According to dictionary.com, "A trigger warning is a statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc. alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material."
Inexhaustible examples of warnings:
The term "trigger" is commonly used outside of context.
While the term can be phrased to address medical conditions such as epilepsy, it's also used int psychological contexts to denote a stimulus which activates unprocessed trauma. What it doesn't replace are more appropriate terms for everyday stressors such as upsetting, frustrating, overwhelming, etc.
Less becoming is the more immaturely flippant insult, "TRIGGERED!" This conflates someone's behavior and approach with a serious medical condition.
What are triggers?
To delineate the term further, the trigger can be any stimulus in the environment or internally which activates the amygdala while sending the body into a sympathetic nervous response by overloading the body with stress hormones, eliciting a neural connectivity in the brain, etc. This can lead to fatigue, physical pain, hypervigilance, etc.
What are triggers?
To delineate the term further, a trigger can be any stimulus in the internal or external environment that rapidly sends the sympathetic nervous system into activation by pressuring the body with stress hormones and leveraging the neural networking of the brain into a particular response. When this occurs in the PTSD-brain and body, that response becomes overwhelmingly loaded with unprocessed memories, intrusive images, physical pain, and other intense responses which may lead to a medical emergency.
Examples of triggers:
How do you respond to triggers?
First, you shouldn't be required to identify your triggers to anybody outside of a trusted medical team. It's nobody else's business, as those triggers can be easily manipulated by someone else who has something to gain by another person's misery. Triggers are medical and therefore protected by HIPAA under U.S. Federal Law and should never be questioned by professionals.
Second, identify those personal triggers.
Third, you might not be able realistically remove triggers from your environment, but what you can do outside of therapy is to build a routine around how you can process through an episode. That routine should be identified as something that will help activate your "thinking brain" or the state by which your working your neural activity back into a regulated, cognitive state. Examples may include: meditation, exercise, journaling, relaxing, or going through a pre-built maintenance list which can be beneficial to anybody. I like to refer to my hotspots and worries, personally.
Lastly, practice exercising that self-advocacy muscle. Use a pocket phrase in the moment that allows you to step away to do your work.