6 Tips for Handling Your Triggers
Updated: Oct 7
If you’re recovering from trauma or are struggling with your mental health in general, chances are that emotional triggers are part of your experience. A trigger is a sight, sound, memory, or event that leads to a strong emotional reaction. Learning to manage your triggers can help you achieve peace of mind while caring for your mental and behavioral health. Here are some tips for handling your triggers.
How to Properly Handle Your Triggers
Name Your Triggers
The first step in handling your triggers is knowing what they are. Work with your therapist to spot patterns in your emotional reactions. For example, if you’ve experienced abuse in your past, you might become highly anxious or shut down whenever someone expresses frustration to you. People who experienced trauma might also have situational triggers like loud noises and large crowds. Knowing these triggers will allow you to take the next steps.
Learn Your Body’s Signs
What happens in your body when you experience a trigger? If you’re faced with a triggering situation, you might notice your heart racing and breath becoming more shallow. You could also feel your muscles tensing up, indicating feelings of anger or stress. These physical signs can be your first clues that it’s time to take action and calm your mind.
Use a Calming Technique
Your therapist will likely recommend a few grounding techniques to use when faced with a trigger. When you feel triggered, it may be easy to fall into an unhealthy coping mechanism like substance abuse or bursts of anger. However, these will only worsen your emotional state.
A calming technique can help you redirect your emotions. Typically, the best first step is to take some space. Once you’ve removed yourself from the trigger, try focusing on your breathing. Repeating a mantra like “this will pass” can also center you in the moment.
You can’t always avoid your triggers, but simple boundaries can help you prioritize your behavioral health. These boundaries might include avoiding certain places, taking space from friends who don’t respect your emotional needs, and setting aside time for self-care. Healthy boundaries ensure that you have the emotional strength you need to continue your healing journey.
Talk to a Trusted Friend
Having advocates within your close circle is key when coping with your trauma. If possible, talk to a trusted friend or loved one about your triggers. This way, you can call them or pull them aside when you find yourself in a triggering situation. Be sure to tell them your coping tools, so they can redirect your attention and help you calm down in a difficult moment.
See Your Therapist
Individual therapy appointments are a critical tool for identifying and managing your triggers. Be sure to see your therapist regularly to discuss your challenges and progress. They will be there to offer guidance and help you process your trauma, all with your holistic care in mind.
Handling your personal triggers is key to emotional growth, and the team at The Collective is here to support you on your journey. We’ve designed our behavioral healthcare services to focus on the holistic well-being of our clients. Our clinicians offer individual therapy, group counseling, psychiatry services, health coaching, and psychological testing among our selection of holistic behavioral health offerings with several locations in the Denver, CO area. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our providers.