Replacing Triggers: Focusing on Anti-Anxiety Alerts Anxiety triggers are key circumstances that engage the anxiety response. Some people may find that crowds trigger their anxiety. Others may discover that deadlines, office meetings, or even certain sounds or sights can trigger their anxiety. Anything can be a trigger and everyone who suffers from anxiety is different, so their triggers differ slightly. Uncovering triggers is a great deal of the fight against anxiety. Once pinpointed, triggers become warning signals that anxiety is immanent and allow the individual to employ anti-anxiety techniques to assuage an attack.
But all triggers don’t have to be negative. Once the concept of triggers is understood and natural triggers for anxiety are established, you can learn to replace the old triggers with new, positive signals that shift the focus of the mind off the negative, anxiety inducing patterns and onto more positive, affirming patterns. Developing new triggers to phase out the old ones can be a very effective way of dealing with the issues behind the anxiety, and not just the attack itself.
The first step to creating positive triggers is to sit down and think carefully on what relaxes you. Keep a pen and paper with you to make notes and feel free to involve a loved one or partner who can help you with this process. Be sure you have ample time and a comfortable space to really get into the exercise. Think of the word relax. What images or ideas does that word stimulate in your mind? How do you see yourself in relation to that word? Are you sitting, moving, talking? Are you alone or with someone else? Who? Do you picture someplace outdoors and sunny or perhaps a cozy nook inside? Don’t screen for what you think is appropriate here, just brainstorm and make notes of anything and everything you see and imagine.
You can go through a list of words with this replacing triggers exercise. Words like happy, positive, peacefulness, calm, and serenity are good examples. Any word that can help you identify the things that work against your anxiety will do. Once you have tried several words and have a full list of ideas and images that spring to mind, you can sort through those ideas for the ones that are most likely to make practical triggers. What you’re really looking for are things that can be quickly and easily implemented throughout your day. Obviously, if you associate the beach with relaxation you cannot run off to the beach every time you desire; but you could utilize a beach photo or some other simulation to get the idea across. Narrow your list down to handful of convenient images or concepts.
Now you must insert one or more of these items into your daily routine. You can make the item a trigger itself or you can create a trigger to implement the item. For example, you could place a postcard of the beach near your computer at work. Associate this picture with a something positive like the word calm or a deep breath at home first through simple repetition (saying the word or breathing deeply while viewing the picture). Now, every time you look up and see the postcard throughout the day you will respond automatically by thinking of the word calm or taking a deep breath, both of which are beneficial in reducing stress throughout your day.
Another example of replacing triggers would be to choose a trigger already in place, such as your coffee breaks at work or every time you go to the bathroom, and place the postcard where it can be seen during that time, such as next to the coffee pot or on the bathroom mirror. Now, whenever you engage in that activity you will see the picture of the beach and be instantly reminded of calm, happy, positive associations. Again, you are exposing yourself to positive, affirming, relaxing stimuli throughout your day to reduce anxiety build up and the likelihood of an attack.
Utilizing positive self-placed triggers is a great way to make the idea of triggers work for you. In the end, it aims to switch the busy, subconscious focus of your mind from anxious, destructive patterns to calm, peaceful ones. The next time you take a sip of hot tea, enjoy the sunshine, or listen to soothing music, stop and consider if that could be part of a new trigger to fill your day with tranquil thoughts and feelings that will eventually drown out your apprehensions.
I am still struggling. Never mind positive or negative triggers, take me back to the basics, how do I identify what is a trigger?
Identifying triggers refers to the process of recognizing the specific events, situations, or stimuli that trigger an emotional or behavioral response.
- Personal triggers: Personal triggers are specific to an individual and can be related to past experiences, traumas, or stressors.
- Environmental triggers: Environmental triggers can be related to external events, such as specific people, places, or situations that evoke an emotional response.
- Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices, such as journaling, meditation, and deep breathing, can help individuals become more aware of their triggers and develop coping strategies.
- Talk therapy: Talking to a therapist can also be helpful in identifying triggers, as they can provide support and guidance in recognizing patterns and connections between past experiences and current behaviors.
Identifying triggers is an important step in managing emotions and behaviors, as it allows individuals to better understand the root cause of their reactions and develop strategies for coping and avoiding negative responses.
STILL STRUGGLING WITH HOW TO REPLACE YOUR EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS? IF SO YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO SELF SCHEDULE AN ONLINE OR AN INPERSON THERAPY SESSION. WE ARE REAL THERAPISTS THAT OFFER IN PERSON AND VIRTUAL COUNSELING SESSIONS IN PHILADELPHIA, OCEAN CITY, MECHANICSVILLE
If you prefer to speak to a live therapist, call our intake department at 215 - 922 - 5683 x 100 or go to a therapist's biography page and call the therapist of your choice directly. Every therapist has their phone number listed on their bio page.
OUR GUARANTEE: you deserve the best therapist possible. If you don't feel like the therapist that you met with was the right fit, then free of charge you can try out a different therapist. Being in a group practices allows for flexibility.
The Center for Growth Has Therapy Offices in PA, NJ, VA, GA, NM, FL
- Ocean City Therapy Office
360 West Ave, Floor 1, Ocean City, NJ 08226
- Mechanicsville Therapy Office
9044 Mann Drive, Mechanicsville Virginia, 23116
- Society Hill Therapy Office
233 S. 6th Street, C-33, Philadelphia PA 19106
- Art Museum / Fairmount Therapy Office
2401 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 1a2, Philadelphia PA 19130
- Santa Fe Therapy Office, 2204 B Brothers Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87505
- Telemedicine: We have therapists who are licensed to work in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Virginia New Mexico and Pennsylvania
I know you offer really good services, but even talking about my problem is a trigger. Then what?
If talking about a particular problem is a trigger for you, it can be helpful to find alternative ways to process and cope with your emotions. Here are some strategies you can consider:
Writing it down: Keeping a journal or writing down your thoughts can be a way to process emotions related to a trigger topic, without having to speak about it directly.
Engage in physical activity: Engaging in physical activities, such as exercise, yoga, or dance, can help release built-up emotions and provide a release from stress.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation, can help you become more present in the moment and reduce stress and anxiety.
Art Therapy: Art therapy can help a person express their feelings without needing to use language. The art speaks for itself and is a way to express yourself without words.
Connect with supportive individuals: Connecting with supportive individuals, such as friends, family, or support groups, can provide you with a sense of community and a safe space to talk about your feelings.
Seek professional help: If you are struggling to manage your emotions or are feeling overwhelmed, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor who can provide support and guidance in finding coping strategies that work for you.
Remember, everyone has different coping strategies that work best for them, and it may take some time to find the right combination of techniques to manage your triggers.
Counseling & Therapy Services
1) Individual Counseling Services
3) Art Therapy, Children, Teens, Adults and Couples Can Benefit
4) Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling
6) Support Groups & Therapeutic Groups. Our groups are InPerson and Virtual. Please look at the calendar to determine which is which.
Listed Below Are Some Of The Therapeutic Services That Therapists At TCFG Works With: The list is more extensive than what is listed her, but should give you an idea ADHD / ADD, Dyslexia, Autism, and Tourettes. Anxiety, OCD, Panic Therapy Service, Anger Management Therapy, Babyloss Therapy / Pregnancy Loss, Depression Therapy Services, Eating Disorders Treatment, Grief & Loss Therapy Services, Personality Issues (Narcissism, Borderline...), Shame Therapy Services Sexual Compulsions, Porn and Internet Dependence Sex Therapy: Sexual Function & Dysfunction Treatment, Trauma, which can be physical, sexual and emotional in nature and Marriage Therapy and Couples Counseling.