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How Do You Calm PTSD Triggers?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can be triggered by traumatic events. It’s characterized by intrusive memories, flashbacks, and nightmares of the event, as well as feelings of intense fear, anxiety, or hopelessness. For those who live with it, the fear and anxiety can be overwhelming. However, learning how to calm PTSD triggers can help reduce feelings of distress and lead to a life of greater well-being.

At Columbia Associates, we understand the difficult journey our patients face in managing their PTSD and its triggers. That’s why we offer a range of therapeutic services, from cognitive-behavioral therapy to mindfulness practices, to help them manage these triggers and gain control over their lives.

Call 703.682.8208 today to learn more about how our PTSD treatment services can help you heal.

Understanding PTSD

PTSD develops after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. People who suffer from PTSD have often been through an intensely stressful situation, such as sexual or physical abuse, a natural disaster, or an act of violence. These traumatic events may cause them to feel unsafe in the world and leave them with intense feelings of fear.

What Are the Most Common PTSD Triggers?

A trigger is anything—a sight, sound, smell, place, or memory—that reminds a person of the traumatic event they experienced. Common PTSD triggers include:

  • Sensory triggers, such as a particular smell or sound that brings back memories of the trauma
  • Places or events related to the trauma
  • Anniversaries of the traumatic event
  • Reminders of the person or people connected to the trauma
  • Stressful situations

When confronted with a trigger, people with PTSD may experience panic, anxiety, fear, racing heart rate, and difficulty breathing. It’s important to know that this is normal and that there are things you can do to help calm these triggers.

How Can You Calm PTSD Triggers?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to calming PTSD triggers. Finding what works for you may require some trial and error. Some of the most effective calming tools for PTSD triggers include:

  • Deep breathing activities – Box breathing, an exercise that involves breathing in deeply for four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, and then exhaling for four seconds, is a great way to calm the body and focus the mind.
  • Mindfulness – Mindfulness can help you stay in the present moment rather than ruminating about the past. Mindfulness activities, such as guided meditation and body scans, can help ground you in the moment and reduce feelings of anxiety or fear.
  • Positive self-talk – Self-compassionate, positive affirmations can help reduce the intensity of emotions and bring relief from distress. Saying a few positive statements to yourself can help change your perspective and manage the symptoms of PTSD.
  • Physical exercise – Exercise releases endorphins, which help reduce stress and improve your mood. Taking a walk or engaging in some light physical activity can help release tension and help you focus on the present.

One of the best ways to find out what works for you is to speak with a therapist or counselor who can help guide you on your journey. PTSD treatment typically includes one-on-one sessions, group therapy, and family therapy. Discovering your own unique tools to calm PTSD triggers can be a powerful part of the healing process, and learning from the perspectives of others can help you create the best plan for your own journey toward recovery.

Call Columbia Associates Today for PTSD Treatment

At Columbia Associates, our goal is to help patients break free from the distress caused by their PTSD and reclaim control over their lives. Call 703.682.8208 or reach out to our team online to get started.