Trigger Happy

Warning: Triggers AheadWe all have different things that trigger a specific reaction in us. You see a plate of fresh baked cookies, and your stomach growls. You watch that one movie and the ideas just come pouring. Each of these simple external triggers causes your brain to react with a particular feeling or habit, which can be either helpful or hindering. They can influence your decisions, make you recall memories, and motivate you to take action.

The idea here is to surround yourself with triggers that have a positive affect on you. You can’t change the fact that these external triggers exist around you, but you can try to use them to your advantage. This involves a combination of removing the negative triggers, and surrounding yourself with the positive ones.

To do this, it’s important to understand that the triggers themselves are not inherently good or bad. They just are, and you can manipulate those triggers around you to encourage more positive responses.

For example, if you kept a plate of cookies on the counter, you’ll end up eating more cookies. But if you instead keep out more healthy triggers, such as a healthier yummy snack or exercise magazines, you will find yourself more likely to stick to your diet.

Identifying your triggers is the first obvious step. But this is much harder than it sounds. Triggers are not an exact science, and everyone has different responses to various things. The trick is to pay close attention to your surroundings when you do feel a sudden urge or emotion, and take note of what might be causing you to feel that change.

Negative Triggers

For example, you may notice that walking over to what part of your living room results in a feeling of anxiety. Take careful stock of the items around you, and you may discover this feeling is being triggered by a painting or other object near you. In this case, the idea is to remove this object and thus remove the negative trigger from your environment.

Positive Triggers

Now in another example, you may notice that you feel more hopeful and uplifted in one part of your bedroom. This could be because of a picture of a loved one, or simply because your bed comforter reminds you of safety and warmth. Whatever the trigger is, and no matter how simple it may seem, it’s important. And it can inform how you can influence other areas of your home and workplace to encourage the same positive feelings.

Here are some examples of triggers I personally use, which may prove useful for you as well:

  • I keep an “ideas board” at my work desk, covered with articles and images from magazines that have inspired me, or my creative accomplishments, or happy photos of loved ones I admire – looking at this bulletin board of creative clippings helps me feel good about myself and jump-start the creative juices.
  • I keep the desktop on my computer totally empty, so as not to distract myself with other programs and documents – then when I have work or a project that I do want to remember, I’ll add it as an icon to my desktop for a visual trigger.

Triggers & Marketing

Triggers are also an essential part of marketing and advertising. The ads you see on TV and in magazines can absolutely trigger a need to purchase something you didn’t realize you wanted. So why not utilize this concept in your own marketing strategy?

Happy customers = Paying customersIf you understand common triggers and how they play with what goods or services you are trying to sell, you can help influence the reaction of your audience when they interact with your marketing campaign. By no means should you exploit this or communicate false information. But there is a great opportunity here to help your audience better understand and feel the benefits of your products or services if you incorporate relevant triggers that your audience immediately relate to.

For example, let’s say you sell chocolates and other sweet treats in gift baskets. People have such a strong emotional response to the idea of sweets and the situations in which they crave them. So reminding them of these moments as you advertise can be a very effective way of relating your products to your audience on a more personal level.

So now take a moment and think about what your triggers are, either in your personal life or business, either for your own mental health or the health of your business marketing – or BOTH! For either of these purposes, it’s a very healthy practice to revisit regularly, so take the time to do these check-ins with yourself ongoing whenever you can. Maybe try scheduling some recurring time on your Calendar to remind you to do this.

Questions? Comments? Absurd Ideas? Please comment below and tell me what negative triggers you notice that you can overcome or avoid – or positive triggers you can utilize more in your personal or professional life.

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One thought on “Trigger Happy

  1. Pingback: Take an Offbeat Breather | The Productive Artist

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