There are many ways to help you cope with mental illness. No matter what you struggle with there are ways you can put yourself in control, rather than be controlled.
In our last post, Introducing Coping Strategies, we mentioned a few of the standard strategies you could put in place such as sleep, meditation, medication and exercise. But these are all well known. As we are all programmed differently we may need to look and experiment with more obscure methods in order to find the right balance. So let’s check out a few…
Mental illness can create many thoughts in that brain of yours. Sometimes this may become overwhelming. Why not try a quick way to get some of those thoughts out. The concept is simple, and will take a very little amount of your time. Grab a pen, grab a piece of paper and just write until the page is full. The important thing is to not stop and think. Just write what comes immediately to you. You might start with writing the same word repeatedly, it might not even make sense, but who cares. We aren’t looking for a novel, its just filling a page with ink!
This is not journaling, it’s nothing you need to share and punctuation can be thrown out the window.
It’s easy to forget gratitude in life. The ability to breathe unaided might be expected from most of us but it’s still a gift of life. It’s easy to take things for granted. So how about writing a daily list of what you are grateful for? This can be anything big or small, might be one thing or might be 10. You may write the same things each day, you may write more one day than others. It’s about thinking differently and encouraging your positive side to break through.
Give it a try, the list may grow and grow!
Getting up in the morning isn’t a very positive experience. You’re groggy, probably want that extra snooze time and it takes a little time for you to fully engage with the world.
It’s time to mix things up.
The start of your day normally has an impact on how the rest of your day goes. Don’t let your first words be “I’m Tired”. Instead, get up, go to the nearest mirror and tell yourself and the world “I’m going to have a great day”. Maybe add a smile in there too!
There’s often a lot of pressure to talk to others when your mental health deteriorates. But maybe you’re not ready to talk. Maybe you’re not ready to hear opinions. Sometimes letting something out without receiving anything back can help. Now you could get a pet, but that that’s a bit drastic. Instead, buy a plant, give it a name and be kind with water. Talk to it, it might feel a bit odd the first time but stick with it.
Ever watched the film Castaway with Tom Hanks? His best friend was a football called Wilson. If you haven’t watched it, watch it! Warning though, it gets slightly emotional so remember to keep a tissue nearby.
The number of strategies out there in this world is huge, and you’d be here for a while if we listed them all. What’s important is too experiment and explore. Take yourself out of your comfort zone a little and test waters you wouldn’t normally test. Try different things and create something which works for you. Try to keep track of what you are trying. Keep a journal and note down how each makes you feel. Maybe rate them out of 10. Whatever works for you.
Coping Strategies won’t find you, you need to find them!
If you have something you want to say about mental health send us a pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep your pitches to less than 150 words and tell us what content you want to make and why you want to make it. It can be anything, from a poem, to an article, to a video, to a piece of artwork – we’re just after stories to tell. We can keep things anonymous if you’d like and we’ll help you to edit your piece then get it up on the blog.
Mental Health can affect us in many different ways. It’s not just the number of different mental illnesses out there, but the fact we are all programmed differently means the same illness may affect different people in entirely different ways.
Those affected may deny, may accept, may embrace and they may experience different symptoms for the same mental illness. You could make a list, but it would go on and on. No matter what bracket you fall under there are a number of ‘things’ that we do to help us cope with whatever life throws at us. Take a minute to reflect on the following and see if you can think of any more:
These are all strategies we use to overcome daily challenges or requirements driven by what our body is telling us.
Coping with mental illness is no different. It’s your brain requiring something, and there will be ‘things’ you can do to help. These ‘things’ can be referred to as ‘coping strategies’. These could be sleep, meditation, medication or exercise to name just a few. Some won’t work, some may work only on occasions, and some may work all the time. It’s important not to ignore the feelings you have, or the warning signs. It’s important you do something to help yourself.
It’s easy to confuse coping strategies with safety behaviours or ‘emotional avoidance behaviours’. For example, if you are anxious about going to a social event your safety behaviour might be to not attend. A coping strategy could be used to overcome that safety behaviour to give you the courage to attend and there are a number of well known strategies.
The great thing about coping strategies? They can be tried and tested anywhere, at any time. They put you in control and you can experiment with different ones as you please. Even if they don’t work, at least you’re stimulating the mind trying. No experience is a waste.
If you have something you want to say about mental health send us a pitch to email@example.com Keep your pitches to less than 150 words and tell us what content you want to make and why you want to make it. It can be anything, from a poem, to an article, to a video, to a piece of artwork – we’re just after stories to tell. We can keep things anonymous if you’d like and we’ll help you to edit your piece then get it up on the blog.