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How Can We Manage Our Triggers?

When struggling with mental illness, our triggers are the things we’re most sensitive to, the things that bring out the most intense emotional reactions, and the things that cause us the most pain. When a trigger hits us, we feel overcome with an onslaught of difficult emotions – sadness, fear, panic, anger, bitterness. We react by hurting ourselves or lashing out at the people around us. We run away. We try to avoid the thing or the person that is triggering us. We try to avoid our pain at all costs. Very often we’re not conscious of what our triggers are. We don’t understand why we react the way we do, and we don’t know how to heal ourselves and how to choose different reactions that serve us better. The ways in which we handle our triggers can be part of our self-destructiveness. They cause us more pain. They keep us from healing and impede our ability to move forward. How can we manage our triggers so that we can heal our relationship to them and our relationship with ourselves?

Start to take more notice of what affects you the most, what causes you the most pain and what gets the most intense reactions out of you. What is it you’re responding to when you’re triggered? Is it a particularly hurtful or insensitive thing someone has said? Is it something they’ve done? Is it something you read, saw, witnessed or came across? The next time you’re feeling triggered, explore why you’re feeling the intense emotions that are coming up for you. What are the origins of that pain?

Many of us, for example, feel triggered when someone criticizes us or puts us down. We’re not only responding to the hurtful things they’re saying to us but how those things are making us feel. Perhaps they are reminding us of the ways in which we were emotionally abused as children. Perhaps they’re hitting a nerve within us that is compounding our already existing insecurities and self-hatred. Maybe they’re a reflection of how we already feel about ourselves.

Working to recognize and manage our triggers is something many of us struggle with. We don’t feel equipped to handle the pain that can come along with them. We can take advantage of therapy and support groups, writing, meditation and energy healing to aid in our recovery. The more we can look at our triggers with clarity, honesty and openness, the more we become desensitized to them, the less hurtful, bothersome and troublesome they are for us.

At The Guest House Ocala, we are uniquely equipped to help our guests heal from trauma-induced substance abuse, process addiction, anxiety and depression in a safe, comfortable and confidential setting. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.