Here are some easy tools to try out for your belt:
- Deep breathing: You can make it fun by imagining smelling your favorite cookies fresh out of the oven (breathe the smell in through your nose) and imagine blowing on those cookies to cool them off (breathe out through your mouth until all the air is exhaled).
- Talk to yourself like you would talk a friend: If a friend just got a bad grade, would you tell them that they are dumb and will probably fail the entire class? No, but we often tell ourselves these things. Imagine what you would say to a friend in that situation and try saying it to yourself.
- Have a good cry. My clients all know not to call it a “breakdown”. Humans cry. It’s what we do. A good cry can be a great release. There is nothing broken about it and sometimes it is incredibly freeing to let it all out.
- Tear paper. Smash cardboard boxes. Stomp on air pillows.
- Drink a glass of water. This actually tricks the brain into thinking things are okay.
- EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. Even a brisk walk for 20 minutes gets the happy hormones flowing. Do 100 jumping jacks. Anything that gets your body moving and your heart rate up.
- Be creative: Draw, write, create art.
- Engage in gratitude: When you’re feeling low, find three things to be thankful for, in that very moment. The items can be as big as the sunshine or as small as being grateful that you have a box of the soft tissues in the house.
- Counting: This engages both sides of your brain and calms it. Make it semi-challenging, but not stressful. Count to 99 by 3’s. Count how many items of each color of the rainbow you can find around you. Count how many steps it is to walk the perimeter of your house.
- EXERCISE. EXERCISE. EXERCISE. Yes, do it again.
Challenge yourself to pick one or two to try for at least one week. Whenever those strong feelings arise in the week, try your pick and see if it’s a good one to keep in your belt.