Self Empowerment Coping Tools
The purpose of this page is to offer you suggestions for strengthening and supportive coping tools to help you when you are struggling. With all these tools, it’s important to see which ones you gravitate to, try different ones & see which ones work for you. Then practice them. It’s like building a muscle. You must practice using them and then you will get better at it.
It will become second nature and you will prove to yourself that you are more powerful than any thought or emotion. These are worthwhile skills you can possess all your life and they empower you to build your own helping toolbox and to move through life’s challenges knowing you have effective ways to navigate life. You have the power to choose to assist yourself with supportive tools and prove to yourself that you will be all right instead of using those old negative ones that further weaken you.
Numerous tools below were taught to me by my SHC (Spiritual Health Coach), Angela Dumas.
Anxiety/panic (self-soothing) tools –
· Sit & focus your attention on your breath. Breathe deeply into your lower abdomen in and out through your nose. Saying, “I’m only focusing on my breath, breathing in and breathing out. I am calming down. I have the power within me to be peaceful.” You can also tune into your body and identify where you are feeling a sensation. Once you find the sensation, focus your attention on it and breathe into it. You can also ask yourself what your body or the emotion is telling you. Focus on your center or solar plexus area (bottom of your rib cage) and notice what your body is tell/showing you.
· This sounds weird, but if you’re panicking or just really upset, you can force yourself to laugh like a lunatic. Laugh as hard as you can for at least a minute. It will knock your brain off the panic track and reset you. Then you can do your deep breathing.
· EFT (see Helpful Resources section). There is an EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) App too.
· Slowly expose yourself to triggers a little at a time and notice how you are okay. This will eventually extinguish them - remember, baby steps
· Visualize a very large scroll or white board and see your specific fear, thought, or just the name of the emotion your experiencing written on it. You can write it or just see it written. Say, “I’m more than that, I’m bigger than that!”, and watch it get erased because it is nothing. All it is, is a thought you are having which is causing an emotion which is making you feel bad. Emotion is nothing but an experience; it has no power other than what you give it by believing it is bigger and stronger than your mind. It is not. You have the power to choose, “will I just be a floor mat and let my emotion control me or will I use my mind tools to take control”
· Visualize a calm grey energy swirling around at the center of your being very slowly while outside stuff whirls around you, not affecting you.
· Focus your attention on God or someone or something that you love dearly and connect with the feeling of love, talk yourself down. I’m more than this, God/angels/the universe is helping me right now, I only need to allow it. Connecting with love can shift any emotional state.
· Doing 10 big forced yawns in a row and breathe.
· If someone or thing is triggering a big emotional response in you, you can picture them as a wind up small doll that has no power over you and laugh at it in your mind. It has no power over you.
· Really get into describing your emotion. This is sometimes called Naming. For example, Anxiety – I’m anxious, I feel my throat constricting, I’m scared, my breathing is shallow, my whole body is tense, I want to hide. Just get into describing it in detail and breathe through it. You can do it. Anger- I’m raging, I want to scream, I want to crush something, my body feels tight, clenching my teeth, etc. By describing it in detail and focusing on tuning into yourself and honoring where you are at, it deescalates your emotional state. Remember to breathe deeply because tells your mind to physiologically calm down.
· This one is an exercise in acceptance. Can I say yes to my fear and approve of me anyway and give myself love because I’m the master of my being? Can I allow myself to feel fear and still love me? (You answer yourself). Another person can ask you these questions too. Can I just let myself be who I am right now, a person experiencing fear & still love me? Where am I feeling my fear in my body? What is it telling me? Once you identify it, surround it in a loving light, comfort it and tell it it’s okay to be with you now. “I let my fear be as it is and then it will just change, I accept me and my feelings. I deserve to be loved and accepted unconditionally, no matter what. I approve of all of me without trying to change. I’m allowed to feel my fear. Can I say yes to me & my fear & love myself anyway?”
· Look in the mirror for a few minutes daily and tell your self you love yourself with loving eyes. Keep going even when you are thinking, ‘yeah right!’. Just keep going and you will eventually experience a shift towards love.
· Ask yourself what is the most loving and comforting thing you could do for yourself right now or today. Make sure you pick realistic things and follow through. Some ideas are taking a nap, bath, reading, walking outside, or making yourself a cup of tea.
Boundary/Protection Tools –
- Create your own safe house/place in your mind to go to or invite your current and/or younger parts to go to when your scared or need comforting
- Imagine yourself in an army tank or in a knight’s armor
- Use the ‘Shields Up’ saying or make up your own to remind yourself to protect yourself (you can imagine a shield around you or yourself in a golden bubble of protection) while you are exposed to something that is stressing or triggering you.
Empowerment Tools –
- Find quotes that speak to you and repeat them often
- Acknowledge your strengths and all the creative ways your child and adult selves survived whether they are considered positive or negative in the past and present times in your life.
- Find your voice (work on opening your throat chakra with an energy healer/shaman/on your own with a book or DVD) and speak up for yourself (start small and work your way up to bigger things)
- Visualize yourself as a giant and you are towering over a very tiny Earth. You see what you are afraid of, a thought, or emotion as a spec on the ground. You bend way down and pick up that spec and crush it in your hands and then fling it out into the universe. You have the power, you only need to believe that truth.
Grounding in the present moment tools –
- Stomp your feet and remind yourself of your age, where you are, you’re an adult now and that you have the power to stay in the present moment
- Take a cold bath/shower (shocks you onto another track) for 20 minutes or as long as you can tolerate it. This is for more extreme states when you are desperate.
- Walking outside and noticing what’s around you in the moment which helps you be mindful and more grounded
- Chant the root chakra sound LAM pronounced 'LANG'. You can hear it on YouTube. This chakra is your grounding connection to the center of the Earth and it's located at your perineum. While chanting, visualize a root coming from between your legs down to the center of the Earth and connecting to a crystal at Earth's center. You will feel a more solid connection to the present moment.
Inner child & Integration tools –
- Acknowledge your younger parts. Communicate with them, visualize them in your mind, and accept, comfort, and protect them. Go at their pace and give them a chance to build trust. They have been traumatized and their basic trust is broken so go easy.
- Imagine your adult self carrying your younger self in a sling, sitting in your lap, or just sitting with them while they play or rest or cry, etc.
- Have ICW (Inner Child Work) conversations where you ask how they are, how can you help them, do they want to play etc.
- Play (color/paint/dolls/movie/hike/video gaming etc), check in and see how your younger self is doing
- Offer ‘Re-Dos’ where your adult self comforts/protects/nurtures your younger self during painful times in your past
- Be your inner child’s witness to their memories, emotions, or whatever they need to express as long as you stay safe
Express whatever you’re going through in an uncensored manner by painting/journaling/drawing/dancing/yoga or some other type of movement. You can also sing/scream/cook/play an instrument/sculpt/saying what you always wanted to say to someone by role playing in your mind but speaking out loud. Write your story! Do whatever you need, just get that rage/grief/shame/guilt/terror out. Empty your container. See what you gravitate to because that is your inner healer guiding you. Check in with yourself to determine if your gravitating to an old unhealthy way of coping or is it something that will be healing and supportive.
Spiritually centering tools –
- Meditation (focusing on deep abdominal breaths, slow walking meditation)
- Forming your own forgiveness practice. Every time a self defeating & judging thought comes up in your mind that you know weakens you, think, 'I love and forgive myself for everything. All the things I judge as my fault or not my fault. I love and accept myself no matter what - no exceptions & no conditions.' Those victim and other negative thoughts are, on a very deep level, a call for love and support. They come from a damaged part of yourself so the most effective response is to give yourself loving acceptance and support.
- Asking God/Angels/the universe to help you focus on love (spend a few minutes periodically throughout the day or even once a day – remember, what you focus on will grow)
There is a theme running through these tools, and that it, change your focus and believe in your power to choose how you respond to what you perceive. Remember, what we focus on is what will grow.