The Coping Kete

Tag Archives: Acceptance

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. 86: Doing What I Can Do

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

… When I encounter a problem, I will turn my attention towards something I can accomplish to improve the moment.

To begin with, I will make a list of all of the big and small things I have been wanting to get done around the house and/or my workplace. I will break all of the big items on my list down into smaller parts so that in the end my list is a list of easy to achieve tasks.

When I find myself worrying about something I cannot change or predict, I will take out my list and begin working on one of the tasks I can do something about.

As I am doing the task I will focus my awareness on what I am doing in the current moment by noticing when my mind wanders onto the distressing thoughts and observing and describing my current surroundings and actions to myself to centre myself on the task at hand.

This week, I will respond to problems by doing something else that is positive for my life.   

Once I have gotten used to focusing on what I can do during times of low stress, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for distraction and engagement during times of distress and unwanted emotion.

No. 85: Looking for Encouragement

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

…I will help myself get through my problems by letting someone know what I am feeling and seeking encouragement.

I will use whatever means is appropriate to me in the moment, whether I need to take a private moment to make a phone call to someone I trust or talk to someone I am with.

For example, if I am worried about something that is happening in a meeting or social situation, I might need to excuse myself to give a friend a call or ask to talk to someone I trust there privately or maybe I will be comfortable talking to whoever happens to be there. I’ll let them know the situation I am in, what I am worried about/how I am affected and what I need encouragement with.

And then I will let them encourage me. If it is a personal matter and I am talking to someone who finds giving encouragement difficult or uncomfortable, I might try something like asking them to help me remember what strengths I have to help me get through. It might sound cheesy when it’s put in those terms, but I can say it any way I want.

This week, I actively look for encouragement when I need it. Sometimes it is hard to believe in ourselves when the going gets tough – at these times, we can look to the people around us for reminders. Then, later, I can refer to the memories of their encouragement to get me through when they are not around.

It is okay to feel what I feel and to look for support when I need it. This week, I will not make myself stand alone.

If I am out of practice with seeking encouragement and support, I will start out by seeking encouragement for small things that I find easy to talk about, during times of low stress. This will allow me to get used to it, before I am in a bad way and find it hard to do. Once I can seek out other people without a large amount of anxiety, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of coping during times of distress.

No. 84: Naming Things

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

…I will practice calmly naming my thoughts and feelings to the people I interact with. Instead of trying to ‘show’ people how I feel and what I think in indirect ways, I will practice letting people know directly and respectfully with words.

This week, whenever I notice I am having an emotional response to something, whether pleasant or unpleasant, I will practice saying to the people I am with, ‘I notice myself feeling/thinking x,y,z when you say/do x,y,z.’ 

Depending on the what I am expressing and who I am with, sometimes I might need to wait for or create a private moment to express myself fully.

But this week I will practice naming what I can, when I can. So if it isn’t the right moment to talk about something at the time, but I have more to say on the matter, I can practice naming that to the person I am with – “I have some more thoughts about this and would like to talk to you about it privately sometime.”   

By naming positive thoughts and feelings to the people I am with I share and multiple the positive experiences I am having. By naming distressing thoughts and feelings to the people I am with I can reduce the physical signs of distress and access support, comfort and alternative perspectives. This week I will practice naming both sides of my experience to others.

Often, saying something out loud to another person is just the thing we need to take the sting out of a bad moment or remember a meaningful one.

If I find this kind of thing difficult or anxiety producing, I will start out really small with naming only positive reactions to people I am familiar with and then slowly expand out from there.

As I move through the week, I will reflect on what happens within me when I name my experiences and what happens around me when I name my experiences. I will use the insights gained from my reflection, to help me adapt the way I name things to others in different situations.

Once I am comfortable naming everyday thoughts to other people, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for expressing myself when feeling pressed, stressed or distressed.

No. 83: Riding the Wave

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

…When I notice shifts in the way I feel, I will stop, take a deep breath and acknowledge that even though they are distressing and unpleasant, I can survive them. I will say to myself “I am riding the wave of emotions” and I will keep breathing.

If I can, I will name what I am feeling and thinking to myself. And I will keep breathing.

It is okay to feel what I feel. Feelings always fluctuate and change, it’s impossible to experience one feeling non-stop, so I can also trust that what I feel in this moment will change. Feelings come and go, rise and fall, like waves as my attention shifts throughout the day.

As I stop and breathe in, I will breathe into an awareness of the feelings and when I breathe out, I will pretend to exhale the feelings with the air – as if I am releasing them. As I am doing this I will remind myself, “I am going to get through this, I am riding the wave of my emotions.”

By riding the wave instead of running from the tide, I will get through this. 

There is an excellent video resource for this well-known mindfulness technique on the DBT Self-Help Website.  If I find it hard to do mindfulness by myself at first, this website has excellent videos that you can practice with until you are familiar enough with the exercise to do it independently.

Once I am familiar with mindfully thinking about my emotions in this way, I will add Riding The Wave to my Personal Coping Kete to help me get through moments of distress.

No. 82: Valuing My Values

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

…I will practice using self-talk to remind myself of the things I value and care about. In this way I will give myself regular reassurance that despite how things might sometimes turn out, I ultimately have positive intentions. I can relax and let my values guide me. 

To prepare myself to self-soothe like this when I am distressed by negative thoughts about myself, I will first spend some time, maybe with a pen and paper, to think about what my values are. I will ask myself, “what is it that I think is most important in life?”

I will then practice regularly reminding myself “I am the kind of person who values…xyz… so no matter what happens out there, I am all right in here.”  

If I find that my distress stems from my doing things that don’t sit well with what I value, then I will be able to move on to a more problem-solving based strategy to discover what I could change or how I could respond. This week, I will practice seeing the evidence of my self-worth in the values that I hold, the things I believe in and strive for.

Once I am comfortable being aware of my values and trusting them to guide me, I will add this strategy to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of soothing feelings of distress.

No. 81: Remembering Their Positives

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

…I will practice balancing my reactions to other people, however valid they may be, by listing to myself at least two good things that they have done or said in the past, before I respond to them.

By making sure I acknowledge the positive intentions or past actions of people, I can help balance the way I feel about their less pleasant actions.

Making myself aware of these balancing factors won’t necessarily make my other thoughts go away – they could actually be realistic! But it will make sure that they exist as part of a more complete picture of the situation. Sometimes, the things we don’t like, are a bit more bearable when we can see the good that exists around them. This week, when I notice negative reactions to the people around me, I will practice thinking of two positive things to balance it.

It can sometimes help to think of things by sitting down with a pen and paper. The positives don’t have to be significant things to ‘count’ either, it could be something like ‘they always offer me a cup of coffee when they’re making one.’

This week, I am practicing taking account of all of the information to get a balanced view of the people around me and be better prepared to respond well.

Once I am familiar with reminding myself of people’s positives, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a self-soothing and distraction strategy for times when I find myself irritated, annoyed or upset with something a friend, colleague or family member has done or said.  If it turns out that, after trying this for a while, I notice the positive things really do not seem to balance the negative things about being around a person, I will seek support to figure out what I can do about it and turn to a different kind of coping strategy that will help me get through my feelings of hurt.

No. 80: Observing Myself as Part of Nature

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

…I will practice mindful distraction by going outside and observing myself as part of nature. This week, the first thing I will do once I have woken up in the morning and gotten dressed, is to take a moment to go outside where I can see at least some aspect of the natural world. For the next few minutes I will let whatever concerns I might have for the coming day fade into the distance where I can catch them up later if I still need to. I will focus my awareness on the way the clouds and air move, the way the plant-life grows, the way water flows or settles – everything falling into its shape.

As I make myself aware of these elements of nature, I will notice myself standing or sitting there, as part of this environment. Here I am, connected to the world. 

Doing this regularly, when I am not distressed, will help me make strong associations with the strategy so it is easier to do it when I need it. It’s also just a pretty nice way to start the day. In preparation for when I need to distract myself from unnecessary distress, once a day, I will…

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence….You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”  [From The Desiderata, Max Ehrmann, 1927] 

Once I am comfortable doing this task as part of a regular day, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for mindfully distracting myself from distressing emotions and unwanted thoughts.