C/W—T/W: Mentions of mental health issues and harmful coping mechanisms.
If you’ve read my posts before, you are probably aware that I have various mental illnesses and that I am open about my struggles with them.
If this is your first time reading a post from me, then you’re about to understand what I mean.
I never go into gruesome details and still do not plan to. I mainly try to explain the issues I’ve had and what I’ve done or am still doing to try to help myself.
I am my own worst enemy.
I obsess about every little problem or mistake that I have ever made.
It is an ongoing process and I am learning to be nicer to myself, gentle, and to understand that not everything is within my control and that I can only do so much.
There were time I would cope with self harm and eating disorders. Other times I would just find myself being super harsh to the point where I wouldn’t want to leave bed, go out into the world, and risk making another mistake.
I’m tired, my brain is full of self doubt, and I’m super overwhelmed currently.
So, instead of resorting to things that can hurt me and with the attempt to ease my mind and calm my obsession, I am going to talk about all of the ways that I have been trying to find peace within my mind.
I hope this could help somebody else out there who might need to pause and reflect as well because we all deserve moments of peace. We deserve to be nurtured and cared for (even if we have to be the ones to care for ourselves).
I guess the best way to do this, is to make a list. I figure I will try to go in order of how I attempt to calm myself and find peace.
Here are my top five methods to calm myself down and find peace within my mind (Note: please understand that these will not work for everyone—this is just my experience—also, I obviously recommend therapy but since that is not super accessible to everyone, I didn’t include it on my list but I am currently receiving therapy):
1. Breathing: This is a simple one and it’s generally suggested for people who suffer from any kind of anxiety. When I’m in a high stress situation I try to ground myself first by breathing. Sometimes I do in through the nose and put through the mouth and other times when that is too difficult, I breathe in one nostril, blow it out the other and vice versa until I’m calm again.
2. Grounding through touch—texture/water: Everybody has different grounding tools and techniques, so not everything works for everyone—it’s about trial and error. I never thought grounding myself by touching my surroundings would help me focus and help me center myself but it does. Cold water is a big grounding tool for me when I’m panicked. Sometimes I’ll sip it hold it in my mouth to feel the cold and then swallow, other times I’ll touch it with my hands, or wipe it all over my face. I also will sometimes grip a counter or table, put my hand on a wall, rub a blanket or pillow—anything that will bring me back to my present moment.
3. Showering: As a follow up to the last method, showers tend to help me relax my whole body. I usually set the water to a little warmer than lukewarm and allow the heat to run over my muscles and force myself to focus on the drops of water as they hit my body—allowing me to focus on something other than negative thoughts while also still keeping me in the moment.
4. Self care: This can mean so many things and can be different for everyone! For me, showering is a big part of self care, but also doing things I enjoy like hobbies—writing in a journal, art, etc., or really going the extra mile to care for my body so that I can let my brain rest that day are my general methods.
5. Talking/Self talk: Sometimes I find that I’m not satisfied unless I talk something out. Talking to a friend or family member can be helpful for this. Sometimes it is also good when I talk myself through something but it’s important that I don’t start dwelling on my thoughts and obsessing over solutions for whatever I’m thinking about. This one can be risky because of that but as long as I’m gentle with myself and affirm some positive thoughts as I do so, it can be a relatively effective method.
As I am writing this, it’s amazing to me that I already feel more calm just thinking about the things I do to feel better. Sometimes, when other options are not accessible, I know for me, that this could also work to hold me over and get me to a more peaceful mindset until I am able to fully participate in one of these grounding methods. I genuinely hope that this helps somebody else out there and just know that you’re not alone.
I understand all too well what it’s like to feel trapped inside of your mind with seemingly no outlet that will actually help. I can honestly say though, after years of struggling (and continuing to struggle) these do. Of course, sometimes it’s harder than others to use healthy coping mechanisms but that’s all part of the process. You don’t have to be perfect on your mental health journey, you just have to try.