In this post I list a lot of coping mechanisms, but I thought I would share my favorite ones here. I keep a list of these in my phone for reference when my trigger makes it hard for me to concentrate and remember them.
For me, different things work for different types of triggers. What I mean is that I’ll do something different if I’m feeling uneasy vs. scared out of my mind. For that reason, I’ve categorized my most common responses based on the severity of the trigger. Here are my favorite ways to defeat triggers:
For minor triggers:
- Positive self-talk: I remind myself that it’s the past and that it’s okay to feel upset. It’s normal. I never put myself down for reacting the way I do, because it’s not something I have control over.
- Listening to the Nutcracker soundtrack. I performed in it many times when I was a kid, so it’s associated with many positive memories and never fails to improve my mood 🙂
- Find a distraction: homework, reciting Shakespeare (I’m such a nerd), a funny video, etc. It gets my mind off whatever triggered me.
For severe triggers:
- Remind myself that I’m safe. If someone else triggered me through touch, it was likely an accident and they meant no harm.
- Cuddling/hugging my boyfriend. His arms mean safety, so the moment I’m in his arms I feel calm again. The only issue is that if he touches me in the wrong way, it can put me right back at square one. The good news is that he knows how to safely hug me without making matters worse.
- Deep breaths. Breathe in for three seconds. Hold for three seconds. Exhale for five seconds. Repeat. Not only does this give me something other than fear to focus on, but it also has a physiological effect. Within seconds it lowers blood pressure and heart rate. This is my go-to even for less severe triggers too. It works better than anything else.
Thank you for reading this article. You can find my backstory here.