The Coping Kete

Monthly Archives: March 2013

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No. 130: New Descriptions Exercise

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

…I will try experimenting with new ways of describing things. This might help me be able to express myself when I find I want to talk to someone else. But for this week, I’m just going to do it for myself. Once a day, maybe at lunch or before bed, I’ll sit down and do a word-play exercise.

In one column I will write a list of words that are nouns (names of things e.g. sadness, tree, people, day). Beside it, I will make a second column of words that are verbs (action/doing words, e.g. walks, dip, stumble, fall). Then I will mix the two colums together with joining words (‘like’, ‘and’, ‘of’, ‘but’) to make new descriptions of things. Finally, if I want, I will put them all together into a poem.

For example, using the words above… 

Sadness walks

like trees dip

and people stumble

but only

the day

falls over

the edge

~ ~ ~

I could do this with as many or as few words as I want. The point is to spend a bit of time playing around with expression each day.

Once I am a bit used to playing around with words, I will add the ‘New Descriptions Exercise’ to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of distracting myself from the present and expressing myself in moments of stress and distress. This way I can stop chasing my distressing thoughts and turn my attention to the simple task of listing words and turning them into whatever I can. It might even help me find new ways of looking at things as I go.

No. 129: Gratitude Diary

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

…I will practice bringing positives to my own attention by keeping a daily Gratitude Diary. Each evening before bed, I will write down three things I am grateful for that day. If I’ve been feeling down for a long time, it might be hard to recognise the things I am grateful for, so I will start small. As I move through each day, I will let myself pause to appreciate things as they unfold, to help make it easier to notice them later when it comes time to write my daily entry. 

This week, no matter what has happened that day, I will find room for three things I am grateful for. It is okay to have good times in the middle of bad times – this week, I will practice doing that.

As the week goes by, I could experiment with remembering the things in my Gratitude Diary during the day and see if I notice a lift in my moods. Keeping a Gratitude Diary will make me engage with the things I am grateful to have experienced. So over the week, I will gather a collection of positive memories of my week. If I notice it helps keep my moods more balanced, I could keep doing this for as long as I want. 

Once I have practiced keeping a Gratitude Diary for  a while, I will add ‘Gratitude Diary’ to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy to try when I am distressed by unwanted thoughts and moods. Sometimes we need to let the things that give us hope and inspiration in. And that can be really difficult to do when we are down, especially if we aren’t used to doing this kind of thing on purpose. When I am ready, I will practice using my Gratitude Diary to self-soothe during times of stress and upset.

No. 128: Ask Someone to Listen

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

…I will practice expressing myself and getting support by telling someone I trust that I’d like someone to talk to and asking them if they can listen. This is something we pretty much all need to do when the going gets tough, but which can be really hard to do if we are distressed and out of practice. This week, at the end of each day, I will call or visit someone and ask them if they can lend me an ear so I can get some of the day’s stress off my chest. Then I’ll tell them a bit about my day and anything stressful that has stuck with me. By checking in with them about their day as well, I’ll be able to help them leave the conversation feeling listened to as well. This might bring us closer.  Sometimes it can help to let people know what we are up to – I might even tell some of my friends that I am practicing asking for help and talking about my problems and that they might hear from me as I go.

Once I am comfortable asking someone to listen, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of coping in times of distress. I will be used to talking to people about small stresses and I will be used to reaching out, so it will be easier to do.