Day 300: Anger and Frustration Triggers

I probably should have learned to work in an area that has to do with psychology. Today, I read an article from a company called Blue Ocean Brain and it struck me, again, how much I love learning about how people think and behave. The article was all about emotional intelligence and being aware of our emotions. If we are emotionally intelligent, we’ll understand what emotions we’re feeling and why; we’ll be able to control those emotions, and behave in a way that is not destructive. It’s that last part that gets people in trouble if they can’t see the signs coming, and can’t self-correct in time.

In the article, they attributed the information to California State University Professor Stella Ting-Toomey, who gave six major sources of conflict triggers (or hot buttons):


1.  Competence: When you believe someone is questioning your intelligence or skills.

2.  Inclusion: When someone appears to be excluding you in some way.

3.  Autonomy: When someone appears to be trying to control you or impose.

4.  Status: When you perceive that someone is threatening your power, position or attractiveness.

5.  Reliability: When you perceive someone is questioning your trustworthiness.

6.  Morality: When someone appears to be questioning your moral values or integrity.

As I read through that list, I realized how pervasive these hot buttons are in society. You can’t read through a stream of posts on any social media outlet, or watch the news for very long without seeing people reacting to them, and the results of when they do. Tragic! How many times do you read a thread where someone says something sarcastic, and you watch a cat fight unfold right there in front of you. People can’t control themselves!

For those of us too “sophisticated” to fight on social media, it shows up in other ways. Maybe we don’t get invited out for lunch with a group of coworkers, and we feel snubbed. What if they were in another part of the building when they left and didn’t even know you were around?

Or how about when someone has an idea that is different than yours, maybe even better? How many times do we get snippy instead of accepting that the idea is actually better?

These triggers sneak up in ways we don’t often see, and it happens many, many times per day. If we are just reacting, rather than reflecting, we’re likely to leave some sort of casualties in our wake.

DAY 300 HOMEWORK: Learn to identify your own conflict triggers. Take a step back before you react. Breathe. Examine motives, and level of importance. Is it worth the possible damage? If not, walk away. Shut down the social media. Turn off the news. Learn to let the moment pass, and go forward in peace.


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