As intense and powerful as they can be, with time and some cognitive coaching, triggers can become less meaningful. It can be possible for you to learn how to cope with triggers and not be overwhelmed by them.
The first step in getting to this point is to identify your triggers, and the specific symptoms you feel when faced with them. This will help you understand your triggers, manage them, and eventually dissociate with them so they don’t mean as much anymore. One effective way to handle a trigger is through grounding.
How to ground yourself
Grounding brings your focus to the present by taking note of your surroundings and placing them in the here and now.
An example of this is the 5-4-3-2-1 game:
- Name 5 things you can see in the room right now
- Name 4 things you can feel right now (feet on the floor, soft t-shirt)
- Name 3 things you can hear right now (TV, birds outside)
- Name 2 things you can smell now
- Name 1 good thing about yourself
Keep in mind, however, that while grounding is a great tool to cope with triggers, it is a short term strategy, and in the long term, cognitive processing therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy are highly recommended.
These therapies can be tailored to your experience of PTSD and are effective ways of processing trauma in general.