Crisis Survival Skills
Purpose: When you can't make things better, how do you not  make them worse.


::Thinking of pros and cons::

Make a list of pros and cons of tolerating the distress. Make another list of the pros and cons of acting on the distress - that is, of coping by hurting yourself, abusing alcohol or drugs, or doing something else impulsive.

Focus on long-term goals, the light at the end of the tunnel. Remember times when pain has ended.

Think of the positive consequences of tolerating the distress. Imagine in your mind how good you will feel if you achieve your goals, if you don't act impulsively.

Think of all the negative consequences of not tolerating your current distress. Remember what has happened in the past when you have acted impulsively to escape the moment.

::IMPROVE the Moment::
With
Imagery: Imagine very relaxing scenes. Imagine everything going well. Imagine coping well. Make up a fantasy world that is calming and beautiful and let your mind go with it.

With
Meaning: Find or create some purpose, meaning, or value in the pain. Focus on whatever positive aspects of a painful situation you can find. Repeat them over and over in your mind. Make lemonade out of lemons.

With
Prayer: Open your heart to a supreme being, greater wisdom, God, your own wise mind. Ask for strength to bear the pain in this moment. Turn things over to God or a higher being.

With
Relaxation: Try muscle relaxing by tensing and relaxing each large muscles group, starting with your hands and arms, going on top of your hand, and then working down; listen to relaxation tapes, exercise hard; take a hot bath or sit in a hot tub; drink hot milk; massage your neck and scalp; your calves and feet; breath deeply.

With
One thing in the moment: Focus you entire attention on just what you are doing right now. Keep yourself in the very moment you are in; put your mind in the present. Focus your entire attention on physical sensations that accompany nonmental tasks (example: walking, washing, doing dishes, cleaning fixing). Be aware of how your body moves during each task. Do awareness exercises.

Take a brief
Vacation: Give yourself a brief vacation. Take a blanket to the park and sit on it for a whole afternoon. Unplug your phone for a day, or let your answering machine screen your calls. Take a 1-hour breather from hard work that must be done.

Encouragement: Cheerlead yourself. Repeat over and over: "I can stand it," "It won't last forever," "I will make it out of this," "I'm doing the best I can do."

::Distracting Skills: "Wise Mind ACCEPTS"::
With
Activities: Engage in exercise; call a friend; go for a walk; do cleaning.

With
Contributing: Contribute to someone; do volunteer work; give something to someone else; make something nice for someone else; do a surprising; thoughtful thing.

With
Comparisons: Compare yourself to people coping the same as you or less well than you. Compare yourself to those less fortunate than you. "I have problems, but I'm glad they are those problems."

With opposite
Emotions: Listen to emotional music; see a funny movie. Be sure the event creates different emotions.

With
Pushing Away: Push the situation away by leaving it for a while. Leave the situation mentally. Push the situation away by blocking it in your mind. Censor rumination. Put the pain on the shelf. Box it up and put it away for a while.

With other
Thoughts: Count to 10; count colors in a painting or tree, windows, anything; work puzzles; watch TV; read.

With intense other
Sensations: Hold ice in hand; squeeze a rubber ball very hard; stand under a very hard and cold shower; listen to very loud music.

::Self-soothe Skills::

With Vision: Buy a beautiful flower; light a candle and watch the flame. Look at beautiful art. Go sit in the lobby of a beautiful old hotel. Look at nature around you. Look at beautiful pictures in a book or online. Be mindful to each sight that passes in front of you.

With Hearing: Listen to beautiful or soothing music, or invigorating and exciting music. Pay attention to sounds of nature. Sing to your favorite song. Hum a soothing tune. Call 800 or other information numbers to hear a human voice. Be mindful of sounds that come your way.

With Smell: Use your favorite perfume or lotions, or try them on in the stores; spray fragrance in the air; light a scented candle. Put lemon oil on your furniture. Boil cinnamon; bake cookies, cake, or bread. Smell the roses. Walk in a wooded area and mindfully breathe in the fresh smells of nature.

With Taste: Have a good meal; have a favorite soothing drink such as herbal tea or hot chocolate. Sample flavors in an ice cream store. Suck on a piece of candy. Chew your favorite gum. Really taste the food you eat; eat one thing mindfully.

With Touch: Take a bath or shower. Put clean sheets on the bed. Pet your dog or cat. Have a massage; soak your feet. Sink into a really comfortable chair in your mind, or find one in a luxurious hotel lobby. Brush your hair for a long time. Experience whatever touching; notice touch that is soothing.
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