Three Minute Therapy
Anywhere, Anytime Coping Skills
A limit to some commonly used coping skills is that they can’t be used anywhere or at any time. You can’t whip out your journal in a board meeting or even begin to stretch and breathe deeply while giving a presentation.
Here are two anywhere anytime coping skills to add to your tool box. Use these when you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, nervous, or unsure of yourself.
1. Color game – choose a color and count how many objects are within your eyesight that are that color. Ideally, pick a calming color like blue or green.
2. The five senses – connect to your sense of taste, touch, see, smell, and hear. Can you rub a soft or rough spot on your clothing? Can you hear the sound of laughter or music? Can you divert your attention to something pleasing?
Why do these work? Both of these skills keep us grounded and in the moment. We are increasing our awareness of our environment, slowing down our thought process, and regaining control over our breathing and central nervous system simply by having a narrow focus.
A Breathing Skill for Any Age
Snake Breathing: This is a great technique that can be used for anyone ages 0-110. The goal of snake breathing is to regain control and reinstate homeostasis by activating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
First, take a big deep breath, as if you are about to dive down deep in a swimming pool or go under water. Next, purse your lips together to make a small opening. Last, exhale your breath through this small opening so that it sounds like a snake hissing. Continue to make the hissing sound until you have exhaled all of your breath.
Repeat this combination at least three times. You may feel your heart rate slow down and a decrease in other symptoms related to anxiety or worry.
Active Self Love
Self love sounds like a great concept. Who wouldn’t want to feel good, to look in the mirror lovingly, and to have unconditional acceptance of their thoughts and behaviors.
Here’s some straightforward yet powerful ways to cultivate self love, right in the comfort of your own home:
1. OWN IT – No one is perfect. Our mistakes, poor judgment, errors…. whatever you want to call it… can lead to us believing we are those mistakes which breeds shame. To limit shame and to grow self love, stop silencing your mistakes. Own them. And even better, accept them and love them. Those behaviors are a part of you. Those behaviors are knowledge and experience. Those behaviors are growth.
2. SEE IT – go to your nearest mirror and stare at yourself in the eyes. Take a deep breath and keep staring at the beautiful human looking back at you. Look at all that beauty. There is no one else in the entire universe like you. What a treasure!
3. SHARE IT – A favorite quote of many “Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes.” A great expression of self love is speaking your truth, especially when it is hard to do or unpopular. Speaking your truth keeps your insides matching your outsides. Speaking your truth keeps you authentic and genuine. Speaking your truth keeps self love front and center.