The pressure cooker that the participants are in undoubtedly (some might say deliberately) generates daily triggers for the couples, the fall out for which makes for great TV. But of course, we in our everyday lives, also experience similar triggers and social threat responses, especially in work and home relationships. Learning to recognize and then more appropriately respond to our own and other’s social triggers can be a significant step in personal growth and one way to just make life just a bit smoother.
In psychologically unsafe environments, where social threats are rife, brains are more likely to be vigilant, on high alert, looking out for the danger. Although threats manifest below our conscious awareness, what we may be aware of is a general unease or underlying tension, a slight anxiety, difficulty in relaxing, irritability, tension headaches, stomach issues, diminished self-control etc. We normally call this stress. And sometimes it only takes a small social threat, but one that’s quite particular to us, to start the ball rolling.