Healthy Coping Mechanisms:
adaptations to environmental stress that are based on conscious or unconscious choice that enhance control over behavior and give psychological comfort.
Our evolution is of the utmost importance. As we heal ourselves, we heal our bloodlines. It’s time for us to reprogram the way we cope with trauma and illness.
SELF - SOOTHING
We as a people are going through a lot right now, its as simple as that. Everyday we are overstimulated with technology and media, there are injustices around the world that are heartbreaking, it can feel as though we are haunted by ecological disaster, add all of your personal problems to the mix, and it can be an overwhelming recipe to say the least! As what needs to come to light, rises to the surface, our society is transitioning into a more conscious and inclusive state. There is no better time than right now to ride this transitional wave and relearn how to regulate our emotional self, and reclaim our wellness. During this time I want to remind you of SELF CARE, because when everyone around you is also in pain, its important to know how to self soothe.
Drinking a glass of water gives your mind a moment to relax, and has the ability to stop the snowball effect of anxiety and bring you back inside your physical body. Water also helps to flush out toxins, regulate your adrenal hormones, your “fight or flight” reaction. When I’m feeling depressed or anxious, I drink 3 glasses of water back to back and try to breathe then think. If I have time, patience and ingredients are accessible I will brew myself a cup of tea with either a soothing herbal blend, or a detoxifying/immune boosting/energizing herbal blend if I'm feel tired or sick/unwell.
Even the sound of water is incredibly healing. When I’m finding it hard to be with my own thoughts in silence, I will play sound of the ocean all day and even to sleep! listen here.
Grab a handful of ice cubes! I swear by this. There have been many times when my emotions were in a state of emergency and running to the kitchen and grabbing a handful of ice cubes and holding them for as long as you can over the sink while they melt can shock your system enough to save your life, and you can repeat this as many times as you need, until you feel safe in your body. Putting them on your face is also effective. I would recommend keeping a bowl of ice cubes in your freezer if you are having a rough week. Finding ways to safely shock our nervous system allows our conscious mind/logical self to catch up in an instant. When I was going through my Saturn return a few years ago, I had to do this regularly.
Take a bath or shower. NO, like actually do it when you’re going through it. Water is extremely healing and sacred. Forcing yourself into a cold shower and standing there until you are back in your body can release negative emotions and panic. . .and long warm showers or baths are a great way to decompress, especially if you are doing it mindfully. I recommend epsom salt baths for physical pain and stress and keeping eucalyptus oil in your shower for grounding your body and opening up your lungs and sinuses. If you have time, look up healing bath recipes, or you can connect with one of our healers and medicine women their healing and protection baths.
When you just can't take it, SCREAM. Scream for as long and as loud as you can. Scream until you cry, scream until you drop to your knees, scream until you laugh, get that shit OUT! Scream in your room, scream in a park, go to the ocean and scream into the water! I was once told a story by an elder about a tribe who's warriors would go to the river and scream and cry into the river while washing away the trauma of war before returning home to their people. Thinking of this story has saved me many times. I begin most of my group healings with a big group yell! Especially helpful when having difficulty with communication, unblocks the throat chakra and gets your lower chakras activated real quick! When I first began my trauma work, I found scream therapy to be very powerful.
I have found that when one feels like they are in a state of emergency in their mind, and facing reality is too much, simple distractions can ease your emotional self enough for your body chemistry to calm down, bringing your heart rate back to normal and allowing you to take a deep breath. Pushing the pause button on your overwhelming emotion can both save your life and allow you to come back and reevaluate the situation with a clear head and different eyes. Here are some examples of healthy distractions. . . everyone is different, explore and notice what your body responds to.
Read more about healthy coping mechanisms and DPT therapy here.
“Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy tries to identify and change negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioral changes. DBT may be used to treat suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors, as well as PTSD and other mood disorders.”
guided meditation music for walking:
*If you don’t already have one, make a list (yes write it down on paper), of “emergency people” that are able to hold space for you. Maybe ask the person, “Are you in a space where I can vent right now?” Yes? proceed. . . No? That’s ok, I trust if you were able to you would, call them another time, and call another person on your list. My list includes my healing teachers, friends, my abuelita, sisters, and some of my peers. Sometimes just the sound of someone’s voice is grounding and venting isn’t necessary. Practice mindful phonecalls, sitting and listening compassionately to who is on the other line. Goes both ways!
*Many of our healers offer phone sessions, as well as Skype, FaceTime, and zoom calls. When I was bed ridden I found long distance reiki healing sessions over the phone to be shockingly effective with easing physical pain and emotional distress. Find a healer or counselor here.
It is spiritually, physically and cognitively important to take time throughout your day to be mindful. Reprogramming your brain to be present with your actions will expand your creativity, reduce stress, and improve your overall health.
Make a healthy meal or snack. Be present while measuring ingredients and chopping vegetables. Yogi Bhajan teaches us the importance of positive thinking while preparing our food as to not consume negativity. After you are done preparing your meal, hover your palms face down over the food with your eyes closed and visualize light, sending gratitude to the earth for providing the ingredients, the people who gathered the produce, and yourself for giving body sustenance.
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us the importance of being mindful while making art; being present with your actions expand your creativity and your practice becomes therapeutic. The next time you're getting into drag or creating any form of art, try to be mindful and notice how your work responds. Doing this will also help you with procrastination and time management.
Exercise. We all know the importance of exercising, but next time try to be totally mindful during your workout. This will also give you an opportunity to check in with your body. What do you need right now?