This week’s question I was left pondering what one can do during times that are especially frustrating or overwhelming in their lifetime and how the strategies or skills that they employ can soothe or reduce the external circumstances. This is not going to be an official how to as we all lead different lives and cope differently. Rather, it is reminder to not only be compassionate towards others but also to oneself.
 Fresh Resets
While this strategy may not always be available to everyone or applicable for all situations, I find that that taking a quick cat nap can help me recharge and reset. Some days, we may appear more frustrated or irritable because of a multitude of reasons which can include being emotionally drained, overworked, stressed, or just genuinely having a bad day. On days that it feels necessary I have found that taking a step away through resting can help improve my morale and mood. If you are a student like me, and you feel frustrated working on a project sometimes switching to another classes work for twenty minutes or so and going back to my original assignment can improve my workflow.
Meditation and Grounding Strategies
Meditation can be a great strategy to implement in ones life, whether it is used for self-soothing, or just used in a daily routine. It can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress through teaching one to shift their focus towards their own breathing and push out external stressors. Now, I am not a pro at meditation, however I love trying various apps to develop my skills. If you are interested in trying one, I highly suggest trying Headspace or Calm. Another grounding strategy that I enjoy using would be to use one of my malas by setting an intention and shifting the beads over and repeating the intention so on and so forth. I find that having a tangible item can be calming while shifting my attention.  Crocheting and other craft activities are great to do as well, as they keep your hands busy and your mind focused!
Practice Gratitude and Acceptance
Utilizing a gratitude journal daily can help you shift your mindset on hard days when you reflect on the past. Not every day will be perfect, nor will everything always fall into place the way that one expects. It’s important for one to gain resilience when handling difficult situations. The show Mom featuring Anna Faris and Allison Janney, often references the Serenity Prayer. This prayer states “ God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” While we may not all share the same religious beliefs, I think that it is important for all people to realize that while some situations are not in our direct control, we do have a choice to make changes and we must be able to discern what is within our control versus the external circumstances. The photo on the left is my personal gratitude journal.
Practice Kindness and Empathy
Some days when our cup is half full, we may feel less inclined to reach out or practice kindness. On those days, it means that it is especially important.  Kindness does not require you to spend a lot of money, or to use a lot of your time.  It can be as simple as a pleasant interaction, you never know who’s heart you will touch or how a simple compliment can change a persons day. I remember a couple years ago when I working as a Cashier I complimented a young woman’s complexion because her skin was radiant and absolutely glowing. She had never received such a compliment and I always think back and remember her smile because it truly made her day. In fact the next time she was at the grocery store she made sure to stop by my lane and ask me if I remembered her. If you feel nervous about talking to strangers in that manner, you can show kindness through your actions at home. You may choose to make things easier on your roomates or family by helping out with chores or cooking  without having them ask. Remember your actions make an impact on people, so let’s try to practice kindness every day.
Now, on days where we have maybe not acted in grace or kindness, we must learn to forgive ourselves. However, this does not mean that one loses out on the accountability of their actions. It requires self-reflection on why we were feeling or acting in a certain way, and apologizing for the behavior that was done. It requires us to actively try to make amends, and practice mindfulness in the future so that history does not repeat itself. Old habits can take time to change, but being mindful of oneself and their actions can truly make make a difference. We also need to have self compassion for ourselves when we face embarrassment or shame. It’s okay to admit that we have all made mistakes in our lifetimes. However, it’s how we handle our situations and our relationships with others and ourself that truly matters.  Being vulnerable is not easy, but we can find healing through accepting those vulnerabilities and healing.
Moving forward, I hope that some of the strategies that I listed are useful in helping you when you feel as though your cup is half full. Make sure to remember that these strategies are not substitutes for therapy, and if you are struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts to reach out to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Remember to stay updated for similar content and stay kind!