Coping with Triggering News

Coping in Advance

If you know you are going to be watching the news and it may be triggering for you you can prepare in advance. I like to do this for all sorts of situations like when I am going somewhere new.

  1. Show up a few minutes early and get situated with your snack or beverage.
  2. Have an exit plan. Plan to turn off the TV, change the channel, leave the room, or step outside if you start to feel like things are getting intense.
  3. Know what skills you may need to use in this situation. Example, I always use deep breathing and slowing down, grounding myself, and compassionate self talk through the situation.
  4. Practice the skills often even in situation where you don’t need them so they become second nature.
  5. Reward yourself and do something kind for yourself afterwards

Another way to deal with triggering news is to change the modality by which you consume the information. Sometimes it can be easier on me to read the news in text form rather than watching it and seeing the images on the tv.

Coping During the Triggering News

This is where you would use the skills you planned on and practiced earlier. Examples would be practicing deep breathing when you feel things getting intense.

A simple breathing technique I use is taking a 1 deep breathe in, hold it for a count of 2(slow), and then exhale counting to 3, now do it again and slow it down, 1 big breathe in, hold 1…2…, out 1…2…3.

I do not always have advance notice of some that could be triggering. Many times I am just dealing with another trigger, sometimes more intense than the others. To cope with that I have my grounding techniques ready by practicing them a lot when I don’t need them. I remember to use them faster and faster all the time. I have also gained a lot of self awareness through my meditation practice and can watch thoughts and experience feelings come and go without reacting to them. I’m choosing more than I am just having to scramble. This is a big improvement from when I started this blog.

Coping After the Triggering News

I can be upset for hours or days after certain triggers. Some don’t even seem to bother me as much until later like some weird delayed reaction. In order to help myself after the news or some triggering thing I may have read or watched I practice self soothing techniques and grounding.

My favorite grounding technique right now it a short paragraph I say to myself while also practicing physical grounding like my feet on the floor or standing on one leg(sounds silly but it works!)

I say:

My name is Sarah.

I am safe right now.

I am in the present, not the past.

I am in NY State.

It is the year 2021.

I hope this can information can be useful to someone else like it is for me. I’m leaving it here as a reminder to my future self. My focus now is practicing what I need to do to help myself have a better life.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this Sarah. I have read it three times so that I can remember your coping techniques. I wish I knew how you thought of this method, but that really doesn’t matter. I’m going to try it. Thank you Sarah.

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    1. Thank you, B! It was pretty much trial and error and a lot of practice. I learned coping techniques over the past several years and this is what I ended up with. If you look up DBT a lot of what I do can be found there.

      Like

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