It’s Thursday, and that means time to revisit a post from the past. For this Throwback Thursday (#TBT) I decided to share with you some coping skills for immediate distress relief. You can read the original, from May 5, 2009, and comments here.
Anxious? Depressed? Stressed? Overwhelmed by trauma memories? You will want to do things to help yourself feel better as quickly as possible, without doing anything that has negative consequences. It takes time to recover but there are simple things you can do right now.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation has a profound impact on mood. Are you getting enough restful sleep? If not, consider these basic sleep hygiene guidelines
- Practice deep breathing, relaxation or guided imagery. Deep breathing can be practiced anywhere and can immediately shift your mood, help decrease anxiety. I like Belleruth Naparstek’s guided imagery. She even has a free audio spa treatment . An Internet search can help you find other options that works for you.
- Smell something. Our sense of smell can evoke emotions and connect us vividly to past experiences. Choose a scent that conjures up positive associations, happiness, well-being. Many find lavender to be calming, for example.
- Connect to nature. Being in nature can help people get out of themselves, connect with something larger or feel more grounded. Exposure to natural light helps mood as well. Live in the city? You can still do it: watch birds, feed squirrels, plant a container garden, notice the sunset or sunrise. Do you have a pet? Can you spend time with a friend’s? Animals are a great source of unconditional love and companionship.
- Do something physical. Research shows that physical activity relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety while also helping with insomnia. You don’t have to think of it as “exercise”, just move in a way you enjoy. Walking your dog, dancing, biking, gardening, yoga are all options. Join a team and also accomplish #6.
- Connect to others. We all need human connection. Do you have supportive friends you can reach out to? If not, explore in-person or online support groups, classes, activities.
- Seek professional help. Sometimes the ideas above are not enough or there are reasons you cannot put them into practice. Even taking the first step towards seeking help can be a relief. You do not have to struggle alone. Contact me and I can help you with the next steps.