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Reducing Work Triggers

August 09, 20232 min read

There’s nothing worse than being on edge at work. Sometimes because you sit with your back to everyone. and jump when people walk by or maybe there's something going on at work that’s making you hold your breath. Or when someone’s tone of voice makes you go jelly on the inside. Or…. pick a thing, any thing, that sets you off.

Imagine how many more things might happen that set managers off, or people who are further up the org chart. And the higher they are, the more liability they have and the more risk they deal with.

My recommendations? Field tested?

  • Wear “cans,” those hamburger bun shaped headsets that help dampen down some of the noise.

  • Play soothing music in them.

  • Use breathing exercises.

  • If you can change your office layout, do-- so that your back is in a corner and you look out the door in front of you.

  • Talk to yourself and make it count.

  • Remind yourself at the beginning of every workday that this is now, and that was then. Sharply distinguish between the past and the present.

  • Put a sign on the back of your chair--”Available in…” and give a time (I used post-its that I changed as needed).

  • Set a mirror up that lets you glance behind you without turning around.

  • Set reminders in place that help you stay in the present.

  • Deliberately increase your emotional intelligence in the areas of self-awareness, self-regulation, and social skills.

  • Practice civility--use “please,” “thank you and “you’re welcome” freely.

  • Accept responsibility for the quality of your work.

  • Don’t tell everyone your story It can be used as a weapon, and it’s no one’s business. They may not be safe enough to hear it well, and they may not have the room to take it in.

Look, if you watch horror or true crime or sci fi movies, you can manage the triggers at work. Some of it is learning how to sooth yourself so you are less able to be triggered and another part is altering your environment. There’s always more… and these are good starts.

PS--they don’t require a diagnosis--they’re forms of assistive technology.

Curious for more? Ask me your questions!

the trauma informed academyelizabeth powertrauma informedtrauma responsiveresilienceempowermentworkplace traumaworkplace triggerstriggersmanage your triggers
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Elizabeth Power

Elizabeth Power, M. Ed., CEO of EPower & Associates, Inc. , is a sought-after speaker, facilitator, and consultant. EPower & Associates is the parent organization for The Trauma Informed Academy(r). "All we do is help people with change, resilience and self-care, and learning to live trauma responsively. And everything is done from the trauma-informed perspective," she says. "Even courses directly about working with trauma are about change."

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