Invisible Injuries- Mental health ambassadors

S01 - Dealing with triggers 4

October 22, 2021

Airforce loadmasters pushing a parachute bundle off the back of a hercules plane

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.
“Welcoming triggers through mindfulness”
This fits well with replacing avoidance with acceptance. The technique counters powerfully the “fight or flight” response by disarming it. This is how it works: At the whiff of a trigger, say “ah, I recognise you!” “Welcome” etc. This response is the complete opposite to trying to run from it or push it down or away. Simply acknowledge the trigger and how you feel about it right now.
There’s no need for the brain and the body to become activated, ready for a fight, for it will pass. Once you’ve welcomed it, use the techniques 1,2 or 3 described earlier.
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