coping tips

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    Community Voices

    Don’t give up. #CPTSD

    <p>Don’t give up. <a class="tm-topic-link ugc-topic" title="Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder" href="/topic/cptsd/" data-id="5b23ce7300553f33fe990854" data-name="Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder" aria-label="hashtag Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder">#CPTSD</a> </p>
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    Megan Glosson

    Useful Distress Tolerance Techniques and How to Use Them

    In my opinion, one of the most difficult parts of living with a mental health condition like borderline personality disorder (BPD) is dealing with intense emotions. When unregulated, emotions like sadness, anger, or heartache can cause physical and emotional distress, which can quickly spiral into a crisis situation. However, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides an abundance of distress tolerance skills that can help you deal with intense emotions and avoid spiraling into crisis. There are five of my favorites, along with some explanation as to how I use them. 1. Temperature Dialectical behavior therapy uses many acronyms to help participants remember the skills they learn through each group session. One of those acronyms is TIPP, and the T stands for “temperature.” For this, you use ice or cold water to essentially trick your brain into engaging in the dive reflex , which naturally relaxes the body when it senses cold temperatures. How I Use It: When my automatic thoughts get the better of me, I can quickly spiral into a state of dysregulation thanks to the fear and anxiety I feel. As soon as I catch myself doing this, I head to my freezer and grab an ice pack to stick on my forehead while holding my breath for 15 to 30 seconds. If I’m out in a public place where ice packs aren’t available, then I usually either use a cold beverage from a fridge or go to the bathroom and use cold water from the sink. 2. Willing Hands “Willing Hands” is another emotion regulation tool that plays on the connection between your body and your mind. It’s a pose that “tricks” your brain into thinking a situation isn’t as distressing as you may think because your hands are open and “willing” to accept the situation. To perform “Willing Hands,” you simply stretch your arms away from your body, turn your palms upward, and open your hands. How I Use It: Willing Hands help me navigate difficult situations where my emotions tell me to shut down or disengage. I use Willing Hands when I need to be assertive and express my needs to people who normally intimidate me. I also use this skill to push through something uncomfortable, like facing fears related to my trauma history. 3. Paced Breathing Paced breathing is one of the Ps in TIPP. It involves purposely slowing your breath while you focus on the amount of time you spend breathing in and out. It’s great for situations where you feel anxious or overwhelmed but can’t escape the moment. It’s also a great grounding technique people use when they dissociate. How I Use It: I love paced breathing because it’s a skill I can use virtually anywhere for any reason. I often use it when I begin to feel angry or upset but know that an emotional response will make the situation even worse. I use it when people argue with me, when traffic makes me angry, or when I feel overwhelmed during the work day. My favorite paced breathing exercise to use is square breathing (also called box breathing) because it’s a simple pattern my brain can jump into without much thought required. To do it, you simply imagine a square and use your breath to move through all four sides, breathing in, holding, breathing out, and holding. 4. Self-Soothing As the name implies, self-soothing is a distress tolerance coping skill in which you comfort yourself to lower the intensity of your emotions. Self-soothing can involve any of the five senses and often mimics soothing techniques we found calming as children. How I Use It: Because my primary love language is physical touch, I often use self-soothing techniques in situations where I feel overwhelmed by sadness or loneliness and need a bit of comfort. I sometimes run my fingers across the flame tattoo on my right wrist or hug a pillow. I also will suck on hard candy or play with a metal slinky and forms of self-soothing since those activities involve multiple senses. 5. Alternate Rebellion Although most distress tolerance skills aim to replace impulsivity and emotion mind with something calming, alternate rebellion is a tool that can help you achieve that feeling of defiance or impulsivity without reinforcing destructive behaviors. In other words, you channel the feelings behind your distress into an activity that is “rebellious” but benign, like dyeing your hair or turning up your music to a point that could be considered disruptive. How I Use It: In the early stages of my recovery, I frequently used alternate rebellion activities like driving with my windows down and playing loud music in place of unhealthy coping skills like self-harm or drinking in excess. I don’t use this one as much now, but I sometimes enjoy playing music and dancing in my bedroom Callie Torres-style when I really need to feel a rush of happy emotions. Coping skills are an incredible way to deal with overwhelming emotions. And, the truly beautiful thing about them is there are many options out there that you can try out and use as you see fit. Personally, these five distress tolerance skills are my favorites to use, and many of them have become a habit after years of regular utilization. How do you cope with overwhelming negative emotions? Let us know in the comments below.

    Community Voices

    How do you cope with flashbacks?

    Let's start a coping list thread #CopingTips

    Samantha Moss

    Coping With Changes and Loss With Chronic Illness

    When living with chronic illness and chronic pain, life may need a level of certainty. To a large degree, we may be able to create workable daily routines, manage our medications and medical appointments, and keep life ticking along so we maintain our equilibrium as much as possible. With that said, I actually love change. I even worked as a change management consultant for large organizations, and I was in my element in that role. Change doesn’t faze me. I’m trained to find solutions. I know and believe change is an opportunity — a chance to grow, develop, and learn. Given my past, you might think I would cope well with my ostomy appliance being discontinued or my mobile podiatrist no longer visiting my suburb, or my cleaner no longer being able to clean my home. Yes, it’s all happening at once. That’s life, though. Change can all come at once, and somehow, we may need to be equipped to deal with it — on top of managing our daily chronic illness challenges. The “Small” Challenges I have used my ostomy product since my stoma was formed just over eight years ago. It works perfectly for me. I love it. I’ve never had an issue with it. It is my security blanket. Having a stoma is a positive thing for me. My life before I got it was hard. My bowel was completely non-functioning due to a severe rectal prolapse. Just because I’m happy having a stoma doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. Having a stoma can create its own set of challenges. It may take a while to feel confident with it, and because I also have a rare, debilitating bone disease, I have a whole range of life-changing complexities to deal with. So seeing the words “Your product has been discontinued ” with regards to my ostomy product is beyond disconcerting. To be completely honest, it’s slightly terrifying. There are many excellent products available through numerous ostomy companies. Sounds good, doesn’t it? However, the array of choices available presents its own set of issues. To find the right product, I need to sample as many as possible. The process is exhausting — especially when I need to keep my regular routine in place to help manage my pain. I’ll get there, I’ll work through the process, and I’ll arrive at the point of accepting a new product. I’m sure before long, whichever ostomy appliance I choose will become my new “security blanket.” As I was contemplating my dilemma, I found myself saying, “ Oh well. Nothing lasts forever. ” Knowing Nothing Lasts Forever Change requires acceptance. Remembering that “nothing lasts forever” actually helped me to begin to focus my thoughts in a more positive way. I began to look beyond my current circumstances and think about the future. The one inevitable thing in life is change. My beautiful dad passed away a year ago. I couldn’t control it. His passing was inevitable. All I can do now is find ways to cope with the grief, remember the good times, and find a way to live again without him in my life. It’s a completely new chapter of my life. The whole cycle of life points to the fact that nothing lasts forever. Still, sometimes it’s the small changes in life that can cause us to crumble and feel as if everything is all too much. I think when this happens, it’s often because there are larger life-changing issues at play. Perhaps we are grappling with financial issues, relationship issues, the loss of a loved one, or health struggles. The list of things that worry us — and also present the need to make changes in our lives — are often complex and can eat away at us bit by bit if we don’t address them. Addressing the Life Changes How can we deal with the unexpected changes in our lives? As with almost anything, accepting change is a process. I like to keep the process simple — especially when I’m dealing with complex situations. My approach to any life-changing event is to start making time to stop and think. It’s often crucial to be deliberate and focused when dealing with change. Here’s the step-by-step process I follow. I hope it helps you find a way to cope with your own challenges with change: Find a quiet place to sit with a nice cuppa or other favorite drink. Have a notebook or your phone handy to jot down your thoughts. Ask yourself why this small change is making you feel so stressed. List other life events that are concerning you. It’s important to acknowledge these things now — even though you may be focused on “small” changes now. Read carefully through the concern list you’ve created. Ask yourself if you can do anything to start addressing some of the more “major” changes soon. Jot down some ideas next to each item. This may help you calm your mind and feel a sense of peace. You may realize you can maybe do something about your life changes. Create an action plan with a timeline — starting with your smaller struggles. Plans may take the uncertainty out of your situation. This can reduce your stress levels and help you think more clearly about the road ahead. As you think about the changes you’re facing, deliberately include in your action plan any positives that may come as a result of the changes. Even when grieving the loss of a loved one, a relationship breakdown, or a job loss, you may be able to find some peace. Sometimes we may feel we can’t give ourselves permission to be happy about some of the beneficial outcomes a major life change might bring. However, finding the positives may help us move forward. As you complete your action plan for the smaller challenges you’ve been struggling with, ask yourself if they are as “bad” as you first thought — especially when compared to the life changes on your “major challenges” list. You may just be overwhelmed by the larger events happening in your life I find that once I’ve used this process and been honest with myself, I realize that there are underlying issues causing me to feel overwhelmed when little things go haywire. I know I need to focus my energy on resolving the major issues in my life as soon as possible. I also remember I need to deal with the smaller issues now and reduce my stress levels. Once these are out of the way, I often have the emotional energy to address the more major stresses in my life. Resolving the Major Issues I’m not going to suggest resolving a major life changing issue is easy. However, I do know pushing it constantly to the side is not helpful, and it can cause health symptoms to be more intense. Stress increases pain. When living with chronic disease, having a peaceful life can make life easier. The process of listing your major life-changing events and jotting down ideas to begin to resolve them is a great starting point for ultimately managing the change process and relieving some stress. It often puts you in the driver’s seat and begins to give you a sense of control — particularly in a situation that may make you feel powerless. You may need assistance from others to help fully resolve your major challenges, but even acknowledging this and identifying who could help is a great starting point. At the end of the day, if little things are feeling like huge changes, it’s likely because more major issues are at play. Acknowledging this may help us “not sweat the small stuff” quite as much. Perspective is a wonderful tool to use when managing change. How I’m Practicing My Own Advice I’m going to take my own advice and acknowledge I’m deeply grieving the death of a loved one: my precious dad. As a result, the last thing I feel like dealing with is a change to my ostomy product and finding a new podiatrist and a new cleaner. However, in the big scheme of things, finding a new ostomy product and new people to help me is not a big deal, and I will find the right solution for my needs. A new chapter of my life is beginning — life without my dad and with a new care team. I’m even starting a new online volunteer role with a church I have been following on YouTube. Change can be exciting when new ventures present themselves. I’m going to keep reminding myself “nothing lasts forever” to cope with the changes. This isn’t entirely true, though. According to Saint Paul, there are three things that will last forever. These are three incredibly beautiful things to hold onto — no matter how much change bombards our lives. “Three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 I’ll always miss my dad, but I’m so grateful to have had him in my life. He showed me true love, and that will help me through all of the changes in my life.

    Community Voices

    Stress at Work #overwhelmed

    My boss is away sick again and it's just me in the office. This time of year is extremely busy and I am so stressed. I just want to curl up in a ball under my desk and cry and then take a nap. I'm already getting super anxious about her three week holiday in August.
    I'm trying to focus on one task at a time, but the phone keeps ringing and bringing me new urgent situations.
    I'm chewing some intensely minty gum and drinking very cold water to try to help me stay present and focus, but I'm not coping super well.

    #Work #Stress #Depression #Anxiety #emotionalabusesurvivor #narcissisticabusesurvivor #CopingTips

    11 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Coping Statements #coping

    <p>Coping Statements <a class="tm-topic-link ugc-topic" title="coping" href="/topic/coping/" data-id="5b6061cbb7d78300aeb1a55d" data-name="coping" aria-label="hashtag coping">#coping</a> </p>
    Community Voices

    Just a Rant

    I struggle with anxious/depressed thoughts that put me down. I often wish I could turn them off. Especially as my stress levels rise the constant thoughts flood my brain. The thoughts make me feel undeserving of happiness or compassion. It’s an ongoing battle that makes me feel alone. I want to have a clear mind and not be pulled down by my anxious thoughts. Or feel out of control. I need a friend sometimes to talk to so I feel less alone with my thoughts. I know in time I will figure out how to cope and be happy but for now I feel unhappy and uncertain. #sad #Anxiety #alone #CopingTips

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    Community Voices

    Feel free to post a thought ☺️

    We would like to hear how you're coping 😎🥳 #CopingTips

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    Community Voices


    I need a drink or a smoke or something! I can’t cope and other people can and I ha te it so much because if I give in to these cravings then I’ll be sick or my parents will kill me i need an alternative please #Schizophrenia #helpme #CopingTips

    Community Voices

    Finding a new normal while waiting for diagnosis #ChronicIlless #newnormal #CopingTips

    I've been "different" since January and waiting for a diagnosis on why I'm unwell. I finally accepted my new normal and am trying to restart/refresh my life while waiting for answers. Looking for tips on how to get back into life after a big change in health. How do you stay motivated? How do you improve focus? How do you take care of yourself emotionally? Looking for any advice. The biggest issues I have right now are brain fog and fatigue. (I need to do computer work for an internship at most).