Coping Skills, Positives

There are still good things even when you don’t see them

I’m on the train going to my family’s home for Thanksgiving and am noticing all the good things.

We rode past beautiful bays and beaches, over rivers emptying into the ocean, through forests of bare branches with sun streaming through.

A little girl, maybe 2 or 3, in a cute dress and white sweater walked down the aisle of the train while looking at a phone, like an adult, and bumped into someone. It was so cute. It made me smile, and the person across the aisle from me (the one the little girl bumped into) saw me smiling and smiled, too.

I texted a bunch of friends I haven’t spoken to in a while. Scrolling through my recent text messages, I can see people from middle school, high school, college, my summer program, and my family. All these nice friends! I’m so glad I have all these great people in my life, even if I don’t see them that often.

The guy sitting next to me apologized after being on the phone for a while (which didn’t bother me at all) and asked if I’d mind if he ate lunch. It was very nice to be treated so politely and considerately.

I’ve been thinking more about gratitude lately since it’s Thanksgiving time. This year I have been making a real effort to pay attention to the good things.

At the beginning of the new year, I saw a BuzzFeed post that mentioned keeping a calendar of good things, or something like that. I liked the idea, and I’ve been actually following through on it, for the most part. I have a calendar with nice pictures hanging on my wall, and each day I write down one good thing that happened in gold sharpie (or green sharpie more recently because my gold ran out).

I don’t put pressure on myself to decide on the best thing that happened that day; just one good thing is enough. Sometimes it’s a good dance class, or someone saying something nice about me, or a yummy dessert I ate, or laughing at something. Some days, or weeks, I forget to fill it out, but that’s okay.

I’ve also been keeping a gratitude journal, which I write in as part of my morning routine. I write in it somewhat infrequently, but when I do do it, it really starts my day off well.

I say all this because noticing, remembering, and focusing on these good things has actually been really helping me. I notice such a difference in myself when I do these things regularly. I’m more tuned in to all the good things going on throughout the day. I’m happier, more appreciative, more loving, and more relaxed.

Sometimes when I’m feeling hopeless and depressed, I challenge myself to think of five good things, right now. In that state of mind, it’s hard to think of good things. I tell myself that anything good is fine; it doesn’t have to be a big thing. Oh, look, that cloud is really nice. That leaf that just fell in front of me has pretty colors. I’m walking and able to use all four limbs. I have a therapist. My jacket is warm. That’s five right there.

I have a friend who sometimes talks very negatively about the world. I wish she knew that when everything looks awful, it’s the depression talking and not the way the world really is. There are good things in the world. I have been in that place where it looks like there aren’t. But that’s just because my emotions are clouding my vision.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t bad things, too. There are, and those are very real and very valid. But it’s not all bad.

There are so many good things in the world, in my life, in my present. Even when I don’t see them, they’re still there. I think that’s important to remember.

Advertisements
Coping Skills

Morning Routine

I’ve been having a lot of nightmares recently, so I’ve come up with a morning routine to help me get on with my day. I like keeping this sheet next to my bed so that once I’ve woken up I’m not at a loss for what to do and how to live. This routine really helps me to start my day right. I sometimes change up the order or skip some steps, but having a methodical, ordered plan and doing positive things to wake myself up has been really helping me.

I found that I often got stuck between reading something funny on Buzzfeed and getting out of bed. I just stay there reading more and more, or start looking on Pinterest or Youtube for other funny things in order to cram out the bad in my mind. I think the idea of getting out of that warm, safe place and facing my day is too intimidating. So, I tried to break up that step into smaller steps. My ideas about how to transition from lying in bed to standing up are in the picture on the right. They’re intended to get myself to move around a little because after a nightmare I really want to fall into the freeze response, and that doesn’t do me any good. So there they are! 🙂

img_6833.jpg

What do you do to get yourself going?

Coping Skills

Drawing: The Coping Skill of the Week

This week, I have done a lot of drawing. I’ve known for a while that drawing helps me calm down and be a little peaceful and happy. Drawing while watching TV on my computer is my go-to self care, both when I’ve just had a long day and want to relax and when I’m having more intense feelings.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping, and one of the things I’ve tried to help myself fall asleep more easily is having a routine before I go to bed. I’m still working on it, but it’s currently something like: take melatonin, DRAW, brush teeth, go to the bathroom, put on pajamas, go to bed listening to music, read something, turn off lights, stop music, go to sleep.

Drawing at night has been really helping me! It’s very relaxing, and it gets my mind thinking of good things before I go to sleep, so I’m less anxious and maybe have fewer nightmares.

IMG_6795
This is me melting into a field of flowers.

 

img_6796.jpg
patience

 

IMG_6800
The sun will come out tomorrow

 

IMG_6797
This is based on a nightmare I had. In the alternate ending I made up, the train doesn’t fall off the broken bridge. A bunch of balloons come out and lift it across the rest of the chasm as if the bridge were still there. This was a comforting image to go to sleep to.

 

IMG_6798
It is possible for you to be OKAY. 🙂

 

IMG_6799
I went outside shortly after sunset and saw all these fireflies in the backyard. It was beautiful and magical.