After you’ve experienced a trauma, if not processed fully, then you can have triggers. A trigger is a solid behavioral or emotional reaction that overtakes you. It can feel as if you are reliving the trauma all over. It has been proven that our bodies store trauma and do not know the time. According to Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score, when we are triggered, our bodies believe the trauma is happening all over again, giving you unpleasant intense physical sensations and a feeling of being out of control.
Triggers can be terrifying and seem like they come out of nowhere. Trauma triggers can include smells, sounds (songs), body sensations, and even seeing specific images, people, or sights. It’s essential to learn what your triggers are to try to avoid them and take action to regulate your nervous system after you have been triggered.
1. The first step in healing from a trauma trigger is understanding & knowing your triggers. You can use a trigger tracking journal to track your triggers & gain an understanding.
2. Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can begin helping yourself work through them. Taking deep breaths and grounding yourself are very helpful. You can remind yourself that you are in the present moment while acknowledging your feelings, allowing your emotions to flow through your body.
3. My final recommendation is to be engaged in therapy. You and your therapist can work through your triggers together. EMDR Therapy is an excellent tool in aiding in trauma healing. You can watch a quick video here.
A trigger tracking journal is a great way to familiarize yourself with your triggers, enabling you to know how to deal with your trauma triggers. Below explains a little more about how to create a trigger journal.
How to Make and Use a Trigger Tracking Journal
When triggered, you may become upset, violent, afraid, or a mixture of all emotions depending on the topic. The more significant issue with being triggered is when you don’t know why you were triggered or how to deal with it. That is where a trigger tracking journal comes in. If this sounds like something you are willing to try, here is some information on how to make and use a trigger tracking journal.
The Set-Up of a Trigger Tracking Journal
Trigger tracking journals are a bit different than other journals because there is no setup. They are designed for you to pour out your thoughts as they come to you. They are meant to be an area to rant and rave about what has occurred and triggered you. You are also meant to write down how you are triggered. Let it all out, including how you feel, why you feel that way and anything that comes to mind. This is for your eyes only, so don’t hold back. Just say what you feel because it all connects to the trigger.
When to Use a Trigger Tracking Journal
Trigger tracking journals are an immediate response journaling method. You don’t want to wait to write your journal. You want to do it at the time you feel the emotion. This allows you to get your thoughts out without really thinking them over and without removing some of the thoughts you are having because you feel they are wrong or bad. If possible, use the journal at the moment or follow the moment. The longer you wait to use this journal, the less effective it is.
How the Trigger Tracking Journal Helps You
Trigger tracking journals work in several ways. The first is to give you an immediate outlet for the emotions you are feeling from being triggered. Second, they are used to provide you with something to reflect on. You should go back and look at the entries at least once a week and make one entry about your thoughts on the previous week’s entries. The third way this helps is by helping you see who or what is triggering you on a routine basis. This allows you to begin to remove that from your daily life and enables you to reduce triggers and stress.
You can use nearly anything to keep track and journal. Keep in mind that you want to use a journaling method that is easy to grab, easy to write in, and easy to carry with you. You never know when you may feel triggered, and having an option with you is the best way to combat it if journaling works for you.
And I have already done the work for you! Check out my new digital products online shop and grab your Trauma Triggers Recovery Journal today in a downloadable fillable PDF file. Get started on your healing journey!
Please know that it is possible to heal from trauma and reduce your triggers to begin regulating your nervous system and free yourself of your daily symptoms. Leave a comment and let me know what is most helpful in your healing journey!