The Coping Kete

Monthly Archives: July 2012

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No. 107: Think of the Safer Alternatives

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

…I will practice harm minimisation as a way of responding to distress. As I move through my week, when I notice small changes in my mood or any self-destructive urges, I will practice thinking of the safest way of responding to the way I feel.

Where I might sometimes have the urge to do something to hurt myself to express the way I feel, this week, I will practice thinking about the less harmful alternatives.

When I notice my thinking or feelings heading in a self-destructive direction, I will ask myself “what would be the safest way of responding to this?”

For example, if I notice myself thinking about cutting myself to relieve my distress, I will think about some less harmful things that might give me the same release. In this way, I will nurture my wellbeing and treat myself with a bit more respect and kindness.

Using intense, but safe sensations is often really helpful. Some people find that holding a piece of ice or running a piece of sharp ice over their skin gives them an intense almost painful sensation that can replace the need to cut. Other people find snapping a rubber band on their wrist does the same thing. Yet other people find that running a red felt-tip pen over their arm gives them an intense visual picture that replaces the need to self-harm. Some people find them all helpful at different times. This week I will practice imagining doing these kinds of things rather than thinking about hurting myself.

This week, I will practice thinking about doing these kinds of things whenever I notice myself thinking about hurting myself. Once I have gotten used to thinking about these safer alternative ways of reacting to my distress, I will add ‘Think of a Safer Alternative’ and the strategies I thought of to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of responding when I feel the urge to hurt myself.

No. 106: Lean on Someone

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

…I will practice leaning on the people around me when things start to feel a little stressful. Leaning on the people around me means that this week, I will share what I am going through with the people around me and accept their offers of help.  If people ask me how they can help, I will practice letting them know. So often, we turn down help because we think we ‘should’ be able to take care of everything on our own. This week, I will practice turning to the people around me for help, even with smaller stressors.  As I move through the week, I will note who seems to respond to well to my sharing and who responds less well. This will allow me to figure out the best people to go to for help later. If I notice there aren’t many people in my life who respond well, I might turn my attention to an engagement strategy for building some connections with some more supportive people.

When I am familiar with letting people know I am finding something hard and accepting their help with everyday kinds of things, I will add ‘Lean on Someone’ to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for getting through times of intense distress. I might keep a list of good people to contact in my Kete too.

No. 105: Sharing the Little Positives

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

… I will practice sharing my successes, achievements and moments of enjoyment with other people. At the end of every day this week, I will contact someone I know to talk about one positive moment from my day.

If I find it hard to notice positive things I might carry a notebook in my pocket so I can write them down when they happen or simply jot them down at the end of the day in preparation of my call or conversation.

If I find it hard to talk to people about positive things I have experienced, it might help to make a list of people I can call. It may also help to think of some things I can ask the people I talk to so my sharing does not come out of the blue and the conversation doesn’t become one-sided.

This week, I will practice celebrating my achievements and sharing my good moments, however small they may be, with the people in my life. In doing so, I will practice making the small positives of life stand out from the mix of more difficult daily experiences. As a regular practice, this may help me to have balanced attention that takes both the good and the bad information on board.

In regularly talking to the people I know about my positive experiences, I will create relationships in my life that give me the chance to also talk about the difficult things I go through as well.

Once I have gotten used to sharing my achievements and positive moments, I will add ‘Connect to Share the Little Positives’ to my Personal Coping Kete. In moments when the negatives seem overwhelming, I will contact someone to share some of the positives in my life. When I feel bad about myself and am finding it hard to feel better, I can get in touch with one of my people for some support to remember my positives. Sometimes it really helps to get a reminder about those things from someone other than ourselves!

No. 104: Connecting with Interests & Skills

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

I will practice connecting with my interests and developing my skills by joining some kind of community course. Most community centres offer cheap community classes on topics ranging from cooking and clothing alterations to ballroom dancing, yoga and martial arts.

This week I will spend time exploring my options and finding a first class to try. It could take a few tries before I find a class that suits me. I will use my local telephone directory, The Community Resources Directory, web searches and local noticeboards to get a picture of what is available in my community. I might also talk to the people around me about what is out there and whether they recommend anything.

As I move through my day I will remember that I am exploring my interests and am well on my way along the path towards a more enjoyable life. Any points of dissatisfaction are simply the areas that are still works in progress.

It might be hard for me to get myself along so I might ask a friend, family member or other supporter if they want to come with me. That might also be a nice way to strengthen a relationship I have been wanting to build.

Once I have found a hobby-course that I enjoy and I have become familiar with the activity I have been learning, I will add the activity to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of engaging with my skills and interests to shift my mood when I am distressed.

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Today’s post marks two full years of The Coping Kete in its online form.

The Coping Kete book is coming soon.