4 Kinds of Trauma Triggers and How to Overcome Them


Trauma triggers can be terrifying and consuming, even when they appear to come out of nowhere. 

For people who have experienced trauma, triggers are anything that reminds them of a past trauma — which could include a certain smell, a particular song or sound, or a piece of clothing. Sometimes these triggers come out of nowhere, and sometimes they’re triggered by external reminders.

In this guide, we’ll shed some light on different kinds of trauma triggers to help you identify and overcome them.

1) Sights 

Sights are one of the most common trauma triggers. When you see something that reminds you of a traumatic event, it triggers the same reaction that you had while you were actually experiencing the trauma.

For example, let’s say that you were robbed in a public place. If you saw a similar scene later on, you might feel the same fear and panic that you felt during your own experience.

How to Overcome This:

It’s important to be prepared for this. Keep track of what reminds you of the trauma and what triggers you. This way, you’ll be more able to prepare yourself to face the trigger when it happens.

2) Sounds 

Similar to sights, hearing sounds that remind you of the trauma can trigger a panic response. For example, if you heard a voice that sounded like the voice of the abuser from your childhood, you might feel intense fear.

The sounds of a car crash or the sound of a gun might also trigger similar responses.

How to Overcome This:

In addition to keeping track of the sights that trigger your trauma, make a list of sounds that trigger you. You may be surprised what sounds could trigger repressed trauma. For instance, a song or even a whistle could do the trick.

3) Smells

A smell can trigger any number of emotions and sensations in your body, including fear and panic. If a smell reminds you of a traumatic event, you might feel afraid, anxious, or nauseous.

How to Overcome This:

Take the time to identify the smells that trigger your fear. Be aware of the odors that are associated with places where you’ve experienced trauma. Once you recognise these smells, you’ll be able to prepare yourself to face them.

4) Feelings and Emotions

Feelings and emotions are a big trigger for some people. This is because the emotions of a traumatic experience are deep and intense. If you felt intense fear during a traumatic experience or felt really happy during an experience, those emotions can be connected to a memory of the event.

This can mean that seeing an image of someone who looks like the abuser from your past, or being in a situation where you feel happy and calm, could trigger emotions and feelings that remind you of the trauma.

How to Overcome This:

In this case, the best way to overcome trauma triggers is to learn how to regulate your emotions. By learning how to calm yourself, you can regain control over your emotions.


Trauma triggers can be incredibly scary and debilitating. They can also come out of nowhere, so it’s helpful to know what they are and how to cope with them. 

Learn more about how to cope with trauma with the help of Chettiar Counselling & Associates. We offer counselling in Guelph to guide you through the healing process. Get in touch with us today to learn more.