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Trauma Triggers: How Do I Handle Them in Recovery?

As you navigate through treatment, you may wonder about trauma you have experienced and how that will affect your recovery. You know that trauma has affected you in some shape or form. There is no right or wrong way to navigate your trauma. Each person handles events in their life differently.

Trauma can take form in many different ways and have lasting effects on how you handle daily problems. What is traumatic to one person may not be to another. For example, two people can see the same event and have two different perspectives. Within this article, you will learn healthy tools to navigate through your trauma and explore your boundaries within recovery.

Trauma Triggers

Trauma triggers can be anything that reminds you of the traumatic event that occurred in your life. When a trigger is present, an overwhelming sense of emotion occurs, and you can stay in the space of re-experiencing that event. To the mind and body, a trigger represents danger, which can cause you to experience strong emotions, including panic, restlessness, or anxiety.

Healing from trauma takes time and patience. Sometimes, avoidance becomes a quick solution. You should learn to identify your triggers to create a space of healing instead of avoidance. Sometimes you may feel emotional and have no idea what the trigger was. In that situation, acknowledge your emotions and give yourself space to feel.

Journal Your Feelings

Creating space for your feelings and emotions helps you in many ways. When trauma has been experienced, trust can be broken. Taking the time to journal how you feel in the moment creates a flow of words on paper. You are releasing thoughts and feelings when you may not be able to express them through words.

Journaling allows you to stay in the present and focus on the here and now rather than the past. In many instances, the brain can regulate emotions and balance feelings more effectively after journaling. You are releasing your thought processes onto paper and can reflect at a later date if you wish to.

Journaling provides a safe space for reflecting on past experiences and for growth. You cannot grow from anything unless you feel safe.

Separate Yourself

When a trigger occurs, one of the most important things you can do is separate yourself from the trigger. Removing yourself from any engagement that makes you feel uncomfortable is key to separating yourself from a potential trigger.

Being clear about your boundaries and expectations will help prevent triggers from occurring. This is a form of respecting yourself and letting others know what you need. Whether you need to walk away from a situation, remove some stimulus, or retreat to a safe place, it is always okay to do what you need to so you aren’t triggered.


Focusing on breathing slowly—in through your nostrils and out through your mouth—is one of the most beneficial tools for decreasing stress. Taking several seconds to focus on the breath can release tension and built-up energy. When in a stressful moment, people often hold their breath, which can create even more stress.

Staying in the moment and creating awareness through your breath can provide an overall sense of awareness throughout your whole body. Being in the present moment for a few minutes and focusing on your breathing is a way to stay present and decrease trauma triggers.

Positive Support

Perhaps one of the most important concepts in handling trauma triggers is identifying people who support you. These are the people in your life who offer you empathy and compassion. They are the go-tos when trauma triggers occur. Supportive people remind you that you have a voice and a choice.

Your support network empowers and reminds you that you are a brave person who continues to embrace your challenges, holding your head up high. These are people who will treat you with unconditional positive regard.


You must find a safe person to talk to about your triggers. A counselor or other mental health care provider is trained to guide you in dealing with difficult topics in your life. Understanding that you are not alone in this journey is empowering. There are many benefits to talking with someone who has an objective point of view. First, a counselor helps you to understand your feelings and how to communicate them. Second, therapy provides a space to explore your thoughts and feelings. Third, fresh ideas and insights can emerge when you discuss your trauma triggers with a therapist.

Counseling can teach you healthy coping skills to combat daily stressors and help you manage your recovery. You will learn to focus on the present and separate yourself from your trauma. With the help of a counselor, you will be on your way to becoming your best self.

Now that you have finished treatment for your addiction, you may find yourself feeling vulnerable and realize that you need to change. You are triggered by events and are stuck in the limbo of transition. You are not alone. Recognizing trauma triggers can be both scary and empowering. Recovery looks different for everyone, and the same is for trauma. You are ready; however, you may be hesitant about who to trust and where to go to find safety. At The Guest House, we understand that a feeling of safety is key to addressing trauma triggers. We meet you where you are with unconditional support. Call us today at (855) 483-7800 to learn more.