1. Noticing my pain
Sometimes observing the pain I'm in lessens it. I try to use validating 'I statements', such as 'I am in agony right now' or 'I feel a huge amount of sadness today'. Even though noticing emotions is the opposite of ignoring them and sounds counter-intuitive, and it really can work to lessen their intensity. This is something I learnt from DBT.
2. Reducing my schedule
If I'm feeling overwhelmed (which I usually am!), then cutting something from my schedule helps. I often feel overwhelmed by how many things I have in my diary, on top of therapy, collecting my medications and attending medical appointments. Often choosing to have a night in rather than going out with my friends pays off in the long run.
3. Finding a helpful distraction
For me, this is usually doing something creative such as drawing, writing or crafting something such as cards or gifts for people I love. It helps me to create something from nothing and usually gives me a sense of achievement. The Nintendo game Animal Crossing tends to help a huge amount.
4. Keeping a long-term goal in mind
This for me is emotional stability. I want to get to a place where my life is no longer marked by suicidal episodes, floods of painful emotion and self-critical thoughts. When I feel the urge to act on my emotions, I try to stop and ask myself whether doing that thing will take me closer to my goal. Pausing to reflect for a moment is a skill that has taken me time and practice to master.
5. Strengthening my self-worth
This has been really hard for me and is work-in-progress. Believing that I'm a person of worth with something to offer who deserves to take up space has been, and still is, incredibly hard. Working towards this means that I can start to assert myself, value my needs and cope a bit better in the face of criticism.
Do you have any tips? I would love hear them!