The Coping Kete

Monthly Archives: April 2012

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No. 94: Moving to a New Space

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

…I will practice mindfully distracting myself from stressful or distressing thoughts and feelings by moving to a different location and observing and describing my new location to myself. I might move to a different room, go outside or walk to a local park or anywhere that is different.

I give myself permission to return to my distressing thoughts later, when I am feeling calmer, if I still want or need to.

I will spend at least five minutes looking around me. Instead of focusing on my inner world, I will focus on my outside world. I will actively look around my new space and centre my thoughts on what is around me and where I am, rather than what I feel or think about myself, other people or my life. As my mind tries to come back to those things, I will gently return my thoughts to the space I am now in without judgement. I feel whatever I feel, right now I am here. 

If this kind of thing is unfamiliar to me, I will start by practicing this when I am not stressed or distressed. Once this starts to feel like a comfortable thing to do, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as something to try when I am needing to improve the moment.

 

No. 93: Embracing My Interdependence

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

…I will live in an awareness of how we are designed to be interdependent, to need other people. We each have a mix of strengths and limitations; those things that I can’t do or struggle with, someone else can do or finds easier. Together we are able to accomplish all of the things we need to do. I do not need to feel ashamed of my limitations, because we all have them. I was never meant to be able to do everything on my own.

When I am in social situations I will identify what limitations the people around me might need help with and as far as I am able to, I will offer my support to them with that. I might say something like “Hey I notice you are finding x hard, is there any way I can help you out right now?” or simply encourage them in the way I think will be most helpful. I will also identify what limitations I need help with in this moment and let the people around me know. This might be something they know how to help me with or relate to. In this way, this week, I will practice talking about what I find hard and accessing support with it at the same time as offering my support to others.

I will start first by practicing identifying these things to myself with my self-talk. I will practice seeing other people’s behaviour and responses as being related to their own mixture of strengths and limitations, rather than being personal reactions to me or failings on their part. I will also practice accepting my own limitations rather than see them as something I have to be ashamed of, hide or overcome on my own.

Once I am familiar with doing this, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a self-soothing strategy to use when I am stressed or distressed by other people.

I will then move on to practice the next step: to express myself, then seek and give support for the limitations we all have.  Once I am comfortable doing this in low-key situations I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as an Expression and Support strategy for coping with difficult social situations and other things that I find tricky.

“We are not stand alone objects.” – Miriam Barr

“We are like birds with one wing. We can only fly by embracing each other.” – Anonymous. 

No. 92: The Art of Appreciation #1

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

I will practice tuning my attention into positively charged events every day by writing down three things I appreciate, enjoy or am glad to see in the world.  Later, when I need to self-soothe, I will find it easier to balance negative automatic thoughts or expectations about the world around me.

During the day I will try to notice things as they happen and note them to myself for later. I might have to go searching for things to record for a while – it is quite an art to see the good stuff sometimes! Each evening I will write down the date and the list of three things for that day.

Once I have been doing it for a while and have a good list, when I find myself feeling negative about the world around me I will be able to read through the list and balance it out with some of the things I appreciate and feel good about. As I read the list, I will remember to myself what it was about each thing that I liked, what I saw in it. Eventually I’ll get good at just remembering these positive balancing points by themselves.

When times are tough I will be able to shine the light of my attention onto a bit proof that it’s not all bad out there. I let the wanted and unwanted parts of the world exist side by side without letting one cancel the other out.

If/when I find a good way to make this work for me, I will note a reminder down about it on a piece of paper and add it to my Personal Coping Kete. 

No. 91: Building Support by Offering Support

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

…I will focus on building or strengthening my support network. It’s not uncommon to become isolated during times of stress and distress. It is easy to lose touch with friends and family members. This week I will write down the name(s) of 1 – 5 people that I could connect or reconnect with. There could be a colleague at work or someone interesting at school or an aunt or cousin or sibling or old friend that I would like to be closer to.

I will then practice getting in touch with the people on my list once a week to find out how they are doing and see if I can help with anything at all. By offering support I will find it easier to ask for support later when I need it. This week is about expressing my care for others to strengthen my relationships for the times when things get tough and I need a little care and support myself.

Once I have figured out how to make this a comfortable thing for me to do, I will write it down on a piece of paper and put it in my Personal Coping Kete as a support activity.