When people come to me for support, I will ask them to fill out an informed consent form, and depending on the nature of their request, I will offer them the following tips for emotional regulation, with a self-care handout:
Self-care and mindfulness mean staying in the “present” moment and creating mental distance between yourself and your past (or future if you are anxious about upcoming events).
To provide you with a deeper understanding of how you talk to yourself, take this short quiz from The Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn R. Schiraldi (2nd Ed. 2016, New Harbinger Publications, Inc.)
Hard on Self (Self-Critical)
Kind to Self
I’m intolerant of my weaknesses and anything short of perfection.
I acknowledge flaws and weaknesses and accept myself.
I see myself as a problem to be fixed and focus on fixing myself. I often feel shame and impatiently demand improvements (“Do more, faster, better.)
I’m patient and understanding with my imperfections, I focus on being happier and growing and improving.
I feel like I’m the only one going through this.
I know that everyone suffers and struggles with feelings of inadequacy; lots of people feel as I do.
I blame myself.
I try to understand how difficult things can be and then do my best.
Danielle Forth (visit: wwww.ctrinstitute.com for more info) encourages us: You might also consider using the “ABC” model to manage your thoughts and feelings:
A = Actual event or situation. State the actual situation that brought on the feelings you’re experiencing.
B = Beliefs. Describe your thoughts and beliefs about the situation that create the emotions and behaviors.
C = Challenge. Dispute the negative thoughts and replace them with accurate and positive statements about occasions when you’ve tried something new or accomplished what you tried.
Kristin Neff (visit: www.self-compassion.org for more exercises) reminds us to “… stop judging and evaluating ourselves altogether. To stop trying to label ourselves as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and simply accept ourselves with an open heart. To treat ourselves with the same kindness, caring and compassion we would show to a good friend – or even a stranger, for that matter.
Your brain believes your body is physically experiencing your thoughts in that moment and associated feelings and emotions surface. Redirect your thoughts/brain back to the present moment.
Reminder … Thoughts Are Not Facts.
TOP THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER FOR SELF CARE:
- Be kind to yourself. (Take the time to cry, sleep, nourish your body, talk & reminisce.)
- Ask for help/support when you need it. (Lower your expectations, you don’t need to do everything at 100% capacity, get done what you are able to do – prioritize & get support.)
- Trust yourself to heal and grow at your own pace. (Consider visiting your doctor or healthcare provider if you are having difficulty with nutrition, sleeping, or are feeling overwhelmed/hopeless over many days into weeks.)
Use your sense perception to ground yourself in the present moment:
- What three things do you see in your current environment (lamps, trees, etc)?
- What three things do you physically feel (your feet on the floor, bottom on chair, etc.)?
- What do you taste (coffee, tea, toothpaste)?
- What do you smell (air freshener, office supplies, fresh air)?
- What do you hear (cars outside, birds chirping, TV or other electronics, etc.)?
GROUNDING & CALMING YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM
Focus on the Breath … Slowly inhale through your nose (if it helps, say in your mind “inhale”), hold your breath for a count of 3 seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth (if it helps, say in your mind “exhale”).
Taking deep breaths helps to ease physical sensations created by anxiety and intense feelings. It is a strategy to use to feel more empowered, and less scattered or out of control feeling.
Self-Talk Exercise … Talking positively and encouragingly to ourselves is a strategy often used by athletes. When you are having intense feelings (fear, anxiety, anger/rage, feeling overwhelmed, etc.)
Try these phrases, or others that make sense to you, in order to ground yourself and become centered.
TAKE A DEEP, SLOW BREATH AND SAY TO YOURSELF:
“It’s okay to struggle and have difficulties, everyone goes through these feelings at times.”
“I believe that I am able to calm myself.”
“Even though I’m feeling overwhelmed, I know I’m safe in this moment in time.”
“My body may be remembering trauma that happened in the past, but I am okay.”
“Scary thoughts and memories are just thoughts and memories, they are not reality.”
“I believe I will be okay. I am okay. I will take deep breaths and slow myself down.”
Distress Centre Durham 905-430-2522 www.distresscentredurham.com
Durham Mental Health Services 905-666-0483 Crisis www.dmhs.ca
Information Durham (Research this database for resources) Information Durham can now be found at: durham.211central.ca
Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000 www.ontario.ca>page>mental-health
Bereavement Ontario Network 519-290-0219 www.bereavementontarionetwork.ca
MindBeacon.com – free Ontario Therapist Guided Program
TAKE NOTE of people and places that you consider part of your support network.
Research some apps that you might like and that feel comfortable to you. Some suggestions include:
Insight Timer (meditations and affirmations), Pacifica (anxiety-regulating), PTSD Coach Canada (tools and tracking to handle stress). Explore others yourself or ask friends and family for their suggestions.
BOOKS & WEBSITES: Be curious, research what’s available to you!
Just One Thing, developing the buddha brain one simple practice at a time Rick Hanson
Taming the Tiger Within: Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions by Thick Nhat Hanh
The Self-Esteem Workbook, Glenn R. Schiraldi (Embrace your Strength, Conquer Self-Doubt)
Visit your local place of worship (most have websites) for their recommendations & to make connections.