The Coping Kete

Monthly Archives: October 2011

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No. 68: Grounded in my Hands

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

When I notice shifts in mood, I will practice grounding myself in my body by very simply stroking my left hand with my right hand.

I will breathe and focus my attention on my hands and then slowly move my attention inside my body: what does it feel like inside my body right now? I will keep breathing as I bring my attention back to the outside and the sensations of my hands.

Here I am in my body, breathing.

Once I am comfortable making myself present in my body by stroking my hand, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of grounding myself during moments of intensity or distress.

No. 67: Removing the Pressure

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

…when I encounter everyday problems and hiccups, I will make things seem more manageable by reminding myself ‘all I need to do is get through this one moment.’

Instead of piling pressure on myself to measure up to expectations, I will tell myself that I don’t need to do anything but get through each moment and anything else is an added bonus, so I can relax and go with it.

I’ll then take myself through the standard breathing exercise while I give myself a brief running commentary of the moment I am currently in. Once I have described the moment to myself I will come back to my original idea that I just need to get through this moment and that means all I need to do is keep breathing.

Once I am comfortable removing the pressure and doing some breathing in everyday situations, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete for times of stress and distress.

No. 66: Redirect & Breathe

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

…When I find myself worrying about how something will turn out, I will redirect my thoughts by visualising the situation exactly as I would like it to go. In the same way that champion athletes picture themselves successfully completing their task before they begin, I will imagine myself competently going through each motion of the task before me. I will see myself smiling and feeling good. I will imagine myself feeling strong and at ease. I will see the people around me responding positively. I will see myself at the other end of the challenge having come through it well. Each time a new worry surfaces, I will visualise myself handling it well. As I focus my mind on images of myself getting through and enjoying myself doing it, I will take slow breaths in through my nose, allowing my stomach to rise with each breath in. I will let each breath drift out through my loosely pursed lips.

In this way, for a short time, I will give myself physical safety messages with the breathing and psychological safety messages with my visualisation. I will also prepare myself to handle the situation more effectively, because I will have seen what that looks like. This is much more useful than filling my head up with what the worse case scenario looks like. When I find constant worries running through my head, this visualisation could be a good way to redirect them without suppressing them. I can let each of my worries arrive so I can help them leave by imagining it being resolved effectively.

This week I will feed myself visions of strengths and successes. 

Once I am comfortable breathing and redirecting myself to visions of my strengths and successes in everyday situations, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete for moments of stress and distress.

No. 65: Soothing the Personal Sting

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

I will practice taking the sting out of interpersonal situations by viewing other people’s actions and reactions as being about them and not me. It is a natural human response to consider how we are received by those around us. Often though, we can personalise things that really have nothing to do with us. For example if someone frowns while we are speaking, we might assume they are displeased with us. But they could be concentrating or have a personal relationship to something we said. This week I will give people space to be responding to their own set of wants, needs, attitudes and challenges. Thinking about alternative, less personal ways of interpreting things can really help to reduce our sense of distress or hurt.

So this week when I notice shifts in mood, I am going to scan my thoughts and see whether I have been taking something personally. Whenever I catch myself taking something on board as being about me, I will make a quick list of other things that could be responsible as well.

It can often help to jot these things down in a notepad or on a scrap of paper – when we are really distressed it can otherwise be quite hard to concentrate on alternative explanations.

This exercise could help with dealing with past situations that continue to distress me as memories as well.

Once I have become comfortable identifying personalised thoughts and taking out the personal sting in everyday situations, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of thinking myself through stress and distress.