Coping with PTSD Triggers at Holiday Gatherings

Unfortunately, you never know when you may need to deal with PTSD triggers in a social setting. While you may know when triggers are likely to occur, there's no way to anticipate or avoid all of them. When they occur in a social setting you'll need different coping strategies, especially if it isn't practical to leave the group setting behind.

Ways to Cope with PTSD Triggers in Social Settings

It's important to be able to cope with PTSD triggers in social situations. Here are some ways to cope when you can't leave the situation behind:

Count or Label Something

Counting anything will bring your thoughts back to something concrete and force the rational part of your brain to take over. Labeling works in much the same way, forcing your brain out of panic mode.

Use Your Phone

Install a calming app on your phone so you have something to quietly focus on. You can easily find apps for relaxation, meditation, coloring, and even journaling.

Engage in Self-Talk

Tell yourself that you're responding to a PTSD trigger. Talk to yourself about what happened, why you're feeling the way you are, and the way you choose to feel instead. Focus on how you choose to feel and why you don't need to feel anxious.

Make a Plan

Set some goals regarding what you want to accomplish in your current setting. Once you have a goal, focus on completing it instead of focusing on the anxiety itself.