Triggers are external events or circumstances that may produce very uncomfortable emotional or psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, panic, discouragement, despair, or negative self-talk. This section of your plan is meant to help you become more aware of your triggers and to develop plans to avoid or deal with them.

Identifying Triggers

Write down things that, if they occur, might cause an increase in your symptoms. Choose those that are more possible or sure to occur, or which may already be occurring in your life. Here are some examples:

  • anniversary dates of losses or trauma
  • frightening news events
  • too much to do, feeling overwhelmed
  • family friction
  • the end of a relationship
  • spending too much time alone
  • aggressive-sounding noises or exposure to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • being around someone who has treated you badly
  • certain smells, tastes, or noises

Triggers Action Plan

Develop a plan of what you can do to comfort yourself and keep your reactions from becoming more serious symptoms. Include tools that have worked for you in the past, plus ideas you have learned from others. Here are some examples:

  • make sure I do everything on my daily maintenance list
  • call a support person and ask them to listen while I talk through the situation
  • do a half-hour relaxation exercise
  • write in my journal for at least half an hour
  • pray
  • work on a fun activity for 1 hour

If you do these things and find them helpful, keep them on your list. You can learn new tools by attending workshops and lectures, reading self-help books, and talking to your health care provider and other people who experience similar symptoms.


Quick References

For benefit information, call the number on the back of your insurance card.

Autism Helpline

General Inquiries

Substance Use Hotline

Find a Provider