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anxiety Coping skills mental health mental illness relaxation schizoaffective schizophrenia Stress Reduction Therapy Uncategorized

Sensory Coping Skills

Image: essential oil inhaler, sock, modeling clay, lemon heads and phone with image of bedroom with dog

My health insurance changed, so I have a new therapist. I have seen him twice, so far. I am doing well, so we may move to monthly appointments.

He went over some sensory and other coping skills and assigned me to get items. I have a post “Coping With Schizoaffective Disorder” https://lorib434.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/coping-with-schizoaffective-disorder/ These are additional tools

The first is a calming essential oil, like lavender. I don’t like that so I got chamomile and an inhaler. I was skeptical but I enjoy the scent.

The next was a photo of a safe scene.it could be a place in nature, whatever you feel is safe. I took a picture of my bedroom with my dog. That is my safe place.

Music. Something relaxing like rainfall or ocean waves. I found some nature sounds on YouTube.

Fabric, an item that is soft to hold. I bought a fuzzy sock at the dollar store.

Lemon drops or sour candy

Some other things he recommended:

Box breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale fir 4 seconds).

Exercise

Watch a funny show

Take a shower

Throwing something safe, like modeling clay

I told him I did not think I would do the throwing, but he encouraged me to try them all.  I bought clay but have not tried throwing it yet.

 

When I told him I have trouble getting in the shower. I don’t like to get cold. He asked if anything had happened in a bathroom or shower. I did not go into details but told him yes, when I was 8 years old. He told me to have all the coping tools and journal from the perspective of an 8 year old. I don’t know how to do that, so I journaled what I remember. I think the tools helped me stay calm. I don’t believe that has to do with me having trouble with showers, though.

Categories
alcoholism anxiety CBT Stress Reduction

‘High’ Anxiety

anxiety

How I learned to cope with stress without alcohol

I was at a SMART recovery meeting tonight. We were talking about how we deal with stress. I used to turn to the bottle to avoid uncomfortable emotions. Awkward social situations seemed easier. Anxiety didn’t feel as painful. But, as I mentioned in the meeting, I am in my 50s learning to handle things, like speaking in a group, that others do in their teens.

I have since learned a number of stress reduction techniques and aids and each helps a little. The little bits add up and I am able to function. Enough, that people notice a big difference.

One of the first things I did was find I have social anxiety, which was pretty much a “no-brainer” and is the lesser of my psychological problems. There are all kinds of treatments for anxiety and phobias. I take a ssri medication that helps with anxiety and depression. It helps, some. It isn’t a crutch to rely on medication.

The next thing I do is breathe. I take deep breaths and concentrate on my breathing. Then I visualize. I picture something coming up, going well.

I stick to a routine. Not so much that my days are boring but I try to have sleep schedule and take my medications on a schedule. I also try to plan for change ahead of time.

I once took a 12 week cognitive behavioral therapy (cbt) group course. We all rated our anxiety and depression throughout the course and everyone’s went down. We used a workbook called “Mind Over Mood”. It is about having balanced, rational thoughts and not negative or irrational ones. SMART is based on cbt and Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT).

I had a time when I was depressed where I had trouble with the laundry. I would wash and dry, but folding and putting it away seemed like an impossible task. So, I had this mountain of clean clothes. I would pass it by and cry. I told a friend and he said “Do smaller loads” which sounds simplistic, but it worked. It made it manageable and I could handle the smaller amount. Now, I take that into other areas. If I have a large task, I break it into smaller pieces. Otherwise, I freeze and nothing is accomplished.

Journaling or blogging helps me get the anxiety out or calling someone to talk about what is bothering me. I also go to therapy.

I tend to isolate and being alone can lead to trouble, so if I am invited out, I push myself to go. I usually have an okay time, it is just getting out the door.

A life without stress would be stagnation. You need some stress. You just need to know how to deal with the stress that comes so it doesn’t overwhelm you.

I still have challenges with sobriety and go to meetings. These are some tools of mine that help make the urges not so powerful.

Reposted From Medium