hope that you get what you came here for today.


So if you’re listening to this episode, if you hit play when you saw the episode title “Listen to When You’re Feeling Triggered” then my guess is you might not be in the best place right now.  And if that is the case then listen to me.  It is ok.  It is going to be ok.  Take a deep breath.  Really, just stop what you are doing right now.  Whatever it is, it can wait.  Unless you are driving of course.  But if you are not driving then just take a moment to close your eyes and do this exercise with me.  If there are people around, don’t worry about what they might think!  Do you!  You can just tell them that you’re friend and coach, Tanya, has instructed you to do this.  Ok so close your eyes, take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it, and exhale.  Relax the muscles in your face.  Starting at the top of your head.  Just notice if you’re holding any tension here and imagine this tension softening.  Imagine it just melting away like ice cream on a hot summer day.  Now move down to your forehead and do the same thing.  notice any micromovements around your eyes and just allow these muscles around your eyes to relax.  Moving down to your jaw, relax your jaw and allow it to drop.  Let your shoulders drop away from your ears and release any tension here. Take a deep breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds and exhale through your mouth for the count of 8 making a whooshing sound when you exhale.  I will do this with you and we will do this 3 times.


Ok.  So how are you feeling now?  I hope you are feeling a little better, a little bit more relaxed and less tense than you were before you hit play.  And you are in a better state to be able to absorb the information that I’m about to share with you and then be able to put it into practice so that you can feel empowered the next time you get triggered, and maybe even notice that you are triggered a whole lot less after learning today’s content.


So to start, let’s just clarify what does it mean to be triggered?  Well, when I looked it up,

 this is the definition that I got:


Being "triggered" means experiencing a strong emotional reaction, often negative, to a particular stimulus. This stimulus, or "trigger," can be anything that reminds a person of a past traumatic event, leading to feelings such as anxiety, fear, anger, or distress. Triggers can be sensory inputs like sights, sounds, smells, or even specific situations or topics of conversation. The response is usually intense and disproportionate to the current situation because it taps into unresolved emotions from past experiences.


So now that we have identified what it means to be triggered, I want to go over 2 things today:


  1. How to prepare for triggers so that you can lessen the intensity and frequency of them.

  2. Learn positive coping strategies of what you can do in the moment when you are feeling triggered so that you can respond in a way that you can be proud of.


So Preparing for triggers. A good way to remember what to do if you want to feel more confident in navigating triggering situations is my When, Why, and What framework. 


So we start with the When.  In order to prepare for When we are triggered, we must first identify when we feel triggered?  Take a moment right now to reflect on your day or your week and see if you can pinpoint when you were feeling triggered, and I want you to write this down.


To help you get started on this I will share some of mine:


I feel triggered when I’m feeling rushed.

When kids aren’t listening.

When there’s a lot of noise.

When kids are fighting.

When there is a lot of clutter in the house.


So now that you have identified the when.  I want you to take one of these things and ask yourself why?  And write your answers down on a piece of paper.  For example, why do I feel triggered when I’m feeling rushed?  Just get curious, no judging yourself.  Just wonder, hmm what is the story I am telling myself when I’m in a rush to get somewhere on time? What meaning am I drawing from this particular situation. Here are my answers:  People are going to think I’m rude or inconsiderate.  I want to be considerate of this other person’s time.  I’m going to miss something..  I should’ve planned better.  I’m such a hot mess. If the kids were more cooperative, if they would just listen then we would be on time.  My kids don’t listen so that means I’m not doing a good job as a mom.


So now that you have uncovered the “why” I want you to go through each one of these answers and question them.  Ask is this true?  Is this a fact or is it just a thought, just a story I’m making up in my head.  For example, the thought”people might think I’m rude or inconsiderate”.  IS that true?  Maybe. And maybe not.  But so what if they think you are inconsiderate or rude.  Why does that bother you?  Is it because you want them to like you?  Because you want people to think highly of you or at the very least you don’t want to give them any ammunition against you, or any reason to say anything negative either to you or behind your back.  And so what if they do.  The truth is people are going to judge you no matter what you do.  But the thing is, at the root of this all, it’s that I’m attaching my value to being punctual.  Underneath it all I’m believing that my value is linked to my punctuality.  It’s like I’m believing that I’m not a good person if I’m late.  When in fact, are good people late sometimes?  Yes they are.  Just because you show up late sometimes, or maybe more than sometimes, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person.  Really , think about this.  Now I’m not saying completely disregard others.  There are definitely times when it’s important to be on time, and if we are not on time we have consequences to deal with.  For example, making a flight.  If you don’t make it to the airport on time, you are gonna miss your flight.  But what I’m talking about is just giving yourself grace and compassion in these moments and just understand that this thing has nothing to do with your value as a human being.  And understanding this will just help release the pressure a little bit, and then when you aren’t so tense you are way better equipped to handle “stressful” situations with more ease.


Let me just share a quick story with you all.  So my older two, Lucia and Rocco, they played their first season of soccer this spring, and it’s over, thank goodness. And i say that just because neither one of my kids enjoyed it, and Lucia especially would put up a fight before almost every practice and game.  And it was a bit of a time commitment.  They were both on different teams so that meant they had practices and games at different times and on different days.  So we ended up going to some soccer event 4 days a week.  And then we’d get there and neither one of them would really participate.  Lucia would be dancing in the field.  And Rocco would look over at us every 5 seconds and wave or he’d just kind of mope around the field or lay in the grass.  But we stuck it out because we wanted to teach them the lesson of commitment.  But anyways, I digress.  So on one of those Saturdays, we were taking both of them to their games, and we were running late and Chris, my husband got so upset and worked up.  And mind you, this is a man who is normally so calm and collected, it takes a lot to stress him out.  But he was so mad.  And he was blaming us being late on me and the kids, and I said to him “why is this upsetting you so much.  It’s not a big deal, it’s a kids soccer game, they are 4 and 6. In the scheme of things, its not gonna matter in 10 years that we were a couple of minutes late to this soccer game, we are not even going to remember it.”  But this is a pain point for him.  Because it has something to do with his value system and the way he was brought up.  His Dad placed such great importance on sports, and when you commit to a team that’s it, you don’t miss a practice and you show up early or on time.  And ultimately what was at the heart of it for him was he was worried about what others might think of us when we strolled in late after all of the other kids had been there warming up.  So that story just kind of is a real life example of how our triggers can kind of be like a magnifying glass for our beliefs and values or maybe even some unresolved trauma we might be carrying with us. It highlights how deeply ingrained experiences from our past can influence our present reactions. In Chris's case, the stress of being late wasn’t just about the soccer game—it was tied to his upbringing and the values instilled in him by his father. This story shows that understanding our triggers can offer valuable insights into our beliefs and emotional responses, helping us navigate and address them more effectively in the future.


Ok so we did the when and the why, now we will move on to the WHAT.  And by what I mean what do we do?


First I’m going to talk about what we can do to prepare to help prevent or minimize triggers and then we will talk about what to do when you are actively triggered.


Ok so once you have Identified when you are triggered.  Let’s brainstorm what you can do to prepare for this triggering circumstance in the future.


Let’s take the being late example: here are some ways that I can prepare to prevent being triggered in this way:

I can prepare the night before.  I can get everything ready for myself and the kids.  I can pick out outfits and lay them out so they are ready to go the next day.  I can fill up water bottles and put them in the fridge.  I can have lunches packed.  Backpacks, coats, and shoes can be placed by the door.  I can plan on leaving 20 minutes early to allow for extra time in case of traffic or any other unforeseen circumstance.  I can plan on getting up early before the kids and doing what I need to do to center myself so that I can build resilience and feel more mentally capable to handle any stressful situation bound to come my way; tantrums, power struggles, kids fighting with one another, traffic.  Like bring it on, I can handle it because I did what I needed to do at the start of my day, like I heard someone say this once, its like putting on your armor before leaving the house. So me taking care of me in the morning before anyone else in the house gets up.  When I take the time to get up early, go for my run, stretch, pray and shower.  When i take the time to do those things,  when I don’t neglect myself and I take care of my mind and body like that, it’s like putting my suit of armor on that’s going to help protect me from whatever threats might come my way.


So that’s an example of a strategy to prepare to prevent the trigger from occurring.  Next let’s talk about what to do when you are smack dab in the middle of a trigger.


I think the first thing that’s most important is just notice it.  Notice that you are triggered.  Because when you are triggered, you are activated.  Your sympathetic nervous system is activated and youve got stress hormones circulating throughout your body and it really is hard to think clearly from this place.  So first just notice it.  Can you pause.  There is so much power in the pause.  Is it safe for you and your kiddos if you just walk away for a couple of minutes.  Can you step outside and get some fresh air.  Like let your kids know that Mommy is feeling triggered, that you are angry and you want to be able to respond in a way that you can feel good about and you want to be a good example to them, so you just need a minute to step away from the noise and just get yourself together.  Try practicing the breathing exercise we did at the start of this episode.  Just remember 4:7:8.  Inhale through the nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and then exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds making a whooshing sound.  Another thing that I’ve done that has been proven to activate the vagus nerve and help calm your nervous system is humming.  That’s why you’ve heard about the Yogi’s chanting Om.  Like I’ve actually done this and sometimes it even makes the kids laugh, which is another great way to kind of cut the tension is laughter.  If you can think of something funny and laugh, like it is almost impossible to laugh and be angry at the same time.  Or putting on your favorite music and having a dance party.  These are all things that will help shift the energy so that you can just handle yourself in a way that you can be proud of and feel good about, and so that you can be a role model for your kids of healthy ways to navigate stressful situations.  And i do want to just point out that I’m not talking about ignoring or bottling up your feelings.  Rather, you are still noticing that this is something that is causing you to be emotionally charged, you are getting curious about it, allowing it to be there, but instead of reacting to it by screaming or yelling or saying things you don’t mean and might later regret, you are handling it in a way that you will feel better about and in a way that you want to model for your kids.


Alright, Mamas,

 thanks for tuning in to today's episode all about navigating those tricky moments when we're feeling triggered. Remember, it's okay to hit pause and take a breath when things get tough. We've got this!


Now, if you enjoyed today's episode and found value in our chat, do me a favor: hit that subscribe button so you never miss an episode. And while you're at it, leave a rating and review. Your feedback helps this podcast grow and reach more amazing moms like you!


And please consider sharing this episode with a friend who could use a little encouragement or insight. And don't forget to tag me on Instagram or Facebook @tanyavalentinecoaching. I love hearing from you and seeing your takeaways!


Alright, that's a wrap for today. Remember, when life throws you a curveball, take a deep breath and trust yourself. You've got this, mama! Bye for now!

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