The Coping Kete

Tag Archives: Problem-solving

No. 100: Use Energy Lifting Words

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

… I will practice using positive, inspiring words in my self-talk and my communications with others to help shift the mood of things. This week, I will become aware of the kinds of words I am using with myself and with others. Each time I notice what I am thinking, I will find a way to reframe it that allows me to use more positive words. Each time I notice the kinds of words I am using/want to use when talking to others, I will think of a way of inserting more positive words.

It might help to first make a list of the kinds of energy-raising words I could use, such as inspired, peaceful, harmonious, content and enjoyment. So for example, instead of thinking or saying ‘I feel awful right now,’ I might reframe things so I think or say ‘I want to do something to inspire me’ instead.

Sometimes just thinking about the positive concept can lift our energy. Using these words in our communication can help lift the energy of those around us and make the way we communicate our problems more effective.

Once I am comfortable doing this as part of my regular day, I will add ‘Reframe to use positively charged words’ into my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for self-soothing and/or expressing myself when I am stressed or distressed.

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. 73: Using Opposites

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

…I will practice coping by looking at the situation from the opposite viewpoint. Reversing my perspective in this way can take me down different and new trains of thought that could lead me to feel differently about things.

When I notice slight shifts in my mood, I will pause myself to reflect on what I am thinking in the moment. Then I will ask myself “What if the opposite were true?”

For example, if I notice I start feeling slightly hopeless or pessimistic, I will try to look at the situation from the opposite hopeful perspective. Instead of thinking “this is hopeless” I will ask myself “what if it was actually hopeful? How would I see the situation then?

This week is about challenging the assumptions that underlie my thoughts and feelings. This week I open up to the possibility of other ways of experiencing my reality. 

Once I am comfortable doing this with slight shifts in mood, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of coping with distress.

No. 63: Taking Comfort in the Inevitability of Change

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

…I will practice taking a couple of deep breaths and keeping a sense of perspective by reminding myself about the inevitability of change and how the current moment will shift. It might take a minute, an hour, a day or even weeks or months, but things will be different.

Nothing ever stays the same. I will tell myself this in the moment and I will think about how I would like it to be different and what could be done to move myself closer to that picture of things.

If it is hard to focus on this without counteracting it with negative automatic thoughts, I will try writing it down.

I will then turn my attention to something else in my environment to involve my attention in something else. I am practicing allowing myself to let go of each moment and get a different experience.

Once I am familiar with taking comfort in the possibility of change and redirecting my attention in everyday situations, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of coping with stressful and distressing moments.

No. 62: Easing the burden

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

I will remember the words of Ingrid Bacci, ‎”Inner growth is a slow and incremental process that accomplishes extraordinary results through what often look like minute daily changes” 

As I move through my daily life, this week, I will recall this quote and remind myself that all that is required are “minute changes” – and minute changes or minute actions are usually pretty manageable. I will observe how thinking about things in this way affects me.

There’s real wisdom in the old saying that the longest journey, begins with the smallest step. I will take comfort in my smallest steps. In each moment of distress, I will ask myself, what’s the smallest step I could take to shift my experience right now? What’s smaller than that? When I’ve got to the minutest change, I’ll think about giving that a go.

The act of thinking through this exercise is a minute change in itself, whether it leads to anything else or not. When I manage to do it, I will be sure to acknowledge the achievement to myself.

Once I am used to lowering my expectations for myself in everyday situations, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete for times of heightened stress of distress. When I feel impatient or frustrated with myself about something or feel overwhelmed by a situation, I will remember that growth and survival comes from minute actions. I will think of minute actions I can take in the moment and remember how they have affected me recently.  

No. 53: One of Those Regular Reflection-Points

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

I will spend some time reflecting on where I am and where I want to be. This week will be a period of planning what I want to work on next. As I move through my week, my distress responses and feelings of dissatisfaction will become useful indicators that give me clues on what I would like to be different in my life.  I will remind myself that I am a work in progress and the messy areas are simply the bits I haven’t gotten to yet.

We’ve now been posting weekly strategies for a year. Today’s post marks the beginning of the next round of strategies.

This week, I will keep a notebook on me at all times. Whenever I notice something that I would like to be better at or find easier or respond differently to, I will write it down.

At the end of each day I will spend a bit of time reading over my notes for that day. I will spend some time writing down what skills and strengths I will need to develop in order to transform these things for myself.

At the end of the week, I will look back over my reflections and select the easiest, simplest one to work on first. In the coming weeks, I will focus on practicing techniques that will help me to develop this skill.

I will add ‘A Reflect Point’ to my Personal Coping Kete and return to it from time to time to review where I am at and where I want to go.

No. 52: Radical Acceptance

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

I will practice radical acceptance. Acceptance is “The action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.”  Radical Acceptance is “seeing exactly what is [even the really bad things] and just… accepting the fact of its existence.

This week I consent to receive life on its own terms. 

By practicing Radical Acceptance, I give up on fighting reality. I accept what is and what isn’t. It means I accept the things I cannot change. It doesn’t mean I become passive and give up on changing the things I can change. This week I will practice telling the difference between the two.

In accepting how things are, I will be free to respond to current events as they really are and nurture myself in the most effective way. In accepting how things are, I give up on all self-blame or negative judgement, because I also accept myself and my reactions.

I will accept what is happening and what I need in the moment, and I will give it to myself.

Motto for the week “que sera sera… whatever will be, will be.”

Once I am used to using radical acceptance with the everyday stuff, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for soothing unwanted emotions and letting go of distressing thoughts. When I find myself feeling stressed, pressed or distressed, I will observe myself without judgement and without wasting any energy on denying or resisting what is happening or how I feel.

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Acknowledgement: Marsha Linehan is known for popularising mindfulness and the concept of radical acceptance in the mental health community with Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).  

No. 27: Finding a Kernel Worth Carrying

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

I will practice finding a positive lesson in my daily experiences, particularly things that are distressing, stressful or downright regrettable. This week, I will remind myself of two things: firstly, I can create the meaning of the things in my life, and secondly, mistakes are a necessary part of evolving.

Often we dwell on the aspects of experience that could have been better and increase our own distress. Instead of doing that, I will learn something about the strengths I want to develop,  how other people see things and how to cope. I will create meanings that boost me up not pull me down. Simply being able to survive some things is a lesson about my own resilience, which will serve me well into the future.

I will change the things I can change and accept the things that I can’t change about my experiences, but what I carry with me from them will be something worth carrying.

I will learn to do this by taking some mental time out to either write in a journal or think about something positive I can take away from the experience.  I could also talk through the experience and what to take from it with a therapist, trusted friend or whanau member.

This contemplation is a respectful time in which I am my own kind-hearted teacher.

Once I am comfortable thinking about the meaningful, positive lessons I can take from daily situations, I will add it to me Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for reducing negative reactions to the things that go wrong in my life.

No. 25: Bite Sized Chunks

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

I will break the things I need or want to achieve into a series of easily achievable steps.  I will start out by writing a list of things I need or want to get done. I will pick the more important or pressing items on the list and spend some time breaking each of those down into their parts. For example, ‘I need to tidy the house’ would become ‘vacuum the lounge’, ‘clear the surfaces’, ‘fold the washing’ and ‘wash the dishes’.  I’ll then plan my week so that I do one or two of the small bite-sized chunks each day.

By the end of the week, I’ll be that much closer to my desired end-point.  But the main point is that when I start to get stressed out about things, I can remind myself that ‘I have got it under control, life is a work in progress, and I’m on my way‘.  I will be able to experience a sense of accomplishment more often, as I tick off each of the small steps I have achieved, instead of having to wait until I reach the final goal. I will be able to trust that I’ll get there in the end.

Once I am used to breaking things down into manageable chunks and reminding myself I have done so, I will add the strategy to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of coping when things seem too hard to tackle. When things start to feel overwhelming or stressful, I will remind myself that all I need to do is the next step, and then the next step, and I’ll make it through in the end.

No 17. What Would Goofy Do?

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

I will practice taking some time out with a notebook and doing a writing exercise to cope with stress.  When I think I need a break from the moment, I will sit down with a notebook and choose a cartoon character.  I will imagine that this cartoon character is in my situation instead of me.  I will write for 5 minutes about how this character would view and react to the situation. It will distract me and maybe even give me a different perspective of things.

I will need to keep a notebook and pen or pencil in my bag or pocket for this one.

Once I am used to doing writing exercises when I am not particularly upset, I will add ‘What Would A Cartoon Character Do? Writing Exercise’ to my Personal Coping Kete as a way to shift unwanted moods.