How To Deal With Trauma Triggers

April 1, 2024|Mental Health|
An man looks reflectively downward while listening to his unseen psychiatrist.

Trauma triggers are a common experience for those who have experienced trauma in their lives. These triggers can be anything from a smell, a sound or a situation that reminds you of a traumatic event. They can cause intense emotional and physical reactions, making it difficult to cope with daily life.

What happens when trauma is triggered can vary depending on your level of trauma, your environment and the circumstances around the trigger, and even your personality. People in your life, including loved ones and partners, may even be responsible for triggering your trauma, whether or not they do it on purpose. This is why it’s important to learn trauma coping skills, so that when triggers arise, you can feel safe and in-control.

What Are Trauma Triggers?

The effects of trauma are varied, and still being studied, so a trigger can be anything that is related to your traumatic event. Being triggered can cause a person to experience intense emotional and physical reactions. These triggers can be anything from a specific smell, sound or situation that reminds the person of their traumatic experience. They can also be triggered by certain people, such as a partner or family member.

How to Recognize Trauma Triggers

Recognizing trauma triggers is the first step in learning how to deal with them. Some common signs of trauma triggers include:

  • Intense emotional reactions, such as fear, anger or sadness
  • Physical reactions, such as sweating, shaking or rapid heart rate
  • Flashbacks or intrusive thoughts about the traumatic event
  • Avoidance of situations or people that remind you of the trauma
  • Difficulty concentrating or feeling disconnected from reality

If you notice these signs in yourself or your partner, it may be a sign of a trauma trigger.

How to Deal With Trauma Triggers

Dealing with trauma triggers can be challenging, but there are some strategies that can help you cope in a healthy way.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and focusing on your thoughts and feelings without judgment. When you experience a trauma trigger, it can be easy to get caught up in the intense emotions and physical reactions. Practicing mindfulness can help you stay grounded and calm in these moments.

Try taking deep breaths and focusing on your surroundings. Notice the sensations in your body and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can help you stay present and avoid getting overwhelmed by the trigger.

Communicate With Your Loved Ones

It is important to have open and honest communication with your loved ones about your trauma triggers. This can help them understand your experience and be more supportive when you are triggered and reduce the likelihood that they will accidentally trigger you. While these conversations can be hard and triggering in their own right, they are essential for creating a network of safe people and can help you feel less alone in your experience of trauma.

Seek Professional Help

If you are struggling to cope with trauma triggers, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide you with tools and techniques to manage your triggers and work through the underlying trauma. They can also help you and your partner communicate effectively and support each other through this process.

There are even trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) programs available for a variety of experiences to help you deal with the symptoms of trauma. Trauma-focused CBT can be more effective than standard CBT for those dealing with trauma, because it focuses on experiences like being triggered and developing coping mechanisms.

Create a Safety Plan

Having a safety plan in place can help you feel more prepared when you experience a trauma trigger. This plan can include steps you can take to calm yourself down, such as deep breathing or calling a trusted friend or family member. It can also include ways your partner can support you, such as giving you space or holding your hand.

Having a safety plan can help you feel more in control when you experience a trigger and can prevent the situation from escalating.

Practice Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is crucial when dealing with trauma triggers. Make sure to prioritize self-care activities that help you feel calm and relaxed. This can include things like taking a bath, going for a walk or listening to calming music.

It is also essential to practice self-compassion. Be gentle with yourself and acknowledge that dealing with trauma triggers can be challenging, and there is no correct way of dealing with them.

Seek Support from Others

Dealing with trauma triggers can be isolating, but it is essential to seek support from others. This can include friends, family or support groups for people who have experienced trauma. Talking to others who have gone through similar experiences can help you feel less alone and provide you with valuable coping strategies.

Finding Professional Care Today

Seeking out professional help for your trauma doesn’t have to be complex. Hartgrove Behavioral Health Hospital offers a variety of programs focused on helping you live harmoniously with your trauma and improving your quality of life. Call today to schedule an assessment at 773-649-6200.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or seek out your nearest emergency room. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 988 or visit your closest emergency room for care.


Hartgrove Hospital

Hartgrove Hospital is a Modern Behavioral Health Hospital that specializes in personalized treatment for adults, adolescents and children. We pride ourselves on delivering quality care provided by our compassionate and thoughtful staff. Our mission is to restore the emotional well-being of our patients, while giving them the proper resources for their future.

Some of our programs include our inpatient and outpatient services. As well as our trauma and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). These programs are offered with an all-encompassing psychiatric healthcare service that is both effective and efficient. Located in Chicago, IL, our facility has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

To schedule a no-cost assessment or for more information, please call 773-572-7900 .

Share This Post

Schedule an Assessment

Need help? Call 773-413-1700 to schedule an assessment or receive more information. You may also walk in anytime. We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week.