Invisible Injuries- Mental health ambassadors

S01 - Dealing with triggers 05

October 22, 2021

commando in afghanistan on a polaris 6 wheeler with messaging in text

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.
“The 5-4-3-2-1 method” This method is very useful for dealing with triggers, pulling the serviceman back to the here and now. (also, its good for inducing sleep if woken at night by internal or external events”. Example Close your eyes, notice 5 things you can hear, notice 5 things you can feel in your body. Continue by decreasing by 1 each thing you see and things you can feel in your body.
After using the exercise 4-5 times it will become easier and the calming effect will be greater.
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