The Coping Kete

Tag Archives: Support

No. 125: Connect with Being Part of a Community

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

…I will practice connecting with the community around me. This week, as I move through each day, I will practice belonging to my community and letting my community belonging to me. We so often live right next to each other for years, without ever stopping to say ‘hey how is it going?’ to each other and the world can become a lonely, anonymous place at times.

This week, I will say hello to the shop-keepers and checkout operators and stop to pass the time of day. I will introduce myself to my neighbours if I don’t know them and pause to chat when I see them.   I will take part in any free, public events and projects like music in parks, open mic nights, art exhibitions or tree planting working bees. I will walk around my community and appreciate the spaces around me. I will take the time to ask people about themselves and what they do, whenever I have a chance so I can learn about the people around me.

All the while I will remind myself that I am part of a wider community and the wider community is part of me. When I am bored or at a loose end, I will do something to connect with being part of that community. This week I practice getting to know my community and letting my community get to know me.

After engaging with my community for a while, I will be well prepared to self-soothe and distract myself from negative thoughts and feelings when the going gets tough. The experience of connection will be like ammo when I find myself feeling disconnected or lonely. Connecting with my community may help me practice expressing myself to others and build a wider support network of people I could turn to in a rough spot.

When I am familiar with doing things that connect me to my community, I will add ‘Connect with Being Part of a Community’ to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of shifting my mood during times of stress and distress. If I am feeling down, I will be able to turn to one of my familiar community connection strategies to distract myself. Doing things that connect me with my community might also help to self-soothe some things too, especially if I’ve been feeling isolated. When I notice my self-talk seems lonely, I will remind myself of my previous experiences of being connected to self-soothe and I will try to put some of my previous activities into action.

 

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. 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. 91: Building Support by Offering Support

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

…I will focus on building or strengthening my support network. It’s not uncommon to become isolated during times of stress and distress. It is easy to lose touch with friends and family members. This week I will write down the name(s) of 1 – 5 people that I could connect or reconnect with. There could be a colleague at work or someone interesting at school or an aunt or cousin or sibling or old friend that I would like to be closer to.

I will then practice getting in touch with the people on my list once a week to find out how they are doing and see if I can help with anything at all. By offering support I will find it easier to ask for support later when I need it. This week is about expressing my care for others to strengthen my relationships for the times when things get tough and I need a little care and support myself.

Once I have figured out how to make this a comfortable thing for me to do, I will write it down on a piece of paper and put it in my Personal Coping Kete as a support activity.

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. 77: Practicing Random Acts of Kindness

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

…I will focus my attention on making other people, a stranger or someone I know, smile. So often a search for better wellbeing can require us to be inwardly focused on ourselves, but this week I will live the knowledge that my wellbeing comes largely from my relationship with those I co-exist with. This week I will practice making other people smile with random acts of kindness.

I will practice opening the door for my companions, giving way to fellow road-users, smiling and saying hello to the people I walk past on the street and paying compliments to the check-out operator at the supermarket. I might write a thank-you note when someone does me a favour or pick someone a bunch of flowers  or offer to help someone struggling with their bags in the street or call someone’s attention to a beautiful view.

Each time I do this, I will share in a positive moment with another person. I will also be practicing the art of reaching out to others.  This will be an important skill to get comfortable using, as I work to build stronger social support network and sense of belonging. This week I will enhance my connection with those around me.

For those of us who struggle with anxiety, this kind of strategy can be particularly powerful in helping us see that we can survive reaching out, but it can take some time to build up to. Start small, like the odd smile at someone on the bus, and when that is easy, move on to something a bit bigger. 

Once I am comfortable practicing random acts of kindness in the course of my day, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a way to shift my mood when things are tough.

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.