Here are some tools I taught to clients when I was working as a therapist. As always, these are for informational purposes only. For specifics, talk to your doctor or therapist. Feel free to share them with others.
I would be honored if you tell them where you got them.
Most people have been asked to rate pain or other symptoms on a numeric scale: 0= no symptoms 10= unbearable symptoms.
I tend to like a color scale. One main reason for this is that it is a little easier to relate to and another is that most symptoms are “fluid”: They can be yellow-orange, or blue-green.
This scale is good for addressing almost anything – depression, anxiety, anger, pain…
Most of life happens in degrees. Once we realize that, we can deal with challenges more effectively.
Red: Unbearable; out of control
Orange: Difficult to tolerate or manage
Yellow: Moderatly challenging; not easily ignored
Goe for the green
Blue: Uncomfortable, but not interfering with attention or other activities
Green: All is good
Most of the time, it works best to take action when symptoms are at “yellow.” Sometimes, things will be more uncomfortable. That’s okay, take action. There are times when challenges can go from red to at least blue.
We all have times when we need to be redirected: When we are down, anxious,bored or just “blah.”
The challenge is, we are not likely to come up with an idea in that moment.
When you are in such a spot, pull out this handy helper:
Copy and paste this into a file on your computer and make as many copies as you need, so that you can access it at any time.
Write down ten simple things you can do that make you feel better.
You can use some of the suggestions below, or come up with your own.
Then, when you need a redirect, choose from your list. If you don’t want to do anything you have already written, but something else comes to mind, write it down; then go do it.
You may need to do more than one thing to get out of your slump or discomfort. That is perfectly fine.
MY LIST OF FEEL-GOODS:
put on favorite music play with the dog take a hot bath
Go for a short walk call a friend watch a movie
read write or journalize draw or paint
play a musical instrument bake something read comics
work on a puzzle work in the garden go people watching
This is a sorting tool that I have found to be extremely useful.
I originally read about it in a book called, “Rational Emotive Therapy” in the early 1970’s.
These days, it is used for all kinds of life management.
In my mind, its greatest value is that it gives the person employing it power over themselves so that they live from the inside out, instead of simply reacting to situations.
A = THE SITUATION
Something that is said or done.
B = THE INTERPRETATION
What someone makes of that situation.
Sometimes, we “hit the bullseye,” sometimes we’re clear off the wall; most of the time, we’re somewhere in between.
C = HOW WE FEEL
A feeling statement only needs three words: “I feel _____.”
Feeling words are things like: Happy, sad, angry, amused, perplexed…
Most of us have very poor feeling vocabulary, so it might be worth your while to write a list of feeling words.
D = RESPONSE
What we say or do in return.
******C and D are actually based on B; not A******
In a continuing ed course on pain management, I saw one more component:
E = CHALLENGING QUESTION
A question or information to challenge the original interpretation.
Now, let’s play with this a bit:
You walk into a restaurant. Someone you used to hang out with, but haven’t seen for years, is there. He starts to yell in your direction.
B How many interpretations can you come up with?
“He’s angry at me.”
“He’s excited and happy to see me.”
“He and the people he’s with are already engaged in an animated conversation.”
Add some of your own.
C If you believe he is angry at you, how will you feel?
If he’s excited and happy to see you?
If he and his friends are in an animated conversation?
d How might you respond?
E What additional information might change your interpretation and feelings?
This is good for helping with anger, anxiety, pain, depression or perplexing situations.