QUICK SELF HELP
If you are in emotional pain right now, look around here, you might find some ideas to help!
1: SPEAK WITH YOURSELF! – No kidding! Tell your story as you would tell it to your therapist! Listen carefully, listen empathically, no judgments, no negative comments! Try to understand what you haven’t understood until now. Just as you would expect from your therapist! Give yourself acknowledgement for thing what you think you were doing right! But first of all listen, listen, listen! Open your eyes and ears for deeper understanding and put aside all your accustomed judgment! Judgment is against honesty and raises shame, embarrassment and anxiety. You can decide later on if you don’t want to behave like this or that anymore, but first you need to face it, and understand why you acted like that! (It’s true for others too!)
Warning! – Don’t talk about your problem in the bed before sleep! This is the time for rest. If you cannot finish spinning around your problem you easily end up with sleep problems! In the evening, instead of “ruminating”, try to relax.
2: TAKE BREAKS! Don’t sink into this story telling too long! Understanding needs time, but after a while exhaustion can block effective work, and tension can run up high. When you feel it is happening, stop! Take a break, go walking, swimming, house work, gardening, chatting with friends, listen to music, whatever is able to switch you off.
3: WRITE DIARY! Be careful, that none can have access, and you can be completely honest with yourself about your thoughts, feelings. Keep it close to you in the nights, that when you wake up, you can put down your dreams too. (Usually we forget them when we completely wake up in the mornings.) Keep track what are they saying to you? Are there any repeating dream? Are they scary, or reassuring? What do they mean to you? Keep track also on the daytime writings. Are there repeating stories, reactions or feelings? What are the triggers to them? What causes problem to you, and what causes joy? Do you discover any pattern what you were not aware of before?
3: RELAX! I know you feel it is easier to say than done, but any type of relaxation helps your body and soul! It lowers your heart frequency, deepen your breath, you get more oxygen, relaxes your muscles, and most of all: helps to clear up your mind and focus on productive way of solving your problem. If it’s a usual routine for you, do your usual way, or try my favorite one: Progressive Muscle Relaxation Instruction. (Don’t be scared about the fancy name, it is simple!) I found it easier to relax the muscles after building up tension. It is easier to begin with the feet. I like to use “can”, “may” “might” to emphasize your freedom of choice, and the difference how every one of us have different sensation. And it takes the wind out of the sail of resistance. You don’t have to follow word by word! Make your own version, and record it if you need to.
4: GUIDED IMAGERY! This is one type of problem solving – different from our usual analytic methods. We approach the problem from the deep intuitive, imaginative side of the soul. Best to make it after you gain your deep relax state with any of the relaxation methods. Feel free to choose whatever environment, companion, helper whatever you want! The main focus has to be on positive. POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT, POSITIVE COMPANIONS (if you want companion, you don’t have to) POSITIVE MOOD, (not necessarily happy, just calm, relaxed, content, cozy, warm…) but mainly: THE POSITIVE OUTCOME!
If you use it to solve something, imagine the BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME SCENARIO! Not what you are afraid of! Imagine you and your loved one having fun on the beach! Or you are appreciated in a prestigious workplace again! You are completely healed taking part in family reunion!
If you are working on something sickness inside your body, you can think about really how it is, but you also can choose any symbolization. Spend as less time as possible with the present problem, but change the scene towards healing process and the gained complete health! If you need guidance, feel free to use my Guided Imagery Instruction! If it helps, you can record it for yourself!
4: SPEAK WITH YOUR TRUSTED FRIEND! Lots of time, a big honest conversation with a friend, who can be reliable, keep secret and give reassurance instead of criticism, can be very helpful. You can feel that someone can understand you, s/he might share her/his similar experiences with you lessen your feeling alone. You can gain simply from that you can summarize your thoughts the way how you didn’t do it before. You can get good questions. A good conversation also can help you to vent out your withdrawn feelings.
5: THOUGHT CLEANING! Stop for a moment with everything else, and reflect on yourself! How many negative thoughts did you have in the last hours? Negative thoughts like: “I’ll go crazy!” “It drives me mad!” “I am stupid!” I am not good enough to make it!” “I’m afraid I got cancer!” “If my child continues like this s/he’s end up in jail!” – If you had some, consider this:
Our mind and body is one functioning unit. Still we don’t exactly understand how, but more and more study shows, that what we think has a profound effect on our body, and basic functioning. (E.g. those athletes who makes training in imagination after injury during the recovery period, build up more muscles and heal better than those, who don’t make imaginative training.) What you think, somehow translates itself to the body, and makes possible to behave the way how you thought. The more you think something negative, the more chance you got to fulfill it. Do you want to reverse it? – I hope you are your own friend, and said, yes!
- Make a huge thought cleaning! Every negative comment, prediction has to go! Don’t be surprised, they would come back, as they are very stubborn customs sometimes. When you notice, that you thought some bad again, just erase it like in the computer: Say: “Erase! Erase!” or “Delete! Delete!” Remind yourself, and do it again, and again. It takes a while until it becomes custom, but you can get used to it!
- If you cannot stop those negative thoughts because of their automatic character, you can try to replace them with something less damaging, like: instead of “I’m an idiot!” you can say: “I’m an idiom!” Use your creativity and sense of humor, and choose replacement what entertains you! (I know! Probably in your present situation the humor is the last one what comes into your mind, but still you can make a try! You deserve a little uplift in your mood, don’t you?)
- Turn your expressions of wishes to positive. I mean, if you told until now: “I don’t want that headache!” Change it to: “I want that headache go away!” Why? Our mind is not receptive about plus and minus signs. In the first case you emphasized: “Minus headache.” Our mind can hear: “- headache, – headache! Ah? S/he wants headache?!” The second case you emphasized: “Headache, go away!”
- Turn your negative predictions into positive. Think about them! What are they intend to do! I bet you want to PREVENT you child ending up jail, you want to PREVENT ending this relationship in divorce, you want to PREVENT you got cancer. But your mind hears: “jail” “divorce” “cancer” – Do you wonder if s/he decides to help you to get that? State what you REALLY WANT TO GET! “I want this child become a successful, happy adult!” “I want to get back our old kind relationship!” “I want to have long healthy life!” Then your mind get a better command for what you to prepare.
- Words are very effective shaping our mind, but pictures are even more effective! If you use imagination for whatever reason – which I strongly support – apply the same idea: Always IMAGINE WHAT YOU WANT! And wrap the whole experience somehow positive. Favorite place, favorite music, favorite real or imaginary people or animal. What makes you feel good? Imagine there! If you are working on something negative to go away – for instance illness to heal – and first you need to think about the negative in order to imagine how it will change: don’t stay at the negative part too long. Focus on the change and the positive outcome. Again: if the negative picture turns out to come back, – don’t worry! This is its character. Send it away again! If you haven’t done some similar until yet, try my Guided Imagery!
- DRAW OR PAINT WHAT YOU WANT! It doesn’t have to be artistic! No matter that you cannot draw or paint. The goal is to help your mind to prepare your body, reactions, behavior, feeling and thinking to accomplish your goal. The more tool you use, the more result you can expect! I have heard from people that they have more success fulfilling what they want, when they drew it down.
Be patient, give time for yourself! If you need more, or need something else, and if you are ready, give me a call!
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Stuart Miles.