Mental health triggers can be a tough thing to deal with. They can happen at the absolute worst times, and sometimes, they’re completely unexpected. While not always possible, avoiding triggers can be really helpful to your mental state. With Halloween coming up, a lot of triggers can be hard to avoid as everyone embraces the general spooky season. Here are some tips for avoiding those situations.

1. Know What Your Triggers Are

It’s important to know what your triggers are to learn how to avoid them. You’re not always going to know what they are before you experience them, but once you figure out or experience one, it is good to keep track of it. To keep track, try different ways to remember them. You can keep a list, make a mnemonic device, or even tell a close friend. It’s a lot easier to know how to avoid something once you know what it is. That being said, if you don’t know what your triggers are, finding out can be hard, so it’s also helpful to learn how to cope with your triggers when you can’t avoid them.

2. Learn What Helps You Cope

Coping mechanisms are an important part of any mental health recovery. Everyone’s coping mechanisms are different, so there is no “one shoe fits all” fix. It’s also important to note that not all coping mechanisms are healthy, and you need to be wary of harmful techniques, some of which can be found online. Learning what helps you cope can be a long process; however, once you learn the best mechanisms for you, it can help manage a lot of your triggers when you have to experience them. Keep a note on your phone of what your mechanisms are, and if there’s something small you can keep on you for it, carry it around with you. For example, music helps me cope, so I usually have headphones on my person at all times. However, when I forget my headphones, I have a couple other things that help me, like different breathing exercises. It’s good to have multiple options to use at your disposal. 

3. Set hard boundaries

Learning how to set hard boundaries can be difficult at the best of times and even harder when you’re having a rough time with your mental health. It takes a lot of courage and confidence to be able to firmly communicate your boundaries, especially about triggers. A lot of people do not understand how harmful triggers can be and will refuse to listen when you try to explain. Remember that just because someone does understand your boundaries does not mean that they get to disrespect them. While not always possible, if someone disrespects your boundaries, it is more than acceptable to create a boundary to keep away from them or avoid the subject with them when avoiding them is not possible. Personally, horror movies and haunted houses tend to give me panic attakcs; so when asked to attend events like these, I always give a hard no. A couple people in my life do not understand this because of their love of all things horror, but they respect that I do not enjoy it and will not join. Another good boundary to set is blocking on social media. Not only can you block accounts as much as you need, but you can also block and mute certain words in your social media settings to prevent triggering words from coming up on your timeline. This can help keep your apps from popping up triggers while you’re casually scrolling. No matter what others say, keep your hard boundaries and stay firm if pressed on them. 

These tips can help you avoid and cope with triggers as they come up in your life. Triggers can go hand and hand with mental health, and they are nothing to be ashamed of. Be aware of your triggers, find what helps, and do not be afraid to set your boundaries with others. 

Written By: Megan Allison

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