In my last post I shared with you the first few skills in Wise Mind ACCEPTS and I shared my self-made Distracting. You can make your own chart. I’m not saying it works 100% of the time, but these things have helped me get through some tough times and it’s another tool for your tool belt! As Romans 12:2 states transform the way you think.
I shared the first three skills (Activities, Contributing and Comparisons). In this post I will cover the last four distracting skills: Emotions, Pushing a thought away, Thoughts and Sensations.
Emotions: Do something that will create a compelling Emotion. On my list I have “watch a scary movie, a comedy show or look at cute dog Tweets.” This is a form of opposite action. Find something that may cause you to feel the opposite of what you are feeling.
Sometimes if I’m blue and lethargic I watch The Big Bang Theory which always gives me a laugh. Now, I won’t lie, sometimes I watch it in bed in the middle of the day. I just can’t get out of bed, but I can watch something there that might elevate my mood so I want to get out of bed!
Sometimes I don’t even want to read my devotions I’m so depressed. But I read 1 John 1:5 which tells me that “God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.” I feel that it is my duty to read my devotions everyday. I think, “it is the least I can do for God when He does so much for me.” But God doesn’t want me to read His Word for Him, He wants me to read it for ME. Darkness can’t exist in the light. There is always a tidbit of inspiration or just a verse that makes me smile or one that lights up my mind about something I didn’t know before.
So for me, opposite action might be as easy as reading the Bible, to turn my dark to light.
Pushing the thought away: My therapist suggested I make a box and put my worries in it to think about at another time. I picked a date and said “I’m not going to worry about this until November 29th.” When the negative thoughts came around I just wrote it down and put it in the box. Once I solved the problem, I burnt each of the papers in the box and then threw the box away.
Here is where giving the problem to God can be a boundless coping skill. Pray fiercely as you lay your burden at His feet. Then, cast it away! You’ve heard people say, “It’s in God’s hands.” Well, your burden really is! You’ve just given it to Him, now let it go. When it comes back (and it will, it’s just human nature) remind yourself that “God ‘s taking care of that.” That not only releases it from you, but also shows God that you have complete faith in him!
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” 1Peter 5:7
God doesn’t want us to worry. He would rather that we have faith that He will provide as He wraps us in His arms of protection. He knows our tomorrows and promises to prepare us for them. Instead, He would rather we spend time with Him in praise and thanksgiving.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
And then all these things will be given to you too.
So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself
Living faithfully is a large enough task for today!”
Matthew 6:33-34 VOICE
I found the Compass Study Bible VOICE at a second hand bookstore and I LOVE this translation. It is written in story language and yet is filled with background information within the verses that is interesting, uplifting and informative. I love reading the backstories associated with my verses! (had to share).
Thoughts: When emotions take over focus on your thoughts. Recite song lyrics out loud. Count things or repeat a prayer over and over. I like The Lord’s Prayer for this because it’s one I know by heart. And of course, my tried and true: Breathe in “Praise” Breathe out “Jesus.”
The idea here is to bring down the emotion, so you can resist action urges. If you are angry you might say things that will hurt others. If you are crying hysterically you may hyperventilate. If you are sad, you may want to blur the feeling by using substances. This coping skill is simply to make you feel better so you don’t hurt yourself or others.
Lastly, in Wise Mind ACCEPTS is Sensation: Find safe physical sensations to combat strong negative emotions. A bubble bath with lovely scent like lavender. Cold water or ice on your wrists or forehead can bring down anxiety or intense tears. The cold actually slow your heart-rate bringing down panic. If your uptight, listen to very loud music.
Yesterday, my daughter was going through a big problem. She phoned me and was hysterical! She was afraid of something that might happen in response to something she did. No matter how much I talked to her I couldn’t get her to stop crying. I could barely understand her words through the sobs. Nothing I said was getting through to her.
She had an iced coffee with her and I asked her to take the ice and put it on her forehead or wrists. I knew by experience that this DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy) technique called TIP (The “T” being for change temperature) can physiologically take down her heartbeat and help calm her. It worked within a minute and her sobs lessened. She paired this with deep breaths (she had learned this through meditating).
Soon she was able to think more clearly and plan out what to do. God made our bodies so intricately!
Going through hard times doesn’t just affect our mood and physiology, it can affect us spiritually. So stay close to the Lord and all in all, just try to do something to feel better that is safe and positive.