Trigger Surfing uses our scientific knowledge of the nervous system and emotional processing to conceptualize a valuable visual depiction and a step-by-step process to ride through triggers, emotional overwhelm, and urges associated with habits and even severe addiction patterns, for both process and substance addictions.
so simple, yet so effective
Trigger Surfing (also known as Trigger Surfing) is a powerful mindfulness tool. With this practice you'll learn how and why we need to work with our nervous system and emotional experiences instead of trying to work against them. Trigger Surfing can become a power-tool in your emotional health toolbox.
At first, it is important to practice Trigger Surfing daily. Try it when you feel calm, and certainly try it during more subtle states, such as during a twinge of anxiety, urge to overeat, or a slight craving for an addiction. Every urge and anxious feeling is an opportunity to practice Trigger Surfing.
Practice builds neuroplasticity - think of this as going to the gym to build muscle so you can work into heavy-lifting in due time. The more you practice building your 'calming-muscles' the more capable you are of the heavy-lifting required for big triggers and overwhelming states.
(URGE or SURGE of emotion)
An event has occurred, either external or internal, that has resulted in feeling a level of activation, an emotion, bodily sensation, anxious feeling, craving, looping thought, regret, fear, or belief. Remember your emotions are REAL, but they are not necessarily based on facts.
locate & LABEL emotions
FEEL WAVE OF EMOTIONS in your body
The surge of emotion or urge is ramping up and increasing in activation. This fight-or-flight response results in cortisol and adrenaline levels increasing, more rapid heartbeat, thought quickening, and many other physiological effects.
CONTINUE TO breathe deeply
- 'LEAN IN' TO FEEL EMOTIONS' intenSITIES
USE PREFERRED grounding exercises
For beginner Surfers, the Peak may hit hard. It may feel like a smack of 'shut-down,' intense pressure (as if an elephant is sitting on your chest), impending doom, heartbreak, emptiness, disassociation, frozen, 'caged-in,' powerlessness, and even fogginess.
With experience, you will learn to allow the ebb and flow of painful emotions, and the Peak will begin to feel smooth and perhaps slightly euphoric for about 90 seconds. Enjoying the ride lets your nervous system know that all is well and safe, and thus, it calms. With this, you will soon feel grounded, safe and empowered as deactivation naturally unfolds.
allow for ebb & flow
accept the 'powerless' feeling
allow for sense of 'lifting'
Like a wave, the urge will fall if you allow it to be. As your nervous system deactivates (see diagram below) you may feel quivering and stinging 'thawing' as adrenaline levels decrease, heightened sense, and a reintegration with reality.
allow quivering & thawing
accept array of 'deactivating' emotions
practice emotional health skills
NOTE: YOU MAY BE PROCESSING OLD REPRESSED EMOTIONS WHICH IS HEALING
Along for the ride, with deactivation and reintegration, come emotions that allow you to 'let go.' The main emotion responsible for letting go is sadness - whether you like it or not (see Emotional Health page).
This isn't the same way you think of "sad" as in hopeless, loss, or disappointment. It is a a subtle, yet clear sense of tugging sadness. Allow it to be. You may even cry which is a good sign. If you attempt to disown your sadness during deactivation, you'll likely find yourself in another wave of urge and emotional overwhelm. And may get 'stuck' in FREEZE mode for an extended amount of time - days, weeks, or even months (depression).