Does it seem as though you find yourself reacting negatively in the same situations again and again?


Perhaps a friend offering unsolicited parenting advice causes your temper to rise.


Or realizing your spouse was watching television rather than listening to you intently.


Or arriving on time for a work meeting, only to wait on late coworkers to show up. 


Be it at home, on the road, or in the workplace; we have all experienced moments in which emotions have gotten the best of us.


Emotional buttons are strong reactions triggered by certain situations, people, or behaviors. These reactions develop through life experiences and our perceptions of them, which means each person has a unique set of emotional buttons to manage. Without proper care, these triggers can prove to be hurdles in forming healthy relationships, building careers, and navigating daily life. 


Utilizing the strategies below can help you to diffuse emotional buttons while developing habits to bring about peaceful resolutions in those difficult moments.


1. Begin by examining your patterns of behavior.

Often, in the moment, our triggers feel very justifiable. However, try scrutinizing your actions from an objective perspective. What caused you to react? What was said? Who was present? How did you feel? Study your habits for a few weeks to a month and observe the common factors in the times that your emotions took a dramatic leap.


2. Ask for other perspectives.

Find out what trusted friends and family members have observed in heated moments and accept the insight they might have to offer.


3. Make a list of your emotional buttons.

As you gain greater awareness through feedback, create an outline of the primary triggers you have observed in your daily life. Then, read over it to see if there might be an underlying theme. Does feeling disrespected upset you? Feeling unnecessary? Feeling unloved?


4. Now, identify how each of those listed emotional buttons is hurting you.

It may be discrediting you at work, causing your relationships to falter, or it could simply be causing you unnecessary distress.


5. Decide where the issue is rooted.

What life factors have contributed to your emotional buttons?


6. Make specific plans for a better response.

Decide what would be the most beneficial reaction. For instance, if being cut off in traffic causes your blood to boil, what might you say or do the next time you are commuting to work?


7. Track your progress.

As you implement these plans, take time to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, to appreciate your growth, and to adjust as needed.


8. Give yourself grace.

Developing new habits is challenging- especially in emotionally charged moments! Remember that with practice, your new, positive strategies will eventually replace the old reflexive habits.


You don’t have to be triggered by the behaviors of others any longer. Strong emotions do not demand damaging reactions. By examining the factors beneath your emotional buttons and creating strategies to respond more effectually in the future, you have the opportunity to minimize stress and maximize peace in your personal and professional life!

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