They can be anything. Really anything. A word. A gesture. A smell. Something in your subconscious that prompts your response.
Once my husband asked me if we can control our subconscious. I am not a psychologist so my opinion is limited by what I have read and what I have studied at some point. I think we can but it has to be a conscious effort. Actually a lot of effort is needed to change a pattern, a habit, a certain reaction to the trigger or understand the trigger itself.
An interesting thing about the trigger, well, pretty much as with anything in psychology, is that it is very personal. Sometimes it is called ‘incomplete gestalt’, an unfinished business that needs to be dealt with. An episode from a long forgotten past that triggers anger, sadness, frustration in present.
When dealing with clients, students, co-workers, partners we never know what experiences in their past are going to influence their reaction now. To be honest, we hardly ever know this about ourselves. That’s why we need to realize that we all carry our ‘baggage’ and be ready for an open conversation.
Easier said than done, eh?