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PTSD triggers may be all around you. Even though it may sometimes feel like PTSD symptoms come out-of-the-blue, PTSD symptoms rarely spontaneously occur.

Instead, whether you are aware of it not, PTSD symptoms are often triggered or cued by something in our internal (anything that happens within your body, such as thoughts or feelings) or external (anything that happens outside your body, such as a stressful situation) environment.

Because certain thoughts, feelings, or situations can bring up uncomfortable PTSD symptoms, such as memories of a traumatic event or feelings of being on edge and anxious, one way of coping with these symptoms is by increasing your awareness of these triggers.

You can prevent or lessen the impact of certain PTSD symptoms by identifying what specific types of thoughts, feelings, and situations trigger them, and then, take steps to limit the occurrence or impact of those triggers.

Because certain thoughts, feelings, or situations can bring up uncomfortable PTSD symptoms, such as memories of a traumatic event or feelings of being on edge and anxious, one way of coping with these symptoms is by increasing your awareness of these triggers.

You can prevent or lessen the impact of certain PTSD symptoms by identifying what specific types of thoughts, feelings, and situations trigger them, and then, take steps to limit the occurrence or impact of those triggers.

Identifying Your Triggers

Try to think of when your PTSD symptoms usually come up. Ask yourself the following questions to identify your triggers:

What types of situations are you in?

What is happening around you?

What kind of emotions are you feeling?

What thoughts are you experiencing?

What does your body feel like?

Get out a sheet of paper and write down as many internal and external triggers as you can.

Coping with Triggers

Although it is almost impossible to avoid your triggers, you can take some steps to manage your environment (for example, not going to certain places that you know will trigger you) and learn ways of coping with triggers. What kind of emotions are you feeling? Effective, healthy coping strategies for lessening the impact of triggers include:

Mindfulness
Relaxation
Self-soothing
Grounding
Expressive writing
Social support
Deep breathing
Distractive activities

The more strategies you have available to you, the better off you will be in managing your triggers. In addition, the more coping strategies you have, the more likely you will be able to prevent the development of unhealthy coping strategies, such as alcohol and drug use.

Further, simply being more aware of your triggers can be beneficial. As a result of this increased awareness, your emotional reactions may begin to feel more understandable, valid, predictable, and less out of control. This can definitely, and positively, impact your mood and overall well-being.


For help when triggered, you may want to read
our Grounding Techniques & Relaxation page.

Worksheets and Info Regarding Triggers

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