- It is normal to feel a range of emotions, including sadness, fear, and helplessness, after a traumatic event.
- The first step in coping with being triggered is to acknowledge and validate your emotions.
- Grounding techniques can be helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed or dissociated.
In the wake of the devastating earthquakes that recently hit Turkey and Syria, it is normal to feel a range of emotions, including sadness, fear, and helplessness. These feelings can be further compounded if you have experienced trauma or loss in your own life. The term "triggered" is often used to describe the way in which current events can reactivate past traumatic experiences. If you are feeling triggered by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, it is crucial to take care of yourself and seek support. In this post, we will discuss some strategies for coping with these difficult emotions.
- Validate Your Emotions. The first step in coping with being triggered is to acknowledge and validate your emotions. It is normal to feel a range of intense emotions in response to a traumatic event, and it is important to allow yourself to feel these emotions. Remember that your feelings are valid, even if they seem overwhelming or irrational. Rather than pushing your emotions away, try to be compassionate with yourself and acknowledge the difficult time you are going through.
- Limit Exposure to Media. While it is good to stay informed about what is happening in the world, it is also important to take breaks from the news if it is triggering you. Constant exposure to images and stories of the earthquake can cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Try to limit your exposure to news coverage and social media and instead focus on engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
- Connect With Support. One of the most important things you can do when feeling triggered is to connect with others. Talk to friends, family members, or a therapist about what you are feeling. You might also consider joining a support group for individuals who have experienced trauma. These groups can be a valuable source of validation and support and can provide a safe space to share your feelings.
- Practice Self-Care. Self-care is an essential part of coping with difficult emotions. Make sure to prioritize your physical and emotional needs during this time. This might include engaging in regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and eating a balanced diet. It is also important to engage in activities that bring you pleasure and help you relax, such as reading a book, taking a bath, or spending time in nature.
- Challenge Negative Thoughts. When feeling triggered, it is common to experience negative thoughts and beliefs. These might include thoughts like "I am not safe" or "I am powerless." Try to challenge these thoughts by looking for evidence to the contrary. For example, you might remind yourself that you have survived difficult situations in the past or that you have people in your life who care about you. By challenging negative thoughts, you can start to shift your perspective and feel more empowered.
- Practice Grounding Techniques. Grounding techniques can be helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed or dissociated. These tchniques can help you to stay present in the moment and feel more connected to your body. Some grounding techniques include focusing on your breath, using your senses to describe your surroundings, or engaging in physical activity like stretching or walking.
- Seek Professional Help if Needed. If you are feeling overwhelmed or struggling to cope, it is important to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide you with tools and strategies to manage your emotions and cope with your triggers. They can also provide a safe and non-judgmental space for you to process your feelings. You can find a therapist near you on Psychology Today's Therapist Directory.
Feeling triggered by traumatic events like the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria is normal, and it is important to take care of yourself during this time. By validating your emotions, limiting exposure to media, connecting with support, practicing self-care, challenging negative thoughts, practicing grounding techniques, and seeking professional help if needed, you can start to cope with your triggers and find a sense of greater peace and resilience.