Coping Tools




The described coping tools can be used to cope with any bothersome emotion including to assist with sleep and pain management. Each tool is broken down into an easy to follow format. The more the tools are practiced, the more effective they are for managing emotions.
Here you will find step by step instructions for Deep Breathing, Progressive Relaxation, Mindfulness, Grounding, Guided Imagery, Object Focusing, and Problem Solving tools.




Deep Breathing


Concentrating on your breathing and allowing for deep breathing will let your body relax itself.


Sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes if you'd like.


Slowly relax your body, releasing tension throughout your body.


Begin to inhale slowly through your nose. Fill the lower part of your chest with air first, then the middle, and top part of your chest and lungs. Do this slowly over 8 to 10 seconds.


Hold your breath for a second or two.


Quietly and easily relax and let the air out slowly.


Wait a few seconds and repeat this cycle. Be mindful to not this too quickly or you'll risk becoming dizzy.



Progressive Relaxation

Lie on your back, close your eyes, and make yourself comfortable.


Feel your face and cheeks. Consciously relax them and feel the tension slide off into the bed.


Feel your eyes. Sense if there is tension in your eyes. Sense if you are forcibly closing your eyelids. Consciously relax your eyelids and feel the tension slide off the eyes.


Feel your mouth and jaw. Consciously relax them. Pay particular attention to your jaw muscles and unclench them. Feel your mouth and jaw relax.


Feel your head and skull. Sense its weight. Consciously relax it and sink into the bed.


Feel your neck. Sense its weight. Consciously relax it and sink into the bed.


Feel your shoulders. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and sink into the bed. Feel the tension releasing from your shoulders as they relax and loosen.


Feel your upper arms. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.


Feel your hands. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and sink into the bed.


Feel your abdomen and chest. Sense your breathing. Consciously will them to relax. Deepen your breathing slightly and feel your abdomen and chest sink to the bed. Feel the tension releasing from your body.


Feel your upper legs and thighs. Feel their weight. Consciously relax them and sink into the bed.


Feel your knees. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the bed.


Feel your feet. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and sink into the bed. Start with your toes and progress to your ankles.


Mentally scan your body. If you find any place that is still tense, then consciously relax that place and let it sink to the bed. Let all the tension leave your body. Breathe.


3 Minute Mindfulness



Close your eyes. For the first minute, focus only on the sounds around you. If  thought comes into your mind, notice it and let it go. Do not judge the thought.



For the second minute, focus only on the feelings in your body. If a thought crosses your mind just notice it with the same kindness you would offer a loved one.



In the third minute, watch your breath. Focus on the in breath and then the out breath. If a thought comes by that's fine. Just go back to focusing on your breath.
Grounding

Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth


Slowly look around you to find and consciously acknowledge:


5. Acknowledge 5 things you see around you and say out loud each thing you find


4. Acknowledge 4 things you can touch around you and say out loud each thing you touch


3. Acknowledge 3 things you hear and say out loud each thing you hear, your thoughts do not count


2. Acknowledge 2 things you can smell and say out loud what you smell


1. Acknowledge 1 thing you can taste and say out loud what you taste



Guided Imagery

Sit or lie comfortably and close your eyes if possible.


Imagine yourself in a favorite, peaceful place. It can be any place that is calming and peaceful for your.


Imagine you are fully there. See and feel your surroundings, hear the sounds around you, the scent wafting through the air, taste the tastes of anything you may indulge in.


Object Focusing

Select an object you can easily see and focus on every tiny detail of the object.


For example, a tree. Look for the bark's shapes and colors, any insects upon the bark, imagine what the bark feels like to your hands, any scent coming from the tree.


Problem Solving

Create problems to solve that require your attention.


For example, solving math problems or memorizing and reciting poetry or other readings.

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