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“Being triggered” is starting to become a common phrase. But what does it mean to be triggered? In relation to mental health, a trigger is connected to a persons experiences of trauma. This is also connected with PTSD and even anxiety. Think of a trigger, as flipping the switch between awareness, and flipping the switch to our past traumas. A difficult part of the healing process is understanding our own triggers. What makes this difficult is because people experience triggers differently, and may even have different triggers. It requires reflection and awareness to be able to identify and cope through our own triggers. Below are some factors to consider that can contribute to a trigger:

– sounds

– people

– thoughts

– smells

– places

– media

– strong emotions

– situations

It is important for the individual to identify triggers and find coping skills that can help process the trigger. This requires grounding techniques. Because triggers focus on past experiences of trauma, The purpose of grounding is to provide focus on the here and now instead. By focusing on the present, it allows the brain to redirect focus and remind ourselves, that we are safe and not in the traumatic experience that the trigger is focused on. Below are some grounding exercises to explore.

– sense grounding: what do you see, hear, feel, smell, taste?

– hold on to an ice cube

– focus on deep breathing

– use a statement to remind you that you are safe