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Alongside therapy

Individual therapy can help. Many other activities and experiences can be therapeutic. You might do them in addition to therapy, or as an alternative. 

Mindfulness practices

There are two main reasons to try it.

 

One is to cultivate mindful awareness of your emotions, rather than fighting or fusing with them.

The other is to attend to the underlying wounds.

 

It can be as simple as 5 minutes that you spend sitting quietly listening to your breath. Gains are slow and take gentle, steady practice. Going to meditation groups can help.

 

If sitting or closing eyes is too much (e.g., you are carrying trauma), you can bring mindfulness into other activities during the day by being aware of your body and surroundings.

Being with others

Many personal struggles can come with a sense of isolation or inner loneliness. Thawing the boundaries around that personal suffering can be an important part of the healing process.

It might be about sharing a headspace with others, not just a physical space. This might be through taking part in a group, attending events, or (if it feels safe enough) sharing more authentic feelings with someone you trust. We can think about what would help you feel more connected.

Journalling

Some people write to make sense of their experience and get to know themselves better.

You might risk being honest with your journal and writing as messily as you need. 

 

Not everything makes sense to begin with, and your journal might be another way to listen without judgement to what you're going through.

Repairing the relationship with your body

Our relationship to our bodies can become critical or detached. Healing these rifts is an important part of many therapies.

 

You might do so with movement, stretching, exertion, or by nurturing your body (sleep, food, comfort) and attending to any health issues you have.

 

This might be a bit different to what we call "exercise", which is more specifically about developing fitness. 

Stepping away

Smartphones, work and social or family commitments can mean we don't have much down-time.

 

We might collaborate in these distractions to avoid painful feelings, facing important decisions or attending to our own wellbeing.

 

If you're going through a period of change, you may need to "de-clutter" so that you can focus on what's genuinely going to support that for you.

 

This may involve doing much less and resting much more than you are used to, particularly if you've felt unhappy or stressed for a longer period of time.

Cultivating patience with yourself

We can gain plenty of useful ideas and tips from others. These can certainly bring some immediate relief. And you may need time to make sense of it all for yourself and to relate it to your own experience. The most enduring learning comes from integrating advice with careful observation of your own experience.

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