Sunday Journaling Prompt: When triggered, how do you reset? 📔🖋️✨
How do you stop the spiral? Three quick hacks for stressed-out Empresses.
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Fellow Empresses, How the hell are you?
So, thinking about the prompt for this Sunday’s journaling post got me brooding over this thing I call The Zero Fucks Fib. That, because of advancing age, greater breadth of life experience, and range of disappointment, midlife women are somehow increasingly immune to the blows of misfortune, people’s petty grievances, and sweating the “small stuff”.
It’s only natural, non?
But here’s the thing of it… It’s kind of a lie. Because these same women (myself included) will all text you on any given day, “OMFG, X just happened and I’m trying so hard not to be triggered, but WTAF, man?”
And I’m right there with them. That said, I am no longer a person prone to panic. Nope, I’m your red telephone. I rarely freak out. Mostly, because it’s not useful, and if anything has fashioned me into a stoic but also “pragmagic” being, it’s menopause coupled with an annoying-as-hell chronic health condition.
So, this is where The Hummingbird exercise comes in handy.
Fun Fact: The world’s smallest bird migrates tens of thousands of miles throughout its lifetime and is a key pollinating force in the planet’s ecosystem. In Native American culture, hummingbirds are healers. And, as the only bird able to fly backward, it’s also an especially appropriate metaphor for the unique agility of the midlife women’s brain.
So, with The Hummingbird exercise… First, you want to ask yourself, “Am I being triggered by a person, place, or thing?” (A thing could be a past traumatic event, a family dynamic, an addiction, etc.)
Whatever it is, get a fix on it in your mind’s eye. Really ‘see’ every aspect, nuance, and wrinkle of the problem.
Then, as the hummingbird, zoom out backward, away from your problem, and imagine hovering before it the way a hummingbird does and holding your bearing. Observing the situation from different angles, get curious and ask; what are the facts and what are the fears?
For facts… Be like Audra MacDonald from The Good Fight. What’s the hard evidence, the key data points, the known knowns?
For fears… put things in the parlance of coach and philosopher, Martha Beck, and ask using the acronym; what are the False Events Appearing Real about this problem? List them out. You’ll be surprised how much self-doubt you are holding.
The more you do this, the more readily you can dial down the volume on your triggering self-talk, bring things back into focus, and reset yourself to move forward from a place of calm rather than chaos.
Another hack you can use when stressed or triggered about an upcoming situation is to repeat to yourself, “I’m completely comfortable with this. I’ve dealt with this all before.” Even if it feels like a half-truth, by rehearsing your ‘wise self’, you’re setting yourself up to see more and be open to a greater landscape of solutions.
“Oh look! She’s acting like she’s comfortable and suddenly her blood pressure is down. Pretending works!”
The third thing you can do in zooming backward and out as The Hummingbird is to revisit the lifetime of people you’ve already helped in this context or with this problem over the years and remember how much you know about x, y, and z.
You can also suss out what new questions you need to ask as analogous situations might have shifted and be different now. What you’ll usually find is that you have more choices or optionality than you ever realized.
You can let all of this de-escalate whatever panic is brewing in you, and then zoom back in toward the problem now like the tiny bird—and start pollinating, pivoting, and recalibrating as needed. Again, this is just my approach.
Your prompt this week: write about how you take your finger off your trigger. 🤍
You may be able to meditate it all away… My GenX mind resists such quiet, so I have needed to get inventive.
By the way, as a disclaimer, I am not a therapist or a physician. I’ve only been to the medical school of me, so take all of the above as mere entertainment and not at all legit medical advice.
Yours in Grandeur & Deep Sh*t,
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