Evidence-Based Trigger Reduction

Up-Coming Holidays
September
9/4 S Labor Day
9/6 Full Moon
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/20 – 9/21 Midnight Host
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas (?)
October
10/5 Full Moon
10/13 Backwards Halloween
10/13 Friday the Thirteenth
10/22 – 10/29 Preparation for All Hallows’ Eve
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0/31 Halloween/Samhain/All Hallows Eve
November
11/S Full Moon
11/3 Satanic Revels
11/23 Thanksgiving
Important dates in Nazi groups
9/1 Start of WW2
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday
11/9 Kristallnacht
11/11 Veteran’s Day: Armistice, 1918

Evidence-Based Trigger Reduction

My insurance company wanted to enroll me in a preventative cardiac health program. I understand the logic: it costs less to keep me healthy than have me go to the ER and perhaps get hospitalized. And every year I stay healthy they make money on my premiums.

I said sure. The lady who enrolled me had a script to read from and she could not deviate from it to answer my questions or take additional information or laugh at my jokes. But she did tell me I would have access to a triage nurse and to a health coach. I get weekly emails from a lovely, sensible, brassy life coach on the Internet, so a health coach sounded exciting!

The health coach called within a couple of days. The poor thing had a different script to read which consisted of asking me questions that I had to answer on a Likert scale of 1-10. That is impossible for me because I get lost in the numbers and my only honest answer is, “I don’t know.” I faked it as best I could. There were also some easier questions, like, “Have you used any tobacco products in the last month?” and “How many servings of fruit and vegetables a day do you get?” (I didn’t know because I don’t know how big a serving is. I can count the different vegetables, though.),

The only thing the health coach could latch on to was my stress level. Now I know it’s been a lot, lot, lot worse but I don’t think it is low enough to be considered perfect. So I thought about the last ten years or so and guessed it was a four. “What would I like it to be?” “A two,” I said.

Then she listed some ways of reducing stress and asked me what I could commit to. Walking briskly for thirty minutes a day, every day, has been out of the question for well over fifteen years. My present goal is to walk 1800 steps a day spread out over twenty-four hours. The script then made her ask about dancing! Meditating would be wonderful, but I have tried many times and keep forgetting to do it. Frankly, the process of enrolling dissociated old me in an evidence-based program like they offered seemed a little ridiculous.

Finally I agreed I could journal about my stress levels for a month. I chose a bright yellow notebook and put it near the computer where I had to look at it every day.

Day 1 was a snap. I thought I had missed Day 2 but when I looked on Day 3 I saw I had identified a trigger and had written down a plan of dealing with it. Day 4 the morning passed and I still had no idea what my stress level was or what to write. So I wrote, “No triggers that I can see, therefore no plan of action.” This is going to be harder than I thought.

It has occurred to me that I may already be identifying triggers and coming up with doable plans. If I am going to accomplish anything, I have to do something new. It’s like losing weight – you can’t expect to get lighter if you keep on eating the same yummy foods every day. Not that forgetting things and messing stuff up and pushing unpleasant or anxiety-provoking things out of awareness is exactly yummy.

The problem is that I already know how to reduce my weight. (By the way, I just reached my goal after being on a plateau for about a month. Yippee! But then I went right back up again. No yippee. And then back to my goal again!) I think I am doing everything I can to reduce stress, with the emphasis on the “can.” But obviously I am not, or I would be meditating. I know meditating is wonderful for lowering stress, I understand the directions, I have quiet time, but…

I just came up with a plan of action. Break the big goal into little goals. Sit still and breathe consciously for two minutes a day. Then make it three minutes a day. Then make it twice a day. Etcetera.

Get a meditation Fitbit that will effortless track my behavior. HA! I would have to invent it. It’s easier to make my own graph and enter my progress. Or maybe not. Maybe the Internet has one ready-made for me. I spent too much time looking and found that the charts and graphs are mostly for general health or yoga and most cost more than $50.00.

I think I have gotten off-track, which is writing about the journal of triggers and action plans. I just looked at the yellow notebook and found that I hadn’t written anything in fourteen days. Obviously not high priority, right? How am I going to explain this to my health coach?

All I can say to her is that charting things appeals to accountant-type people and I am a poet.

I stopped to wonder why I have lost interest in tracking my stress levels. I don’t think it will teach me anything new because I am already pretty good at identifying triggers and managing them. I feel I have better things to turn my energy to.

I can’t imagine anybody finding something helpful in this rambling post about not doing something I committed myself to. I think I’m writing it simply because I want to complain and it feels good to complain to people who I trust to not sneer as they put me down for failing such an easy task. And for being different from all those people who gave evidence that this system really does work. I feel like the eternal outsider, but I am not when I am in your company.

Thank you, my friends, for being here for me.

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