It’s not pleasant to relive a negative memory, but it’s unavoidable that we come across specific words or gestures that bring that memory flooding back. When you’re triggered, you’re reliving a prior trauma or anguish in the present. You may react to a trauma regardless of how recent or long it has been, if the wound has not fully healed, or if you have not developed strategies to manage the triggers.
When you’re triggered, you could feel like you’re having a massive emotional reaction that’s out of proportion to what’s going on. Something as basic as a family member’s choice of words directed at you might trigger your “fight, flight, or freeze” response. However, when we’re triggered, we’re more likely to fight in order to defend ourselves from further pain.
Your responses to being triggered might range from anxiety to rage, but the reaction is considerably bigger than the occurrence itself. Your body goes into self-defense mode, and your stress hormones spike, to the point where you lose contact with your healthy coping abilities and resort to reacting as opposed to responding.
As we stated above, it’s similar to reopening a wound that hasn’t had time to heal, so you’re protective of it and yourself.
Practicing ways to cope with being triggered is easier said than done. However, it is a step towards appropriately controlling your emotions and behaviours, so that you do not have an explosive outburst if you are triggered in a situation. So, here are four strategies for regulating your emotions when you’re triggered:
A Deep Breath
If you start to feel like your emotions are getting the best of you and you’re about to explode because something triggering has happened to you, close your eyes and breathe for a few seconds. As you relax, let your thoughts calm down in a tranquil manner. A deep breath is your body’s natural way of releasing stress and resetting your neurological system, allowing you to navigate through the circumstance without becoming enraged.
Separate From The Situation
When we’re triggered, it’s tough to remain objective. While isolating yourself may not be good in certain instances, it is perfectly alright to take a break to calm yourself. Allow your mind to analyse what happened that prompted the trigger, while also calming it so you can face the issue with a clear head. It may take two or three days for you to regain your composure, but it is preferable to grasp the whole scope of the problem than to go in head first without a thorough understanding and allow your emotions to cloud your judgement.
Talk Your Feelings Out
It is strongly advised that you express your thoughts that caused you to respond in the way you did in order to better understand your triggers. You’ll feel less burdened by carrying the weight of your trauma if you talk about it more. Your thoughts will run rampant, so it’s essential to express them fully and share them with someone who can assist and support you, whether it’s a professional or someone you genuinely trust, so you can manage your emotions if you’re triggered.
Heal Your Wound
Nobody understands you like you do, and that includes your wound and trauma. Allowing yourself to feel the agony you’ve been through is the first step toward recovery. It’s about acknowledging the grief you’ve been through and being more compassionate with yourself without passing judgement. Often, our triggers provide us with a chance to properly mourn, or heal some unresolved issues from the past. So, in order to heal the wound, allow yourself to comprehend your own trigger.
Source: Therapy With Abby
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