Effective coping with the stress and burdening of our social, emotional and/or physical struggles is a sign of psychological resilience. Some persons choose healthy, concrete methods of coping to “get out” any painful feelings, such as working out, listening to music, writing. Other people find internal coping methods useful that explore, tolerate “throw oneself” in the feeling, such as crying, thinking deeply, or acceptance-oriented mindfulness techniques. If you need some coping skills, take a look at the list below to see if you can incorporate any into your daily routine!
Exercise: If we struggle to emote via tears, perhaps a walk outside or a light jog can sweat out those feelings that need expression.
Notice Your Mind: When you are feeling downhearted or blue, try verbally saying things like “I’m noticing my mind is telling me…” or “The flavor of my thoughts is… today” or “I notice I’m spending a lot of time mulling over…”
Examine the evidence: If you are in a period of self-doubt or flailing self-esteem, try examining the evidence of your self-talk, as if you only had data and a jury to judge you. Would the jury find you guilty of all your charges you place on yourself? Is the evidence truly convincing enough?
Change The Font: When you are experiencing an intrusive, worrisome thought try to picture the thought written out in different fonts. Change the color, the size of the letters, the format, animate the words, or add in a bouncing ball.
Meditative: Find a quiet place to center yourself. Imagine your thoughts are like clouds floating across the sky, cars driving past your house, or leaves flowing down a river. Notice each one, call it by name, and let it pass through.
Grounding: Name 5 things you can hear, 4 things you can see, three things you can feel on your body, 2 things you can smell, and one thing you can taste
Deep Breathing: Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds, breathe out for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds, then breathe in for 5 seconds, etc.
TIP skill: Take a bag of ice water, place it on your forehead and tilt over 45 degrees for 1 minute. Breathe softly and slowly while doing this. It will decrease your body temperature, slow your breathing, and re-center your focus/concentration.
Name the feelings: Feeling overwhelmed describes a situation. Name the feeling attached to this situation (i.e., annoyed, let down, out of control, rushed, pressured) so as to enhance your ability to talk to others, and signal you may need support.
Drop the Anchor: Remember the acronym ACE: Acknowledge your inner experience, Come back into your body, and Engage with the world. For this skill trying naming and acknowledging your thought/feeling, do something with your body (stretch, squeeze your toes, do several belly breathes) and focus on one thing around you for one full minute. Focus on the color of the object, what it would smell like, how it got there, what it would feel like, etc.
If you find that these coping skills may not be enough to manage your struggles, that is normal. Coping skills are not meant to cure, they are simply meant to help. If you’d like to deepen your ability to help yourself, consider consulting with the clinician at Town Center Psychology. You are not alone!