26 July 2009

Coping Mechanisms

Everyone needs a way to cope. Whether you’re a survivor, a secondary survivor, a counselor, or just a human being. We all get stressed & we all have our problems.

If there is a certain situation(s) which makes you anxious, nervous, scared, or sad … try to recognize it. Is there something that brings on these feelings? A certain time of day, or a song, or a scent? If you’ve experienced any kind of trauma, these are among some of the things that can be considered triggers.

When you find yourself in a stressful or uncomfortable situation, it’s helpful to have an idea of what you can do to calm down. Think about things that you enjoy doing. Perhaps knitting or playing with a pet. If you can, do one of these activities.

There are also some things that can help you stay in the moment. Count to 10, or 100, or see as high as you can go until you’re feeling better. List the things around you & if you still need more, go back & describe those object. For example: there is a desk. It is wooden with no drawers. It has a rack for a computer tower. The trim is black. These are called grounding techniques.

Make sure that you do something for yourself. Treat yourself to a massage, if you are comfortable with someone else touching you. Practice meditation. Have half an hour of “me time” while you’re at home, without interruption from anyone you may live with. Go for a walk. See if there are any (free or otherwise) classes that interest you. Read a good book. Whatever appeals to YOU.

It is important to take care of ourselves. With all the tasks that have to get done in a day & the other people in our lives we have to take care of, it can be easy to lose sight of that. The best way to get these things done, though, is to make sure we’re in top condition.

Be good to yourself.

1 comment:

  1. When I was a teenager suffering from depression, my mom got me (us?) a set of self-help CD's about the philosophy that anxiety causes depression. There's a degree of truth to that theory, though it's not a catch-all, and I took away a few techniques that I've practiced in various situations since. One is to have a comfort object or keepsake or a "safe and/or happy place" in your mind—rather, it is a variation on that common idea. This series recommended thinking of yourself as a comfort object/safe place. There are some cases where this idea just isn't effective, but there have been times when I've drawn great comfort and courage from believing that I don't have to look elsewhere because I am my own touchstone.