Are you in tune with yourself – your thoughts and feelings?  Do you know what triggers a positive reaction from you?  Do you know what makes you smile or offer an affirming nod?  How about what elicits feelings of compassion, or what compels you to make eye contact that expresses warmth and encouragement?

Can you identify what tends to stimulate a negative reaction from you?  What makes you sad or generates feelings of hopelessness.  What angers, frustrates or scares you? What brings on anxiety?

If you pay attention to how you feel emotionally, you can identify your triggers and become more capable of effective self-regulation, an important component of emotional intelligence.

Knowing what triggers negative emotion in you allows you to recognize your go-to reaction and devise ways to diffuse any undesirable impact.  You can train yourself to consciously choose how you’ll keep emotional flare-ups from derailing you.

Triggers also hold the key to what motivates you.  Armed with that important information, you can set yourself up for success by seeking opportunities that make you feel good about yourself and your potential.  It’s within the scenarios that trigger positive emotion that you’ll most likely uncover your unique purpose.

Starting the work of becoming more self-aware through identifying your triggers can be simple.  Throughout the day, notice how you feel in connection with what’s happening around you.  Pay attention to your thoughts and the emotions that follow.  When you feel good, what’s happening?  When you feel tense or irritable, what is going on in your internal dialogue?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds, author of “Outsmart Your Brain,” offers a list of common emotional triggers as well as a deeper understanding of how we react to situations that threaten our basic needs.

The more you notice, the clearer your pattern of triggers and reactions will become.  You move closer to conscious choice driving your decisions and behaviors, and success will follow as you align your emotional energy and intentions.