The Neurobiological Process of an Emotional Trigger

When you’re in a trigger, your executive thinking and logical brain shuts down. The limbic system and emotional, survival brain takes over. The emotional brain holds our subconscious fixed memories so our emotional processes and responses are generally informed by how we were hardwired and attuned in our childhood developmental stages.

In this instance of a trigger, which has been stimulated by external stimuli through our sensory organs (touch, smell, taste, hear, see), neurotransmitters are signalled at lightening speed up and down the Vagus Nerve. Through our neuroceptive pathway from the brain down into the gut, neural messages inform the nervous system to either mobilise (fight-flight) or immobilise (freeze) from the perceived threat. Signals are transmitted to the immune system, endocrine system and adrenal glands which activate various hormonal responses. Cortisol and adrenaline pump around the body as it moves out of homeostasis and into a high alert space.

The body is ready for the threat.

It’s for this reason you will experience strong physiological sensations and embodied responses when you’re in a trigger eg heartbeat fastening, waves of emotions, jitteriness, dilated pupils, sweating, nauseousness, shaking, feelings of being “spaced” or out of body. As your brain-body is now in survival mode and in dysregulation. You will not be able to logically think or talk your way out of the trigger. The limbic brain and nervous system are non-verbal. The only way to navigate through the trigger, to re-regulate and recover from it, is to FEEL what is showing up and FEEL what is going on inside of you. Everything experienced and all the sensations felt on and in the body are forms of communication needing to be expressed.

It’s like Google maps, navigating and guiding you.

Allow your body to support you. Use it as a resourceful tool to see what layer / shadow is presenting itself to you, what subconscious programme and limiting belief is being activated, what traumas are still playing out from inside of you and through a lens, coming into your awareness. Use the trigger as a tool to heal what needs to be released.

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