Invisible Injuries- Mental health ambassadors

S01 - Dealing with triggers 1

September 09, 2021

army solider in the bush with pink sky background

A trigger is something (e.g a sight, sound, smell, taste or bodily sensation) that sets off a reaction, taking you back to a particular event or situation. Triggers are highly unpredictable. Fearing and fleeing from triggers doesn’t work!

It’s better to face them and deal with them. So instead of going for avoidance, go for acceptance. Dealing with them takes out their stink, and enables us to remain in control.

 “That was then, this is now” – this technique is powerful for arresting a trigger in its tracks,. It ensures the control remains with the serviceman and not with the trigger, which could easily lead into a flashback

The secret is to practice saying “That was then, this is NOW!” on a regular basis, so that it is ready to use in an instant. It’s important for workers to encourage service peronnel toslow down their pace of speech, lower their tone of voice and say the sentence forcefully with the emphasis on the “NOW”

With this technique at the readiness, triggers – which are highly unpredictable – need not be feared instead they are welcomed.

How to use for best results –“horses for courses” applies. Some might find one tool or technique helpful, others will experiment with another that proves helpful. All are available to try and it’s often about finding “what works”.

*reprinted with permission 2020
@john henden