The Coping Kete

Monthly Archives: March 2011

You are browsing the site archives by month.

No 39: Tuning into Grey-Scale Thinking

This week, in order to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will practice choosing to see all the shades of grey in each situation, rather than focusing on the black and white. This week I give up on absolutes.

I will catch thoughts that contain words like ‘always’ or ‘never’ or ‘should’ or ‘have to’ and replace them with words like ‘sometimes’, ‘could’ or ‘might’.  I will consider alternative ways of viewing things and leave room for the possibility that one of the more positive perspectives could be true.

I will allow the good to exist side-by-side with the bad, without letting one cancel the other out.

Once I am comfortable thinking about everyday situations in greyscale terms, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of soothing intense emotional responses to unwanted situations.

No. 38: Giving Up On Getting It Right

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will give up on trying to get things right. Instead of being concerned with getting the right answer, saying the right thing, doing it right and looking right I will be as open as possible, I will be willing to not get the right answer, to go through the process, rather than jumping ahead to the future.

By remaining concerned with ‘being right’, the mind produces excess tensions in the body.

When I make the choice to have an open mind, to wait and see what happens and to let whatever happens be okay, it will have a beneficial effect on my body.

This week, it does not matter whether I am right or mistaken – it matters that I allow myself the opportunity to try things and relax into myself. I do not need to be on guard all the time to make sure I behave appropriately or am accepted. I can relinquish my control on getting things right, and still survive, still be accepted and still move forward in life. By removing the pressure to do it right, I am more likely to feel comfortable trying things.

Once I am used to giving myself permission to be wrong and make mistakes every day, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for balancing distressing thoughts when I need to soothe distressing moods.

No. 37: Fears or facts?

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellness…

I will practice distinguishing between thoughts, feelings and responses that are related to fears and those that are related to facts as I move through my daily life. When I notice shifts in mood, I will ask myself what is driving the reaction. It might help to take some time out to jot down what is running through my mind on a piece of paper. If I realise I am responding to something I fear could be true, I will remind myself that this is a natural thing to fear. I will remind myself, there is often a big difference between what is plausible and what is true.  I will then return my thoughts to the facts of the current situation – to the observable pieces of information.

This way I can practice keeping my interpretations of events in perspective.

When I am used to examining the basis of my thoughts and sifting fear from fact in everyday situations, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for times of distress.

No. 36: Using Humour

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will explore humour. This week I make a commitment to comedy and humour. Every day will contain at least one item of comedy or humour – I will watch funny movies, stand-up comedy on Youtube or live comedians on stage. I will read comic strips and cartoons. I will check out some theatre sports. I will read jokes with my friends. I might even try laughter yoga.  This week is about creating opportunities for positive emotion.

Most importantly, I will laugh at my own falls, foibles and fears – sometimes, it is all you can do.

In much the same way, spending a lot of time focused on things that make us frown and cry primes us to experience more negative emotions more readily and more often. Putting that light-hearted stuff into daily life is a crucial balancing point that we so often forget in the rush of living.

Once I am familiar with connecting with comedy, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete to distract from and soothe distressing emotions.

No. 35: A Longterm Perspective

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellness…

I will practice tuning into a long-term perspective to shift my mood. When I notice moments of stress, I will take three deep breaths and imagine how I might think and feel about the current situation in five years from now.

By making myself aware of how I will feel and think about a particular stressor in 5 years, I will gain a wider perspective of what is happening in the moment to help reduce any unpleasant feelings and thoughts.

I will remind myself: This too shall pass. While something can seem very intense, overwhelming or unbearable in the moment, once time has passed the emotional intensity does too. With the passage of time solutions are often found for problems, skills and strengths are further developed, lessons are learned, new connections are made and broken bridges are mended. This week I will think long-term and I will observe what happens when I wait and see what happens.

Once I am used to thinking long-term about small, everyday problems, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete to help balance out more intense emotional responses.