The Coping Kete

Tag Archives: Coping

No. 90: Picturing my Supporters at my Back

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

…when I am stressed, pressed or distressed, I will self-soothe by imagining my various support people standing encouragingly at my back, boosting me up. This might include my parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, therapist, key-worker or someone else, just all the people in my life who want me to do well and want me to feel better when I don’t.

I will make a list of some of these people before I try to practice imagining them standing supportively at my back, so I’m not having to remember from scratch in the middle of a moment of distress. Some of the people might be in my daily life, but some might be more distant or less available, but they are still people in the world who want good things for me. It doesn’t matter if I see them everyday or once every two years – they care for me and if they were here they would give me comfort.

I will picture them sending me good vibes, saying comforting things and believing in me. No matter what is happening now, these people want good things for me. With them at my back, I know I don’t need to cope with whatever life throws at me by myself. I will breathe and imagine my people are there quietly supporting me.

If I find it particularly hard to think of people who fit the bill as supporters or I think I don’t have ‘enough’ of them, it might be that I need to spend some time finding some supporters for myself. But we don’t need a huge number of supporters to get through, we really just need one or two people we can rely on when things get rough.

Once I’ve worked out how to get this strategy working for me, I will write it on a card and add it to my Personal Coping Kete, for future use.

No. 89: Draw an Object

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

… I will practice drawing objects around me as a way of refocusing my attention away from unhelpful thoughts and giving myself a break.

If I notice myself getting stressed or distressed I will take a couple of moments to sketch an object in my immediate surroundings. It could be a pen on my desk or a plant on the windowsill or anything at all. I can draw it any way I want and it doesn’t matter whether my drawing even looks like the object at all. The point is to focus my attention on something else for a while.

I could also just spend some time each day drawing as a way to get some down-time.

In preparation I’ll make sure I have a notebook and a pencil on hand.

Once I am familiar with drawing objects in my surroundings as a way of capturing my attention, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for mindfully distracting myself from distress.

No. 88: Delaying My Response

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

…when I find I have something to say to someone, rather than rushing to express myself straight away, I will remind myself that I might feel differently later. I will resolve to turn my attentions to something else and see how I feel about it later on or the next day. I will then move onto completing my tasks for the day.

When I return to think about the situation and assess how I feel, I will start off by thinking about what might have been happening for the other person at the time and how that might have influenced their behaviour. I will think about whether the way I thought about it at the time, still seems accurate or whether there might be another way of looking at things. I will think about whether I need to do or say anything now or at another time and what I could do or say, taking their perspective into account as well my own.

Once I have become comfortable delaying everyday responses, I will add this strategy to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of dealing with distressing moments.

No 87: Being My Own Loving Parent

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

…I will practicing being my own unconditionally loving parent. When I find myself falling into self-critic mode, I will say comforting things to myself. I will encourage myself on. I will have compassion for what I am going through. I will praise my strengths and remember my victories. I will attend to my self-care needs and make sure I am alright. I might imagine my ideal kind of loving parent in advance so that I am prepared with the kinds of things I might say to myself if I get distressed.

This week, I take care of myself the way I want to be taken care of by others.

Once I am comfortable saying caring and encouraging things to myself in everyday moments, I will add this strategy to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of soothing distress. When I encounter stress or distress I will think about how I would want my ideal loving parent to respond to me and I will respond to myself that way.

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. 74: Chanting Meditation

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

… I will practice chanting as a way of meditating, doing breathing exercises and relaxing myself.

First off I will pick a word to use. The little boy in this video link  uses the word “yum”.  Yoga meditations often use the word ‘om’. I will experiment with the kinds of words I use for my chant – different words might have different feelings for me. “Om” is likely so popular because it doesn’t have any meaning and is just a sound. I might use other sounds too.

I will take a deep breath into my belly. As I let the breath out, I will repeat my word in a chant, giving the final repetition a greater emphasis on the last syllable, for example: “yum, yum, yum, yummy” / “Om, om, om, ommmm” / “Love, love, love, lovvvve”.  I will be aware of the sensations of the words moving over my lips and the other sensations in my body. I will let the words come nice and slow, so that my out breath is also nice and slow. My mind will be focused on my breath, the words and the sensations of saying them, rather than on the things I worry about.

I will repeat the chant at least three times, once a day to practice. This way I’ll be well-rehearsed if I want to try the strategy when I am distressed or stressed.

Chanting changes the level of CO2 in your blood stream, and like singing, can create a sense of euphoria or lightness.

Watch this video for a low-key, fun example of using chants to calm ourselves. The little boy in this video has heaps of energy, he gets pretty silly in this and he uses the chant to bring himself back to centre at about 2 minutes in.

Once I am familiar with doing chanting meditation, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for soothing myself and distracting from distress.

No. 72: Moving Away From Fixing Things

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

When I encounter problems in my daily life, I will practice reminding myself that “I do not need to fix the problem before me – I simply need to get through it.”

I can get through it by putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to breathe. As long as I am continuing to breathe, I am surviving it.

This way, instead of problems seeming like insurmountable challenges that I have to somehow solve (pressure!), they will seem more like challenges to cope with (less pressure).

When I talk about my problems with friends or family, I will also practice letting them know that I do not expect them to be able to ‘fix’ my problems. This can help them to feel more relaxed about supporting me through the difficulties.

Once I am comfortable with reminding myself I do not need to fix all of my problems, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of soothing distress and helping myself seek support when I need it.

No 71: Requesting Assistance

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

…I will give myself the support I need to get through  difficult things by practicing the art of seeking help.

When I find myself feeling stressed or pressed, I will approach someone either in person, over the phone or in an instant message to let them know what is happening and ask for their help – either support, advice or practical assistance. If they are unavailable, I will go to someone else.

This week, when I feel something distressing, I will name the feeling and request assistance with it. 

So this week, I will practice saying things like “I am feeling stressed out right now, can you help me through it?” and “I’m feeling upset about something, can you talk to me about it?” and “I’m feeling worried right now, can you help distract me?”

In this way, I will get skilled at seeking support when I need it and allowing others to help me through. Notice that these small expressions don’t require the other person to actually solve the problem for you, but to stand beside you through the experience. People are often overwhelmed when they are asked to solve a problem, but they can find it much easier to stand with someone. Their presence and ability to listen is all that is needed.

I will practice with everyday situations that don’t involve a lot of high emotion first. Once I am used to seeking support with everyday things, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for dealing with distress.