WHATíS IN YOUR TOOLBOX?
Think tools are just for builders and construction workers? Think again!
Everyone needs a well stocked toolbox.
Over the years, given the wisdom of lifeís experiences and much learning, I have assembled my own psychological toolbox. It contains, among other things,
Ideas from diverse schools of thought
Acquiring effective coping tools changed my life. (There's an understatement!) In times of stress, these tools bring me back to center and realign me with my higher self. They lead me to receiving nourishment when I need comfort. They help me find safety within myself and in this world. I now have many practices which reconnect me to divine source when I wander off the path. When worry, stress, self-doubt, or victim thinking fill my mind, it's time to dig through the toolbox and pull out one (or many) strategies that help bring me back into a more natural state of peace and empowerment.
Each of us has a range of coping mechanisms that we employ when faced with stress. Sometimes, a solution as easy as taking a few deep breaths and putting the situation back into perspective can bring us back into balance. Once in a while a brisk walk outdoors brings us a sense of relaxation when we need it most. While at other times a steamy bath, candles, Mozart, and cup of warm tea is what is needed to soothe the body, mind and soul. What doesn't work is continuing to worry about the problem without taking action, remaining in victim thinking, berating ourselves, or ignoring our needs.
Most people have a toolbox of coping mechanisms that effectively get us through lifeís tougher situations. But if that toolbox isnít very full with empowering tools, then we are unable to cope with balance when a stressful situation arises. Oftentimes, people who use food to cope (anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating, binge eating, etc.) do not have many soothing, calming, nurturing tools to alleviate anxiety. The use of food or addiction becomes one of the few ways to reduce the effects of stress from the mind and body.
Whether you're aware of it or not, you have a toolbox. But maybe itís time to inventory the contents. Do your tools help you survive - or do they help you thrive? Are there enough tools to support you as you build the life you want? Take a look at the following two lists and notice how you would go about the business of consciously filling your personal toolbox for success
Some questions to ask yourself:
1) How can I utilize my tools better?
2) What new tools do I need to acquire?
3) Which tools can I replace or eliminate?
INEFFECTIVE TOOLBOX STRATEGIES:
Self-judgement (stupid, lazy, worthless, etc.)
Big fat slob
I can never have what I want
Seeking otherís acceptance
Anorexia and starving
Creating illness in times of stress
EFFECTIVE TOOLBOX STRATEGIES:
Communicating and expressing feelings
Self soothing strategies
Talking to self in mirror with encouraging statements
Releasing anger safely and effectively
Accepting emotions and emotional pain
Voicing emotions instead of stuffing emotions down
Speaking truth instead of hiding real feelings, opinions
Setting written goals
Recognizing accomplishments and successes
Visualization and imagery
Abdominal breathing techniques
Healthy movement, dance, yoga, etc.
Inspirational books, poetry, religion
Emotionally supportive music
Surround yourself with beauty
Add more fun to your life!
Copyright 2005, Dr. Annette Colby, all rights reserved.
Dr. Annette Colby, RD
"Opening Creative Portals to Success"
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