A tool box for those in a not so hot place

Good days are a dime a dozen, but every now and then a day when we feel not-so-hot comes up, and many of us are unaware of how to get through it; how to cope.  Back in my earlier twentysomethings, if I was having a rough day, I’d call a friend in hopes that their words would magically fix my problems.  But as I took courses on Mindful Based Stress Reduction, and began my journey with yoga and meditation, I realized that calling upon another and ‘needing’ them to make things better for me was a form of dependency, one which – if I ever wanted to survive in life – I couldn’t rely on.  The thing is, at the end of the day, all we have is ourselves.  So having said that (and finally realizing it) I knew that I’d have to have the tools to help bring me up, if ever I was down.

What do you do on an off day?  Is there a certain someone you make plans with?  A friend you call and call, and call until they pick up and respond?  Do you engage in risky behaviour labeling it as a ‘distraction’ therefore telling yourself it’s ok?  Are your coping strategies healthy?  Or are they just band-aid solutions?

We learn through our own actions.  If you can’t cope during the little things that bring you down, how ever will you be able to cope with catastrophic life events?  At this stage in your usually-happy life, it’s ever-so-important to learn proper coping mechanisms, for these will be the ones you’ll readily call upon when the going gets tough.

My tool box:

A gentle yoga flow OR yin class: Practicing yoga allows you to release the negative toxins and to breath in fresh, new breath.  Since yoga is all about the art of focussing on your breathing, by practicing, you can focus on your breath as opposed to your negative and often destructive thoughts.  In case you are overreacting or not seeing things clearly, yoga can help put you in a more level-headed space.  You literally walk out of the studio in a different state than that which you entered.

Meditation on thoughts and feelings OR loving kindness: We get so wrapped up in the stories we tell ourselves; stories which often have no truth to them.  By popping in a meditative CD or downloading a free meditation online, you can bring yourself to a different state; a calm one.  These guided meditations have you watching your thoughts, allowing you to see how many thoughts come and go each second.  You are told to let them pass you by like a waterfall and not to buy into them.  Thus, a healthy reality for you to be taken to.

Do that which makes you feel good: For me, I love to write (obvs.)  So if I compose a blog post, for me I feel fulfilled.  You might like to finish a book you’ve been putting off, or make plans with a family member or friend who hasn’t seen you in a while.  Or maybe you never take the time to soak up in a bubble bath with chilled music, and a glass of vino.  Whatever it is, take the time to focus on something makes you feel better, as opposed to worse.

Life is about ups and downs.  The downs only have to be as destructive as you let them.  Go to your tool box when the going gets tough and take charge.  For this, you’ll thank me tomorrow.

– Jenny Jen


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