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How To Cope With Your Triggers

Dealing with a mental illness or addiction can be tricky. There are so many things out of our control, and so many triggers that feel like they control our lives. When you’re in recovery, you will begin to notice that there a whole bunch of triggers that can alter your present mindset no matter how positive it may be at the time. This is why it is so important to figure out how to cope with your triggers. 

There are many effective ways to respond to a trigger but it can be a process.

For starters, you must learn to acknowledge your present emotions when you are triggered. This is important because if you’re triggered by something now, odds are, you’ll be triggered by whatever it was again.

Identifying and acknowledging what your present emotions are, will help you recognize them in the future. Ignoring your emotions, will only make you feel worse. This may seem obvious and can seem unimportant, but it is the first step to controlling your triggers.

When experiencing a trigger: Breathe deeply and slowly. When something in your life triggers the feelings you have been working so hard to control, you might feel at a loss. At this moment in time, If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or even if you are feeling like you might become overwhelmed, just breathe.  You will be amazed at how much better you feel after standing back and taking long and deep breaths. This helps you control your heart rate as well as provides time to pause, reflect, and gather your thoughts as well as engage in positive self-talk. “You got this” “you’re better then this” “I should call someone” “this isn’t good for me” are all examples of positive self-talk.

After you have acknowledged your trigger, and stood back to recollect yourself with your breath, it is time to change your scenery. You need to remove yourself from whatever environment you are currently in, and find yourself a peaceful and positive space.  Find a space that will distract you from whatever negativity is affecting you. Find that space and make it your own. If you have nowhere to go, that is OK. There are plenty of ways to remove yourself from a negative situation. Try going on a walk, or putting on your headphones, calling a friend or mentor  and blocking out your trigger.

This is not to say that you need to avoid every triggering situation. You can’t go about avoiding everything. There are however some things that should always be avoided, and the others should be faced incrementally and with appropriate planning and support.

Being able to take negative situations and turn them into something positive takes strength and courage. Taking that negative memory/trigger and channeling it into something positive is how you’re going to get through whatever you’re going through.

After dealing with a trigger we suggest writing down what coping methods worked for you and which ones didn’t. Where did you go when triggered? What music did you play? Who did you call? What did you do? Did deep breathing work? What kind of self talk was helpful?

This will guide you down the path towards recovery. “To know where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve been.” Although history tends to repeat itself, you don’t want it to in this case. So it is important for you to really acknowledge and take note of what happens in your life. The good and the bad.

Triggers aren’t fun. They could happen at the most unexpected and inconvenient time. That is why it is vital for you to take care of yourself, and really work on how to control your triggers.  Recovery is an ongoing battle and an order for you to grow through this time, you need to be willing to work on yourself.  It’s hard to go anywhere feeling bad for themselves and dwelling in their own sorrow. We’ve all had our hardships, and we’ve all fallen down at some point in our lives. But like Muhammad Ali once said, “You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face and keep going.”

For more information and to get the help you need now, contact The Detox Center of Los Angeles for a free assessment of your symptoms as well as your insurance benefits and coverage. Give us a call today, 888-346-4350


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The Detox Center of L.A. accepts most major insurance providers and private healthcare policies. We offer free insurance verification as well as eligibility and benefits for both behavioral and mental health treatment services. Please fill out our insurance verification form here to verify your insurance.

What happens in addiction

Effective addiction treatment programs are tailored to each individual. Because of this, it will be a different experience for everyone. However, it generally involves a combination of detoxification, group and individual therapy, educational presentations, and aftercare planning in order to ensure long-term recovery. Upon arrival at The Detox Center of L.A., you can expect our professionally trained staff to create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs and treatment goals.