Step 1 – Catch It Spot when you might be having thoughts. When you feel anxious or depressed, check your thoughts. Use it when angry too! No matter the negative though or something that you heard about you, catch it and ask these questions. What are you thinking? Could those thoughts make you depressed or anxious?
Step 2 – Check It Stop and think about what you’re thinking. Is it really true? Do you have evidence to back it up? Would other people interpret things in the same way? This is perhaps the most difficult part of the exercise as nearly everybody believes their own thoughts are right (think about arguments with friends about politics or football). It’s very difficult to check out your own thoughts objectively. This is where a peer specialist can step in and help you look at facts not feelings.
Step 3 – Change It At this point you need to try substituting more realistic thoughts. If your automatic thoughts tend to be depressive or anxious, you need to think of different – but realistic – ways of thinking about the situation. Then, check out these new ways of thinking. Are they more likely to be true than your automatic thoughts? Do they make you feel any different?
Step 4 – Practice Makes Perfect Psychologists and psychiatrists have found that homework is important here. It is important to practice, so try using the form below. Print it off and practice. Remember, this is an exceedingly difficult process. Overcoming mental health problems is a huge challenge and we are here to help you every step of the way!
Write bullet points of things that you are grateful for. Write out thoughts freely. Just get things out! There is power when you take things from your head, through your hand, and down to paper! If you keep it bottled up, you will bleed on someone that didn’t hurt you!
Have a stone that you can keep in your pocket, take it out when need, and rub it. You don’t have to use a stone, there are other ways to get the same effect. This helps you let out anxious energy and concentrate on something for a bit other than what is making you anxious.
This is a grounding exercise for when the world is overwhelming and you need to bring it down. But if you do the exercise backwards, it can help get you out of your head and back into the world around you.
1. Name five things you can see
2. Name four things you can touch
3. Name three things you can hear
4. Name two things you can smell
5. Name one thing you can taste
When confronting a situation, say something like “When you did xyz, I felt abc.” Then give a way that can help solve as a team. This tool helps you identify why you feel how you do, helps the other understand what happened and how you feel, and allows for healthy way to deal with the situation.
Before you say anything, but especially when angry, put things through a filter. This allows you to pause and think before reacting to a situation.
1. Does it need to be said?
2. Does it need to be said by me?
3. Does it need to be said right now?
4. Is it true?
5. Is it kind?
In this activity, you are working on building how you talk to yourself. Again changing the negative thoughts to positive, but this is more of having the positive thoughts there before the negative even starts! Ways to do that are saying every morning or evening five things good about the day and five things that you are proud of yourself of doing! Another way to introduce better self-talk is to add affirmations around the house. You can use sticky notes to post things like “I got this!” or “I have done this before, so I can do it again” and the hard one to read and believe but needs to be there is “I love me!”
Being active is so important to our mental health. So to help get those good flows in the body, get active! Go for a walk, play a game outside, park the furthest from the door, ride a bike! There are many different things you can do to be active, the benefit though is that your oxygen flows better in the system, your heart and lungs get stronger, you release the good chemicals that help with how you feel, and you can let out steam and relax!