Imagery– Imagine a happy time, hurtful emotions draining from you, very relaxing scenes, etc.
Meaning– Find purpose in a painful situation
Prayer– open your heart and/or turn things over to God
Relaxing– Breathe deeply, yoga, drink hot milk, take a bath, etc.
One thing in the moment– Do one thing and focus on it
Vacation– No phone, go to a park or beach, get a magazine, eat candy…
Self-Encouragement- “This too shall pass.” Cheerlead yourself! “I can do this!”
IMPROVE: ONE THING IN THE MOMENT:
From my list: When I focus on God I:
- Live in the light of His Presence.
God wants us to be happy and to have fulfilling lives and He wants to be a part of it! If we are all consumed with what we are going through, we miss the wonder around us, and even when God touches us to look away from our problems we find it hard to do so.
This coping step is all about enjoying the moment, right now, this thing that I am now doing! Don’t give in to the run-on thoughts of all your problems. Even as your thoughts are firing one after another you are physically doing something. Even if that thing is lying in bed with your head under the covers! Let your mind focus on the feel of the sheets, the softness of the pillow. Thank God that you have a bed and just “be” in the moment. Hear your breath and relax your muscles.
Focusing on the physical takes your mind out of your head. I know some people who choose an exercise in which they look for and name one item of furniture, one item of a certain color and one item that they can hear or smell. They may repeat this process a few times. By pinpointing these items, they leave the thoughts they were thinking and think about something new.
I recently posted a Mindfulness exercise Mindfulness Anywhere in which I recount my feelings and emotions about going to a meeting. I am semi-agoraphobic (Is that a thing?) so going places is always hard for me. I was volunteering to design and build a float for an upcoming local parade. In order to do this, I have to leave the house! Ugh.
I was nervous about the meeting-even though I knew everyone that would be there. It was a safe place. But I still didn’t want to go, but I had to. No calling in sick or making excuses. Earlier that morning I tried to run excuses through my mind that would be plausible; nada.
I prayed that I would find the meeting fulfilling. I prayed that God would give me courage to get out there.
I got in my car, a sick feeling inside. I turned the car on and put it in drive. As I was driving, my leg was shaking up and down like a moth’s wings. I could not get rid of the dread. I told my leg to stop and it occurred to me that I could practice Mindfulness even in the car. Mindfulness Anywhere! I called it in my brain.
As usual, I started with my breath, breathing deeply from my tummy. I recalled that the DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy) skill called One-Mindfulness was part of the IMPROVE skill I was currently writing about on my blog. The skill is to focus on one thing in the moment.
So I focused on my driving. I focused on the road in front of me, the car in front of me, the sights on the sides of the road. When I leg started shaking, I willed it to stop and went back to my breathing.
Believe me, this worked like magic! (It doesn’t always, so don’t be discouraged if you try and it isn’t “magic”) When I got to my meeting I was the first one there and I felt centered, able to complete this task. So I spent a few minutes jotting down my experience in the Notes section of my phone. Then later, I posted One-Mindfulness Anywhere on my blog.
One-mindfulness by first focusing on your breath pull your attention to your center. I feel the nervousness and agitation usually starts in my center, so it makes sense that to calm that area would help to alleviate the symptoms. I am able to feel the light of God’s presence and I feel faith take wing in my being.