Visual Exercises For Letting Go Of Throughts

 

Visual Exercises For Letting Go Of Thoughts


Letting go of negative thoughts can be very hard at times. Sometimes it helps to just visualize your thoughts leaving your mind in different ways rather than sitting there and dwelling on them. Overthinking will just make things worse in the end.

Here are a few visualization exercises to try to help let go of your negative thoughts (from the book 30 Minute Therapy for Anxiety):

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Keeping A Gratitude Journal

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Keeping A Gratitude Journal


The Dictionary.com definition of Gratitude is: the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. Keeping a gratitude journal of positive experiences can help us remember the good things that have happened to us on our worst day. Even when we are having a bad day, it is good to be able to pick out what you are thankful for. Try to write between at least 3-5 gratitude journal entries a day. 
Keeping a gratitude journal is linked to being a more positive and happier individual in the long run when continued regularly. Just like anything with mental health, you have to keep at it.  
5 SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE JOURNAL Here is an article I found regarding the benefits of creating one. It’s very simple. Just follow this layout and example below;

Samantha’s Gratitude Journal

Monday

  1.  The sunset I got to see last night.
  2. My mom lent me $20 when I needed gas money really bad.
  3. Not getting stuck in traffic.
  4. [your gratitude]
  5. [your gratitude]

Tuesday

  1. The neighbor that held the door open for me when I almost dropped the groceries.
  2. Getting a new follower on my blog.
  3. Getting 8 hours of sleep.
  4. Getting out of the house today.
  5. [your gratitude]

Wednesday

  1. [your gratitude]
  2. [your gratitude]
  3. [your gratitude]
  4. [your gratitude]
  5. [your gratitude]

Thursday

  1. [your gratitude]
  2. [your gratitude]
  3. [your gratitude]
  4. [your gratitude]
  5. [your gratitude]

Friday

  1. [your gratitude]
  2. [your gratitude]
  3. [your gratitude]
  4. [your gratitude]
  5. [your gratitude]

Saturday

  1. [your gratitude]
  2. [your gratitude]
  3. [your gratitude]
  4. [your gratitude]
  5. [your gratitude]

Sunday

  1. The shooting star I saw.
  2. My dog cuddling with me.
  3. My boyfriend talking with me.
  4. [your gratitude]
  5. [your gratitude]

 This is a basic layout of a gratitude journal, and instead of [your gratitude], you would actually fill it out. 

This is one of those simple things in life that could benefit you in the end, so why not give it a try. At least once.

I hope this helps someone out there.

-Samantha♥

 

How To Counter A Negative Automatic Thing

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How To Counter A Negative Automatic Thought

Automatic thoughts are the first things, or thoughts, that come to our mind when something happens. Sometimes, these thoughts happen so quickly we don’t even realize they are happening until the negative thought is stuck in our head, and then we don’t know how to get rid of that negative thought once it’s there.

The easiest thing to do is try to counter it. If you spend a lot of time absorbed in negative thoughts, you are not always going to believe the counter, at first, but with time and practice, you will eventually start to realize the truth in those counters.

I am going to show you very simple counters with examples:

There will be three rows:

  • Trigger

  • Automatic Thought

  • New Thought

Here are the examples below:


  • Trigger: I made a mistake at work.
  • Automatic Thought: I am probably going to be fired. I always mess up. This is it. I am not good at my job.
  • New Thought: I messed up, but mistakes happen. I am going to work through this like I always do.

  • Trigger: I got into a fight with my boyfriend.
  • Automatic Thought: He’s going to leave me, everyone leaves me.
  • New Thought: We have gotten in plenty of fights before. I am catastrophising this. We only fought about who has to put gas in the car, he will not leave me over this.

  • Trigger: I  got a speeding ticket.
  • Automatic Thought: I am going to lose my license.
  • New Thought: It’s only one ticket. It’s seriously not the end of the world. I will make a payment arrangement on the fine tomorrow.

 

That is pretty much all there is too. It is just taking that negative automatic thought, and switching it around, making it logical instead of emotional. It takes a lot of practice. You can even create a notebook, or automatic though log and keep track of your progress.

Preparing For Your Psych Appointment

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Preparing For Your Psych Appointment

Most people don’t bother preparing for their appointments because either they don’t see the point in it, they think it’s a waste of time, or they think they already know everything they want to mention. But how many times have you left an appointment and thought, “Oh man, I completely forgot to mention that!” or “Oh, yeah I need a refill on that!” I know I have done it plenty of times before I actually started jotting down notes on things I want or need to mention. My mom had been trying to get me do this for years and then one day after forgetting to mention a really important side effect it finally clicked. So thank you for that mom!

Now that almost everyone has smartphones glued to their faces, all you have to do is create a list of things you should mention or bring up during your next appointment right in your phone’s memo or notepad. Lists and memos are not just for our parents and grandparents anymore. If you want to take change or your own health then this is something that you should really start getting in the habit of doing. 

Just because I am labeling this is “Preparing For A Psych Appointment” does not mean that you cannot apply this to any other appointment you may have as well.

Creating a list of notes for your upcoming appointment is probably the best thing you could do to avoid leaving anything out. There’s no harm in being too thorough.

Here’s an example of what my list would look like:

  1. Medication Issues
    • Side Effects
    • Decreased Effectiveness
    • Noticing No Changes (especially with new meds)
    • Have I started/stopped any meds?
      • What Over-the-counter meds am I taking?
      • Has a different provider (Family Doctor, Neurologist, Etc..) started me on a new med?
  2. Mood Changes
    • New/Worsening Symptoms
    • If I am having “episodes” and for how long?
      • Such as an actual Manic or Depressive episode.
  3. Self-Injurious Behaviors +/-
  4. How many hours am I sleeping on average?
  5. Any notable appetite changes?
  6. Any psychosis/hallucinations?
  7. Any dissociative episodes?
  8. Any Insurance/Income Changes?
  9. Any Major Life Events?
    • Major Life Events should be noted because these could affect mood and overall well-being. (This includes, but is not limited too; Divorce, Marriage, Job Change/Loss, Move, Death in the family, Pregnancy, etc…)
  10. Noticeable weight change?
  11. Are there any bothersome physical issues?
    • Dizziness, Headaches, etc…

 

This may seem like an extensive list, but too much information for a doctor to have is never a bad thing. It is always best to cover your bases when it comes to your health, especially your mental health. Not only does your mental health affect your mind, but it can affect your body as well.

Now, my list won’t necessarily look like your list. Everyone is different and has their own unique bases to cover. I just happen to have a lot of issues to generally discuss during my appointments. After dealing with my mental health for over 15 years, I try to get the most out of every appointment because my main goal is recovery and getting better. I try to utilize my time and make sure I keep my doctors informed so they can also keep track if they think I am making progress or regressing.

I hope someone can get some use out this. It’s definitely worth it. I wish I would have started making checklists for my appointments sooner. It would have saved me so much time, and so many unnecessary phone calls.

 

Creating a Self-Esteem Log

Creating a Self-Esteem Log

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Self-esteem is a big issue for many people. I know it is for me, always has been, and probably always will be. Baby steps are necessary, and the little things really do help. Creating a weekly self-esteem log can help build it up a little piece at a time. You can either create it in a notebook or in a word document. You can follow this format, or create your own.

Here is the basic outline.


Monday:

Something I did well today…

Today I had fun when…

I felt proud when…


Tuesday:

Today I accomplished…

I had a positive experience with…

Something I did for someone…


Wednesday:

I felt good about myself when…

I was proud of someone when…

Today was interesting because…


Thursday:

I felt proud when…

A positive thing I witnessed…

Today I accomplished…


Friday:

Something I did well today…

I had a positive experience with (a person, place, or thing)…

I was proud of someone when…


Saturday:

A positive thing I witnessed…

Today was interesting because…

I felt proud when…


Sunday:

Today I had fun when…

Something I did for someone…

I felt good about myself when…


 

Creating an Impulse Control Log in Place of Self-Injury

You can create an Impulse Control Log notebook if your goal is to try to distract yourself from self-injury, or you want to limit it, or even try to stop it all together. You can even create one on the notepad on your smartphone or tablet if you are on the go. Do whatever is going to be best for you. Self-injury is a highly judged and misunderstood coping mechanism that many people resort to when dealing with their feelings, emotional pain and trauma for many different reasons. It was a very addictive behavior and can be just as addictive as drugs and alcohol.

The whole topic of self-injury is for another day, but here are the steps to create an Impulse Control Log. It really does help and I know from personal experiences. I have been using the Impulse Control Log of the S.A.F.E. (Self Abuse Finally i) Alternatives App that I purchased for $0.99 on Google Play awhile back.I was skeptical at first, but I found it distracts me long enough, a good majority of the time, for the urge to pass.

All you need is one page at a time for one entry. I am going to put the question that you need to answer in bold along with the examples that the app uses (and my example answers in parentheses.).

So here it goes:

  • Time & Date: (6:18am 5/30/17)
  • ACTING OUT/SELF INJURY THOUGHT: (e.g. cutting, running away) (cutting, drinking, getting high)
  • LOCATION: (livingroom @ home)
  • SITUATION: (e.g. Got into a fight with my best friend) (got into a big fight with my boyfriend and I threw the microwave at him)
  • FEELING: (angry, scared, crazy, frustrated)
  • WHAT WOULD BE THE RESULT OF SELF-INJURY: (e.g. more scars, loss of trust of family and friends) (more scars, feeling relieved, having to explain how I got hurt again.)
  • ACTION TAKEN: How were your thoughts/feelings communicated or coped with? (I journaled, I tried deep breathing, I did my impulse control log, I called a friend)
  • OUTCOME: (I noticed my urges decreased, I still wanted to cut but didn’t. Or if you don’t know the outcome will play out you can always come back to it later and log in like this: “@6:31am I Cut / @6:31am I feel better…etc..)

 

 

**Please Note: Like I mentioned earlier. The Impulse Control Log is Technique I found through S.A.F.E. Alternatives. You can check out more information about them on their website HERE.**

Coping Techniques For Anxiety, Panic Attacks, PTSD, Etc…

Coping Techniques For Anxiety, Panic Attacks, PTSD, Etc…

By: Samantha Steiner


  • Describe the area you are in, in detail. (Pink walls, three purple chairs, 1 flat screen TV, etc…)
  • Play a categories game. (Types of cars; Honda, Jeep, etc.)
  • Describe an activity in detail with all the steps, like how to make a PB&J Sandwich. (Get the bread, open the bread, take out two slices of bread, etc…)
  • Keep repeating that you are safe. Say something like, “My name is Samantha, and I am safe right now. No one is going to hurt me. I am safe.” And say it over and over again.
  • Say the alphabet and count in between very S-L-O-W-L-Y. “A… 1… 2… 3… B… 1… 2… 3… C…”
  • Say a kind statement or affirmation. “I am a good person.” “I am worthy.”
  • Say the Serenity Prayer over and over again, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Or any other saying that you really like.
  • Remember a place that you felt safe and try to describe it to yourself.
  • Think of a relaxing place and describe it to yourself using your senses. As an example, think of a sunny deserted beach. Think of how the ocean would smell, the peace that you would have, the feel of the sun on your skin, or the ocean water creeping up your legs.
  • Saying a coping type statement like, “This will pass “or “I can handle this.”
  • Picture people you care about or love and describe what they look like to yourself. Imagine their voice saying kind things to you.
  • Run cool water over your hands.
  • Touch random objects that are around you and compare them. What is the weight difference? Color Difference? Width/length difference?
  • Carry a “grounding” object in your pocket and rub it whenever you feel anxious or need to ground yourself. Or you can also rub a necklace that you are wearing for the same effect and take notice to the feel of the object. If is rough or soft? Cold or warm?
  • Walk slowly noticing each footstep.
  • Stretch and focus on how your muscles and body feel with each movement.
  • Eat something and describe the flavoring and texture.
  • Focus on your breathing, saying to yourself, “Breathe in,” on each inhale and, “Breathe out,” on each exhale.
  • Put some lotion on your hands and slowly rub it around but not all the way in. Think of your senses. How does it feel? How does it look? How does it smell? How do you think it would taste? When you rub it around, does it make a sound? You can do think with almost anything. All you have to do is apply your five senses.
  • Journal or write. Get your feelings out somehow. Holding your feelings in and stuffing them down is not good for you and can do more damage than good. Even if you only make a small list just naming your currents emotions, it is better than nothing.
  • Talk to a trusted friend of family member. Don’t talk to anyone that you think will judge you or your emotions because, honestly, who needs that when you’re not feeling well.
  • Try anything that may distract you. Try, TV, movies, music, reading, surfing the web, social media, literally anything!
  • Go far walk or exercise. Something physical that will help you get your mind off of what you are feeling emotionally. Even some light stretching can help.
  • Cuddle with a pet! Pets have been shown to help improve mood and mental health.
  • Look up jokes. Anything that will make you laugh can’t be bad for you.
  • Look for support sites such as; supportgroups.com ; www.mydepressionteam.com ; www.phychcentral.com and so on
  • Write a gratitude list which is anything that you are grateful for. I know that it is hard to find things that you are grateful for when you are not feeling well so you can keep it simple. Aren’t you grateful you can see? Or hear? Or read? Or pick your nose? Whatever you would like to add, add it!
  • Deep breathing.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation. (I will make a post on the steps for how to do this soon. For now, you can always search for the steps.)
  • Create a list of at least 3-5 positive quotes and keep them on you. You can put the list in your wallet or purse and anytime you starto get stressed out read the list over and over again to help keep yourself calm. One of the quotes on my list is, “Don’t worry, be happy!”

This is only a list of some things to try. If none of these work for you try searching for different coping techniques. What works for one person might not work for someone else, and what works for you one day might also not work for you the next.

Coping techniques are something that needs to be practiced regularly and not just in the moment. The more you practice them the more effect they are when you need them the most.

If you have any techniques that you personally use that are not listed on her please leave them in the comments sections to help out other peoples when they are in need.

 

Remember, sharing is caring!

What you can try to do Instead of Self-Injuring

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What you can try to do Instead of Self-Injuring

If you are a self-injurer and you are looking for alternatives to your method of harming (we’ll say cutting since that is my first choice) here is a list of alternatives to try before picking, let’s say, a razor.

  • Use the S.A.F.E. Alternatives App (or Paper version—which can be found on the S.A.F.E. Alternatives Website) for their Impulse Control Log—which can be purchased on Google Play for Android for $0.99.
  • Wear a rubber band or elastic hair tie around your wrist and snap it against your skin whenever you get the urge to cut.
  • Put an ice cube against your skin to numb it to help mimic the sensation of cutting.
  • Text the Crisis text line and you can tell them that you have the urge to self-harm and that you just need to be talked through it. The number to text is: 741741. (You DO NOT need to worry about anyone showing up to your house to “save you” they will just walk you through the urges.)
  • Name the things that you see in the room you are in with as much detail as possible to focus on something else.
  • Put lotion in your hand and focus on your senses. How does it feel? How does it smell? How does it look? (The last two are odd but—) What do you think it would sound like? Would do you think it would taste like? (PLEASE DO NOT actually eat the lotion unless it says it’s edible!)
  • Think of the ABC’s and a word that represents each letter. (Ex. A= Apple, B=Banana, etc…)
  • Instead of cutting, draw on your skin with a red marker to simulate blood and cutting.
  • Go to the “Self-Harm” forum at PsychCentral.com.
  • Go to supportgroups.com and go to the self-injury forum.
  • Comment on this blog post about your urge to self-harm. You can put anything you want from your triggers, to how your feeling. Remember this is a judgment free zone and I do not judge anyone for any reason because I know how it feels to be judged. After all, I am a cutter myself, and have been for 18 years!
  • If you would like to keep your urges to self-harm more confidential you can always email me. BipolarLove86@gmail.com

I hope this helps someone out there to not cut for at least one more moment. I know how it feels and I know the struggle is real.