Wellness Coping Skills
There are many easy skills you can practice to enhance your mental health. Check them out and give one a try.
Skills to help you with stress and anxiety:
Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Open your mouth and let out a big sigh of relief. Pause here for three seconds. Now, close your mouth and inhale slowly through your nose. Take in as much air as you can. Pause here for as long as is comfortable. Open your mouth and exhale slowly, while pulling your stomach in. Pause again. Repeat this for several minutes until you feel yourself beginning to calm down. Remember to focus on your breath and pay attention to the muscles you’re using. It may feel awkward at first but will become more natural as you practice.
Find a comfortable place away from distractions. Start by noticing your breath come in through your nose and out through your mouth, filling your lungs. Then feel your body exhale. Do this for a minute or two. On your next inward breath, imagine the air going through your body down to your feet. Keep breathing as you notice your feet. If they’re tense, try to ease the tension there. Relax the muscles. Move your awareness up through your ankles, calves, and thighs. If you notice tightness anywhere, try to loosen it. Keep breathing.
Move your attention up your body, into your pelvis and abdomen. What do you notice? If there’s tension, let it go. Imagine your muscles becoming heavy and easy. Keep breathing as you go. Imagine giving air to the parts of you that are tense. Now, move your attention to your chest and shoulders. Are your shoulders carrying tension? Breathe and let go. Notice your arms and let them fall, imagining the tension melting away. Keep breathing. Move up to your neck, noticing and then releasing any tightness. Breathe.
Next, your face and head. Imagine all the muscles in your face loosening, your jawbone releasing, and your head relaxing. Let go of any thoughts that are unsettling. Breathe. Notice the air coming into your body. As you exhale, imagine all your stress leaving your body. Now, bring your attention back from the body scan. Notice what might have shifted in your thoughts, sensations, and emotions.
Take a Sensory Walk
Leave your headphones behind and take a sensory walk. Listen to what you hear (birds, traffic, construction...). Pay attention to what’s happening in your body. How does it feel when your feet hit the ground. Can you feel the sun or the wind on your face? How is your posture? Are you standing tall, facing the world?
5-4-3-2-1- calming exercise:
Focusing on each of your five senses one at a time helps you stay present. Here’s a way to do it:
- Look at 5 things around you. What do you see? Say them out loud.
- Feel Four things around you. How do they feel? Say them out loud.
- Listen to three sounds around you. What do you hear? Say them out loud.
- Smell two things around you. What do they smell like? Say them out loud.
- Taste One thing. How does it taste? Say it out loud.