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The WRAP Plan: Triggers

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP plan) is a series of actions one can take to improve their ability to manage symptoms and experiences of almost any illness. In the previous articles, we have discussed the first two steps of the WRAP plan; developing a wellness toolbox and a daily maintenance plan. In the third part of the action plan we will deal with triggers. Triggers are environmental or internal stimuli that set us down the wrong path. Triggers can make us angry, depressed, agitated and/or anxious. Triggers derail us. They take us away from where we need to be by disrupting our psychological and physiological balance. Without balance, we become lost. Thus, by recognizing and addressing triggers in our lives, we will be that much more prepared the next time the maelstrom comes.

Recognizing triggers

The first part of the ‘Triggers’ part of the WRAP plan asks a simple (or complicated, depending on the individual) question. What triggers you? Are your triggers the same as mine? Maybe, but with all the variable personalities in the world, there is a good chance that your triggers are your own. We may be triggered by the same type of events, but our internal experience to this event may be entirely different. Recognizing your triggers is the first step in preparation to dealing with them. The inevitable next question is: What can I do about these triggers? Well, this is tricky isn’t it? What can YOU do about the triggers? Once you recognize what triggers you, hopefully you can find ways to cope with them (positive affirmations, mantras, medication, meditation, therapy, group work) or any number of things in the toolbox we’ve already developed. It is important that you find what works for you and not necessarily what works for someone else. This is all very individualized.

So what if you are having difficulty managing the triggers because they are just too strong? What if you just can’t wrap your mind around the difficulty of the trigger and are having a hard time finding a way to cope with them? The next section of the Triggers section is how to avoid triggers. While avoidance doesn’t, at first glance, appear to be a healthy way to deal with something, sometimes we have no choice. How can we avoid these things that trigger us? It may take a complete re-arrangement of your daily schedule, people you spend time with, schedule and employment. It might be very hard. You have to weigh the cost/benefit of the thing. If you decide that the job, relationship or behavior is necessary to your wellbeing, then you must find a way to manage and counteract the trigger.

Dealing with triggers

The last part of the Triggers section of the WRAP plan is: What can I do about triggers, once they occur, to keep them from getting worse? This is basically reinforcement of the idea that you need to have a plan in place to deal with the triggers. You try to manage them the best you can once they arise, then you might possibly have to accept avoidance as a tactic. The final aspect refers to what you might do once you are triggered? How can you settle? What will bring you back to equilibrium and stability? These are all very important questions to ask one’s self in order to maintain wellness and be as strong as you can be. Because we need all of our senses and strength to deal with the many problems that illness causes. This is a very efficient guideline to help with our struggle.

We will get into the next section of the WRAP plan very soon. It deals with Early Warning Signs. Signs that things might have gotten beyond your control and that you might need additional support and help to sort things out.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.