Struggling with PTSD triggers and don't know where to turn?
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This video will help you gain control over your triggers, by showing you:
Check it out, and let me know what you think in the comments!
To your recovery,
Kayleen & the team at OvercomingPTSD.com
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0:01 Hey, everybody! Brad Schipke here and today, I'm going to be talking to you about three ways to manage PTSD triggers. Now, why is learning how to manage your triggers important? Well, it's something that actually a lot of people don't do, or don't even know how to do, or don't even know where to start. But it's really important, because if you don't know how to manage your triggers correctly, it's going to make it very, very hard--if not impossible--to heal without it. Because you won't be giving yourself space to heal; you'll always be in this constantly triggered space again, and again, and again, and again. And that's something that I call a 'doom loop'. But really, it's just a negative feedback loop where you just keep putting yourself in front of all these destructive and harmful situations and scenarios that just drag you down, and really make recovery very, very hard.
0:57 And if you're somebody who's trying and striving to get better, but you're constantly being triggered, I mean, that means you're just going to be taking one step forward, two steps back, every single day. And that's a pretty hopeless place to be. So learning how to manage your triggers correctly is an essential step to recovery. It's not healing itself, but it helps you gain that momentum over time, so you can actually give yourself the space to work on healing.
1:25 Now, the first thing I want to cover about triggers is that there are two different types of triggers. There are internal triggers and there are external triggers. The external triggers are pretty much what everybody talks about. And the internal ones are harder to become aware of. Now the internal triggers are thoughts, right? Thoughts and beliefs that trigger more thoughts and beliefs. So it's kind of this negative feedback loop in your mind. So something that you think can trigger another thought, can trigger another thought, and trigger another thought, until you're just in this super-negative mind space, or you're just reliving the trauma in your mind again, and again, and again, and again. And it kind of just feeds off of itself.
2:11 An external trigger, on the other hand, is what everybody kind of thinks about. So it's like, you know, loud noises, or, you know, maybe somebody says something to you, that triggers you, or it could be even a smell, it could be a certain place, it could be a certain time of year--you know, anniversaries of the trauma--all of those things are triggers. And really, what a trigger is, is a reminder, externally or internally, of the trauma which starts a massive cascade of emotions and feelings, and usually, the re-experiencing of a trauma.
2:49 So if you've seen my last video on the five signs of PTSD, the first sign of PTSD is that you're re-experiencing the traumatic event. And what trigger... when you're triggered, what happens is that it triggers your your re-experiencing of that traumatic event. So those are the two types of triggers: internal and external. It's important to be aware of them, because a lot of people are not...I mean, a lot of people aren't aware of any of their triggers. But most people are not aware of the internal triggers that they're going through.
3:19 Now, let's talk about the first the first way, the first step to regaining control over your triggers, which is reclaiming your minds. Now, what do I mean by reclaiming your minds? Well, this is all about... this first step is all about reclaiming control over your mental state and over the internal triggers. Because even if it's an external trigger, every single external trigger has an internal aspect to it, like you cannot be triggered... I mean, there are people who are triggered externally and only feel it in their body. But I would say 99% to 100% of the time, there's always a mental aspect to the external trigger. And a lot of times you're not even aware of it.
4:16 So the first step in reclaiming your mind is, first of all, accepting that you are triggered when you are triggered, and not fighting the trigger itself. So, let's say you find yourself in a situation where you're triggered, right? So first of all, you have to become aware that you've been triggered, which is pretty easy to do. But again, it takes some time and some effort to actually become aware when you're first starting to get triggered. So you have to start building that awareness of the trigger, of when you're being triggered first.
4:46 But secondly, you want to accept that you're being triggered, and even... you can even say, in your mind, "Hey, I am triggered right now." And you want to accept it and not fight the trigger. Because whatever you fight mentally, grows. Whatever you try to avoid and physically push away in your mind starts to grow. And there have been a lot of studies on this. And I'm sure you've heard this kind of example before. If I tell you to not think of a purple monkey, what are you going to think about? You're going to think about a purple monkey.
5:21 So, the things that you try not to think about actually grow stronger. So, even though it's kind of counterintuitive to accept, like, "Hey, I just accept that I'm having a trigger right now. And that's okay." And that might be a counterintuitive thing to do, you might be like, well, if I'm having a trigger, I want to stop it, I want to like suppress it, I want to push it away, because I don't want to feel like this. But that's the wrong thing to do. And that's the mistake that a lot of people do. And that ends up just feeding the trigger even more.
5:46 So the first thing is that you want to accept it. Once you accept it, you want to make sure that you get yourself into a safe space, because if you're in that same environment where you're getting triggered, it's going to be almost impossible to reclaim control of your mind. Because you're just going to be triggered, and triggered, and triggered, and triggered, and then things are just gonna spiral out of control. So you want to accept it. And then you want to get yourself into a safe environment, which usually just means leaving the situation.
6:12 Now, the third thing you want to do, once you get out of that situation, is tell yourself that things are different, right? So, bring yourself into the present moment. Have yourself see your surroundings and be like, "I am not in that situation anymore. That is not what my current reality is." And you literally want to say those things, be present, and try to get yourself into the present moment. And this is where grounding tools come in. And I'll talk a little bit about those in the second step here, but you want to tell yourself that things are different, I'm not in the situation that I was.
6:43 And then the fourth step here is to start shifting those negative thoughts and those spirals to more positive thoughts. So, it's an easy thing that you can always do in any situation, regardless of what where you are in life. And I can say this, because of a man named Viktor Frankl, who was a Holocaust survivor. And in the Holocaust himself, he was able to find positivity in the Holocaust. And I always say, if he can find something positive about being in the Holocaust, I can find something positive in my own life right now. So that is that is something that I always say to myself. But that last part is that you want to find a positive... you want to shift your mind to something positive, and usually something that you're grateful for.
7:28 So it's always about finding the silver lining. And that can be hard to do in the beginning, especially if you've been building all these negative patterns. But it's so important to do it, especially--especially--if it's uncomfortable to do. And really that's something that you kind of almost need to force. Because if you are in that negative space, and you have a negative mindset that you've been building for years or decades, it's going to be uncomfortable to go to that positive spot, to find the silver lining in that negative situation.
7:57 So, you might have to force yourself, and actually, a lot of people do. A lot of our clients find that it's actually uncomfortable to find the positive, because they've been in such a negative space. But they also have found, after they've repeated the positive thoughts in their mind, and visualized it and supported it with references, and found other reasons to be positive, that they started to feel better. And then after they did it enough times, the positive thoughts started to come up automatically. So don't just ignore this simple tool of changing the negative to the positive, because it is so incredibly powerful. It is so simple. It's powerful in it's simplicity. And a lot of people overlook things that are that are simple, because they think that they're not effective, but they're almost more effective, I would actually say they are more effective. Because if if I give you this really complex thing to do, you're never going to do it. But I try to tell you take the negative, swap it for the positive or just invert it to the positive: that's a really easy thing to memorize, and then to implement.
8:58 So those are the things you want to accept... again, you want to accept that you've been triggered, you do not want to fight the trigger. It is like quicksand, if you fight it. You want to get to a safe space. You want to tell yourself that things are different. And then you want to shift those negative thoughts to positive thoughts. And that's how you reclaim your mind from the trigger in the internal aspect.
9:19 Now let's jump to the second one. And the second one is a really good one if I do say so myself. And we have a bunch of great resources for this. And the second one is: relief tools. So, if you have PTSD, what you need to be doing, if you have not already, is building yourself a recovery toolbox. And a recovery toolbox is just this thing we call... You want to learn and memorize a bunch of different relief tools, so you can use them when you need it most when you're triggered. So you can get relief on demand. And most people, they don't really have these coping skills, they don't really know, you know, first of all, how to reclaim their mind, but then they don't know how to actually calm themselves down with proven tools. And if you are looking... if you don't really have anything in your toolbox right now; you don't have any skills, you don't have any relief tools like this, I want you to check out this free training I did. It's uploaded to YouTube, it's absolutely absolutely free. I went for over an hour live with a bunch of people, and I went through the top five or six tools to help you get relief quickly. And these things... like, some of these things work like magic.
10:37 So if you want to, check out that. If you want to start building recovery toolbox, I'll put a link in the description below to that YouTube video where you can go check that out. And if you were one of my coaching clients, and you were paying me thousands of dollars, what I would tell you to do, the first thing I would tell you to do, is to build a dang recovery toolbox! So you can get relief on demand no matter where you are. Because like I said in the beginning, if you are constantly getting triggered and you cannot get yourself calm; if you can't get into a calm state, then you're not gonna heal. Like, you're not going to be able to give yourself enough space to actually go and do the activities you need to do to heal, because you're always going to be in a triggered, scared, terrified, anxious state; and someone in that state cannot heal. I've tried, I've tried to, man. You just cannot do it; you might, or maybe it's like, I don't know, going 1000 times slower than it could be, which 1000 times slower might be a lifetime. So pretty much impossible.
11:38 So, make sure you get that recovery toolbox. Like I said, if you were coaching with me and paying me thousands of dollars, what I would tell you to do is watch this video right here. So make sure you take the time to watch the video. It's an hour long, but oh my gosh, by the end of it, you are going to be totally different if you actually watch it. And if you actually implement it, and not everybody does that. So that's the second one right there, is that you want to have that recovery toolbox, so you can get relief physically on demand. And I gave you a resource for that.
12:06 And then this last one is another thing that most people don't do. And it's actually the reason why so many people are stuck in that constant negative cycle, in that what I call 'doom'. And this third step here is identify and eliminate. Okay, so this third step here is identify and eliminate the trigger. So like I said before, most people don't reflect back on their triggers to learn a lesson, so they keep repeating the same patterns over, and over, and over, and over, for an entire lifetime. So what you want to do after you've been triggered, after you've reclaimed control of your mind and you've calmed yourself down with with with relief tools, you want to reflect on that situation. And you want to identify what triggered you in the first place. Because if you don't identify what triggered you in the first place, you're just going to keep repeating that same pattern. You're going to keep putting yourself in that situation. You're going to keep going into these same situations without a game plan, moving forward, to help yourself in the future.
13:15 So this is really an essential step. And it's a very simple step. It doesn't take long, you just need to take a few minutes literally and be like okay, what triggered me? I went... I was totally out of control. My emotions were out of control, I was totally triggered, I was terrified. My anxiety was like flying off the handles. Or, I had a panic attack. I had a flashback. What started that? What was the thing that triggered me? And then once you identify that, you have two options. Okay, you can either eliminate it... you can find a way to eliminate it.
13:49 So for example, if, let's say you play you really like video games, and you like to play a lot of fortnight, right, but Fortnight just gets you really amped up. It ends up triggering you, especially when you lose. So what you can do there is you can eliminate Fortnight; as hard as that would be for you, you can eliminate that video game. Or if it's scary movies or crime dramas on TV, or even a negative person, you can eliminate those certain things from your life. And it doesn't mean that you need to, like, bar yourself off from the whole world until you're recovered; but you want to protect yourself, you know?
14:28 Like I said before, if you are constantly in the state of getting triggered, and triggered ,and triggered, and triggered, and triggered, you're not going to heal. So it's not about isolating yourself from everything; it's about getting yourself into a safe space so you can actually heal. And there are a lot of things that you can eliminate just right off the bat.
14:43 Now the second thing that you can do is create a game plan for the next time. So, if you can't eliminate it... if you can't get rid of it, or you just don't want to get rid of it (which is perfectly okay), like you don't want to get rid of your your marriage or your kids you know, but sometimes things that they do could possibly trigger you. And when you come up with a trigger like that, you want to come up with a game plan. Right?
15:09 So you want to think, "How can I reduce the effect of this in the future--or if it is a person, you can be like I can I have a conversation with with this person to actually eliminate this? So that that would still actually be eliminating the trigger. But if you don't have a game plan, if you're not learning from your mistakes, you're just gonna be caught in this cycle again, and again, and again, and again, and you're not going to be able to heal.
15:33 Now, one exercise that can help you... and you might want to keep a journal on this too, because this can help you long term with triggers. So, I want you to take out a notebook, or I want you to take out a journal or something like that. Again, this is a super simple extra exercise. Keep it so, so simple. This identify and eliminate gameplan thing can take like, three minutes; but it will absolutely transform your life, if you just take the time to reflect on the past; on your past mistakes... I don't know if they're mistakes, and then learn from them. And it's important that you learn from them, that you learn and you don't dwell on them, right.
16:10 So you're not going into the past to reflect and beat yourself up, or tell yourself how badly you performed or, you know, how embarrassed you were, or any of those things. That's not the purpose of this at all. The purpose of this is to learn, and if you can learn, then you sre honestly crushing it, and you're gonna, you're doing an amazing job learning and moving forward. If you keep learning and moving forward enough times, you will fully recover. So don't dwell; learn from the past.
16:37 And what I want you to do, like I was saying, I want you to take out a journal, or a worksheet, or a notepad. And I want you to draw a line down the middle; make two columns. On the left hand side, keep track of all your triggers. On the right hand side, write down how you can eliminate it, or your game plan for handling it in the future. And if you do this, I'm telling you--this is this is what we tell our clients--we want you to keep track of these things and then write it down. Even if you just... even if you never look at again, you just write it down and it's going to ingrain it in your mind that much further. So you're going to be that much more prepared. So that's that last thing I want you to do.
17:11 And the other thing I wanted to say about this is if you're ever getting triggered from the analysis or from the reflecting, make sure you don't like... the whole purpose... again, it's not to retrigger you. But if it's if it's too difficult, stop! Like, we're not here to hurt you. We're not here to put you in a dangerous situation, or anything like that. So, before you even start this situation, make sure you go watch that video that I made you on YouTube, and learn those relief tools. So if even a little... I mean, it's it's normal to think about a triggering situation and just get a little anxious, so you want to have those tools anyways. I'm not saying, like, you're going to get triggered; but for some people it could happen. You know, for most people it's not that big of a deal but for there ares some people whom it does actually hurt; and that's I mean. We don't... we do not want to put you in a dangerous situation. If you are getting triggered from this, these first two steps are a good enough gameplan for you; you can just have a broad game plan for any situation.
18:14 So again, I know I threw a lot at you, but what I did is I broke down these three steps and I made an outline for you; and I put it in the description of the video again, so you can get a quick summary and a quick overview of everything that we covered here today. So you don't have to go back and remember it and everything. So you can just go in the description below right now where you'll also find the video link for this.
18:38 But otherwise, I hope that this really, really helped you. I hope this helps you eliminate triggers and manage triggers so much better, because that is a huge step! That is one of the first steps in healing, is getting yourself into a safe space. And if you're not in a safe space where you can heal, it's gonna be very, very hard to recover and, and reach full recovery.
18:56 So yeah, again, check out the description below. And if you liked this video, give me a little thumbs up--please--and leave a comment below with what you thought about this and what you'd like me to cover in the future. And also make sure to subscribe because I release a video like this every week, and my girlfriend Kayleen releases a video, and we also do a podcast every week as well. So, make sure to hit that subscribe button and the little bell dinger right next to it, so you get notified for when we go... not go live next, but when we make our next video.
19:27 So again, I hope you enjoyed this! Thank you guys so much for showing up. I believe in you guys. I know you guys can do this. You can fully recover. I don't care what anybody else says. I get trash talk on the internet all the time for saying that, but i don't care ;because I know it's possible, and I know you can do it.
19:40 And I mean, if you want to follow somebody who's going to tell you it's impossible, go right ahead--you can unsubscribe; but if you want somebody who believes in you and knows that you can do it, make sure to hit that subscribe button, because I will always believe in you. I hope you guys have a great day.