1. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Self-therapy tips

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Hubardo, Jun 22, 2015.

    A thread for sharing tips and tricks that keep you sane. Here are some things I do:

    Name It To Tame It

    A simple trick where, when you're feeling emotionally dysregulated, you name the emotion. Sounds maybe too simple to even be helpful, but there's fancy neuroscience around this:



    This one doesn't really have a name, but I picked it up when I was doing 12-steppy stuff. It's a to-do list and set of priorities I used to write out every morning. Sometimes I still do it, but not every day.

    1. Recovery (write a list of things you're doing for your "recovery," meaning either going to a 12-step meeting, meditating, praying, calling another member/friend if you're feeling icky)
    2. Self-care (exercise, hygiene etc)
    3. Responsibilities (get to work on time, pick up the kids)
    4. Relationships (call/text/email so-and-so, DON'T talk to such-and-such)

    HALT

    H - Hungry
    A - Angry
    L - Lonely
    T - Tired

    If you feel out of it or like you're going to do some impulsive thing, you check in with yourself. If hungry, eat. If angry, take a walk. If lonely, reach out. If tired, rest. Seems obvious but it has helped me and lots of other people out!

    Mood Trackers

    There's print-out stuff you can find, but I like my phone app. I use a free Android app called T2, which has me enter in info about my mood 3 times a day. You can look at the graph over time and be like "wow I'm doing better" or "wow maybe I should change something in my life."

    "Parts" Work

    This one is my favorite because it's actually fun to do -- in the way I was taught to do it (which is just a way to do it, not the way). It's based on internal family systems (IFS) theory, which assumes we all have multiple distinct selves within us. (Not to be confused with multiple personality disorder.) These selves have different triggers, different clusters of emotional reactions, different relationships to the other selves within us. Sound wacky? Totally is. And if it seems confusing and/or too wacky to want to get into, ignore this. Different strokes, etc.

    The way I do it is I start with an icky emotion that has come up. Let's say it's anger. My housemate pisses me off. I draw the angry part, a crappy little stick figure with angry eyebrows. I name the part "hater self" or something. I write its thoughts: "i want to kill so and so" and "if he would just get hit by a fucking car everything would get better" -- just letting the craziness flow. You sit back and look at it. Okay, that's that part. Usually something else comes up -- a reaction to it such as negative judgments toward that part. So I draw that and name it. The judgy one might be called "judgmental self" and the thoughts might be "all you do is hate on people, get a life" and so on. Sometimes I'll have the parts argue back and forth on the page, sometimes a new part emerges. For me, the quicker I access these two really awesome parts -- curiosity and compassion -- and tap into what "they" might say in response, the better things go.

    Overly complicated? Maybe. Fun? For me, yeah!

    ***

    I'd love to know what little tricks others have picked up and used along the way.
     
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  2. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    If I start feeling down (and am not able to discern why just yet), I jump on youtube and search for comedians I enjoy. And then open up a few tabs of their videos and listen to / watch them, binging on comedy and laughter.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I generally try to think of times in the past when I've felt whatever negative emotion I'm feeling, and then try to bring the sense of distance I feel from those events and apply it to the current events.

    I don't find it works with genuine sorrow. If I'm really sad about something, thinking about other times I've been sad just makes it worse. But for most other negative emotions - anger, jealousy, discouragement, whatever perceived crisis I come up with - I can usually talk myself down by remembering other times I thought everything was REALLY BAD AND IMPORTANT, when really it barely mattered at all.
     
  4. The Freshmaker
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    The Freshmaker <insert obscure pop culture reference> Contributor

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    I like this. This is definitely the type of thing I do already. I've tried to catch myself if I'm feeling discontent or particularly complainy, and I ask myself, "Can I choose to be happy right now?" And if I can't, I have to figure out what I can do to change that.

    One thing I've learned recently is that there's almost nothing worth doing that's not a little bit scary. Or sometimes really scary. I've found a huge benefit in breaking up the things that intimidate me into little steps, and I feel like I've taken more chances and had a lot more fun because of that.

    I went through a big breakup a couple months ago, and it was bad. I felt like I was dying. And I had so much to do, when all I really wanted was to lie in bed and be miserable. The first thing I did was fly across the country to be with my best friend. That was terrifying. I'd never flown alone, I'd never been to LA, and I'd definitely never dropped $700 on a last-minute trip. It felt very crazy. But instead of thinking about it, I made myself focus on what I could deal with at the moment. First it was buying the ticket. Then it was getting to the airport. Then getting through airport security. Before I knew it, I was there and having a great time and things didn't seem so terrible. But thinking about doing it as a whole was super intimidating, and if I'd focused on that I probably wouldn't have gone.

    This applied to other things as well. Big things like getting moved into an apartment. But on harder days, just getting through the day seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. But if I could look no further than what was in front of me -- "Why don't you take a shower? You'll feel better once you're clean." or "Why don't you make yourself some soup? You'll feel better after you eat." -- eventually I could make it through a whole day. And that turned into a week. A month. And after a while, it wasn't so hard anymore.

    I find that I say yes to a lot more things now. I don't worry as much about what could go wrong if I stay focused on what's directly in front of me. And it's led to me having experiences and meeting people that really enrich my life.

    The day the person I loved and trusted more than anyone in the world became a stranger to me, the thought of salvaging my life and turning it into something with which I could be happy -- it seemed impossibly overwhelming. But getting myself to focus on each moment and on overcoming each smaller obstacle definitely helped. And I'm through the worst of it now.
     
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  5. sashawrites
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    sashawrites Member

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    colouring. Adult colouring books are amazing if you want to clear your head. As well I have some of the listography books (google them) which improve my mood greatly because it makes me realise what I future I could have.

    Also exercise is one of the greatest cures for my mood. I really enjoy lifting weights and yoga, clears my head completely of all of the struggles that I might be having that day.
     
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  6. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Breakups are the worst! I don't know if there are any effective tips or tricks for feeling better during that initial period. For me it's always been like a severing of a body part, and you get a phantom-lover syndrome kind of thing. It took me roughly 2 years to get over my last relationship. Therapy, pills, exercise -- nothing but time really cured the heartbreak. Only thing that helped was staying as distracted as humanly possible, and even that seemed impossible. Ugh, breakups.
     
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  7. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Agreed. My last breakup I learnt to hmmm dunno. Embrace the pain. Difficult to describe, but it told me I was alive. I hated it. It was shit. But it was mine, and I ended up reveling in it. Because it was an opportunity to experience that emotion and that intensity of emotion, acknowledging that it is rare to do so. If you can do it, it changes the internal state from one of being owned by your feelings to recognising them and sort of distancing yourself slightly, and observing the pain and the way it makes you feel and how intense it is and unusual to feel this way. I did it, honest. Can't describe it for shit. It's taken me just over 2 years to get over it as well.

    And then I have a friend I am spending time with, supporting them, who has recently broken up with someone they were with for 24 years. I cannot even comprehend how fucked up that feels.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
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  8. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Oh I know something that helped me immensely during that post-break up period. Similar to the Happiness thread, was a thread on another forum called, "Three good things".

    At the end of every day, you were supposed to write down 3 good things that had happened that day.

    It was interesting to see the attitudinal transformation. Anything bad that happened during the day started to be looked at in the light of, "how can I derive something positive from this so I have something positive to write at the end of the day?" You spent the entire day looking for positive things, and focusing on that aspect of whatever was going on. A real reprogramming activity.

    Being someone who cannot stand being told what to do, I made it my goal to write at least 4 if not more things at the end of each day.
     
  9. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Start this again!
     
  10. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm really good at avoidance, but I don't think that's something to emulate. I call it compartmentalizing but really it's just stuffing. :)
     
  11. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Do you mean start this here? Or that I need to start it? I am cruising right now, all systems go, so no need to do it for my own mental health.
     
  12. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yay Positive Psychology! Yeah this exercise actually has empirical evidence to support it. People with moderate and even severe depression get relief of symptoms within a week or two if they do it consistently:

    http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/articleseligman.pdf

    *high fives*
     
  13. No-Name Slob
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    Start it here
     
  14. The Freshmaker
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    The Freshmaker <insert obscure pop culture reference> Contributor

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    Yeah, this definitely. Kind of acknowledging that the pain is there, and letting yourself feel it. But recognizing that the pain isn't a part of you and it doesn't define you. It's just a thing that is happening right now. I'm definitely still in the recovery process. But I'm making it through. Things like this have helped.

    But what's that saying? The best way to get over a person is to get under another one? That is, in my experience, also true! ;)
     
  15. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I was going to write that, but did not out of sensitivity to your story. But now that you opened the door, yes. Yes it does help. :agreed:
     
  16. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Wow. It worked for me without even knowing they did a study on it. How weird.
     
  17. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it's weird! You don't have to know about how or why something works, if it works for you.

    If you wanna do a beefed up version of 3 good things, there's this you can do:

    1 - good thing, how it made you feel, what role you played in making it happen
    2 - good thing, how it made you feel, what role you played in making it happen
    3 - good thing, how it made you feel, what role you played in making it happen

    1 - something you're grateful for
    2 - something you're grateful for
    3 - something you're grateful for

    1 - something nice you did for someone today
    2 - something nice someone else did for you

    There's research behind this stuff too -- even the doing something nice for other people bit.
     

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