Trying to not be re-traumatized or triggered into feeling unpleasant emotions is perilous. Who wants to be reminded of a painful past, to be triggered to feel rubbish about themselves, or to be in pain? How nice it would be if one lived as one had never been hurt, forgetting that one had been traumatized, or not being traumatized at all.
I have written a book about these experience (past trauma) and I frequently orate about it too and I experience little to no trauma or triggering when I do. Instead, I am inspired, strengthened and encouraged. For a while I was puzzled as to why I was not re-traumatized or triggered in these settings, while I am when I revisit my past outside of them. Then it dawned me. It’s the context in which you revisit the past, speak about it and write about it, along with your reasons for doing so, and the preparations you make before doing it that determines and or as a significant effect on being triggered, re-traumatized or not
Consciously constantly trying to prevent yourself from being re-traumatized can be a challenge. It might not be possible to prevent it 100%, but a achieving a high fraction or percentage is acceptable. Perfection (100%) is not necessary for this task. It is impossible to control every stimulus in our surroundings. However, there are measures we can take to make the journey ahead easier.
Here are some ways to avoid being re-traumatized or triggered:
- Be counseled by professionals or experts in the subject matter via counselor, therapist, podcast, journals, books, blogs, videos, etc.
- Avoid those who inflicted your pain on you or dwelling on them without reason.
- Renew your mind: develop a mindset that is conducive to healing.
- Meditate and contemplate on words of affirmation and Biblical Scriptures.
- Cut and Replace: when something negative comes to mind, cut it out and replace it with something positive.
- Avoid suppressing emotions, whether bad or good; allow yourself to feel, mourn, work through the emotions and express yourself.
- Manage emotions: be happy and don’t pretend that all is well when it’s not; be angry but do not harm another or yourself. Feel the emotion, but do not become it nor act on it negatively.
- Avoid traumatizing another i.e. do not abuse because you were abused, fear being abused, or punish someone for another’s sins.
- Acknowledge that you are not where you were or who you were. You are outside of the situation, you are a different person. Congratulate yourself.
- Avoid people and situations that mirror or bear similarities to those involved in past trauma.
- Avoid movies and songs that are overly violent – especially towards your sex – or that contain similarities to the traumas you experienced.
- As much as it is humanly possible, avoid speaking about past trauma excessively, or without reason.
- Celebrate yourself. Treat yourself well.