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Mental Triggers: Worry/Stress

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by:  Staci Stallings

We now shift to a different angle on the topic of triggers — that of mental triggers.

These are things that happen mentally that could trigger default responses.  Many times the mental triggers are themselves default responses, but they can then trigger further default responses if not dealt with.

For example, let’s say that the first trigger is a financial crisis, and your default response is worry or stress.  That is clearly understandable, but here’s what you might not realize…

Your default response of worry and stress might actually then trigger a NEW default response for example eating a bag of chips.

What is YOUR default response when worry or stress is your trigger?

One of mine is to start claiming “no time to eat good-for-me food.”  So, let’s say I’m working on a project, and it is stressful or I am worried about it. Whisper If You Have To Cover

Many times this will “cause” me to go to my default response, which is fast food.  I tell myself things like “I don’t have time to make a sandwich, I’ll just stop at Wendy’s.”  Or “this Sonic meal of jumbo popcorn chicken, tater tots and poppers sounds good.  It’s only one time, and this project won’t last forever.”

When I get into stress mode, I get into “fast” mode and I get out of “good for me” mode.

And my defaults sound a lot like excuses or justifications.  ”Just this once.”  ”Next week I’ll go back to eating healthy.”  ”I deserve it for working so hard.”

Here’s the problem with my default response to worry or stress… it doesn’t help me!  The more fast food I eat, the slower I go.  Grease does not do my body good!  I know that, and this last year with a couple of my projects, I did much better.  But this is still a challenge for me. When I get into worry mode, I have to hit the manual settings button and HOLD MY HAND ON IT because it so easily reverts to the default setting.

I have watched people when worry and stress enter the situation, and it takes them down into depression.  For one thing, we are not taught good coping mechanisms, so when we’re thrown to the wolves, we have no survival techniques.  Worse, if the situation does not improve quickly, we often get into a cycle of worry and stress that is difficult to get out of, much less even see out of.

Worry and stress cause hopelessness, and hopelessness leads to all sorts of bad things.

So clearly, the antidote would be to actively search for hope rather than giving in to hopelessness.

How might you do this?

Prayer.

Venting with a good Godly friend.

Writing out the issues.

Actively looking for a solution or other options to fix the situation.

Putting the issues in God’s hands (and leaving them there!).

Casting Satan out.

Visualizing the situation working out (rather than the visuals you’ve got going now of it not working out).

Did I mention prayer?

Make prayer your default setting in times of worry and stress.  And pray with God as your hope and confidence, not like your vending machine!

A Prayer of Hope

Dear Lord,

I firmly believe that every good thing comes from You,

so today, I choose to put my confidence in You alone.

Though this situation may seem out of my control,

I believe that it is in Your control.

Please work it out according to Your Holy Will,

And give me Your peace through the storm,

so that whatever may happen,

I know You have a plan

and that You will be my fortress and my strength

through whatever lies ahead.

Amen

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