Learn How to Manage Your PTSD Triggers

November 11, 2019 Beth Avery

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a difficult disorder to carry throughout life, so you need to learn how to manage PTSD triggers. The symptoms of PTSD can be debilitating, and it's hard to predict when they're going to strike. Any sight, sound, smell, or conversation can cause an unwanted traumatic memory to pop up in your mind, disrupting your sense of peace. Learning to cope with PTSD starts with identifying the triggers that cause you distress. If you are able to predict what types of stimuli might cause you to get stuck in a traumatic memory, you will be better prepared to manage the PTSD triggers throughout your day.

Types of PTSD Triggers to Manage

There are endless stimuli that could trigger PTSD symptoms. A trigger can be anything that reminds you of your traumatic experience, so everybody's triggers are a little different. Some people are triggered by smells, others, by specific sounds or music. You can be triggered by people, places, feelings, or thoughts. Even a specific color could be a trigger.

Because my trauma took place over several years, I have an endless number of PTSD triggers (it feels that way, at least). My day can be derailed by anything from a certain shampoo brand to the tone of voice someone uses when talking to me. While many of my triggers are hard to predict, there are a few that repeat themselves. Being able to predict when and where these triggers might be an issue has made navigating my day-to-day life a little easier.

How to Manage PTSD Triggers

When PTSD triggers do occur, it's possible to cope with them without having a meltdown. The physical and emotional feelings triggers bring can be unpleasant, but they don't have to control your day.

When I feel triggered by something, I do my best to avoid panicking. I take slow, deep breaths and--if possible--step away from any crowds or groups of people. My triggers often make me feel like I'm reliving my traumatic experiences, so I use grounding techniques to help remind myself of where I am in the present. 

Since PTSD triggers are so individualized, your coping strategies will be unique to you as well. There are plenty of ways to cope with a trigger, and the only way to find which methods work for you is to start testing them out. Whether you work with a therapist, read self-help books, or find inspiration from similar people online, you can establish peace in your life again. Little by little, your PTSD triggers will become easier to manage. 

How do you manage your PTSD triggers? Share your thoughts in the comments.

APA Reference
Avery, B. (2019, November 11). Learn How to Manage Your PTSD Triggers, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Beth Avery

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Eva Love
May, 9 2022 at 6:18 pm

Thank you. I need to gets handle on my anger that can come up from a trigger. At times I don't know I am triggered until I'm in the anger. Any ideas? Thanks. Eva

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