Dr. Julie Bindeman is a psychologist licensed in Maryland and with a degree from George Washington University. Her focus is on life transitions and dealing with the emotions that accompany them. She also has expertise in depression, anxiety, grief and loss.
We all enjoyed participating in Dr. Bindeman’s coping exercise. She has given me permission to post the process in my blog. I am using the actual transcripts of her chat (with only minor changes ) in hope you will give the coping exercise a try.
Below is the transcript of her coping exercise as well as some comments from those that participated in the exercise.
|Dr. Bindeman: I wish that I had magic words or actions that could take away both the actual symptoms as well as the emotions that go with it. What I can help with are some coping techniques that might help the day to day or moment by moment. It can be common with loss to dwell on what had been rather than to try to be in the moment.|
Asking for help is a great strategy, but certainly not an easy one! So, I would love to share ideas on how to be present in the moment, and prevent your minds from thinking about those things that you had been able to do.
Before we start, let me say we tend to not notice a lot of information that we take in with our senses. And, since this is a whole different experience to do within a chat room versus face-to-face, I hope you all can bear with me.
To begin the exercise, locate an object that might be around you. It can be anything -- a rock, a piece of food, a screwdriver. Pick up your object. In order to be in the present, it's important to activate our senses--all of them! I'll need a little bit of leeway on this one, as I'm sure that depending on what your objects are; many of you won't want to necessarily taste them. We tend to use our senses of sight and touch most frequently, so I want to hold off on those two until the end.
For those that have food or beverages, close your eyes and think about the sounds used to make them. For those with other objects, tap them on your hands, furniture around you, etc. Listen to the sounds that it makes and how those sounds differ depending on what it was tapped on. For the coffee drinker, you can also listen to the sound of the liquid swishing in the mug. When you are ready, describe what that was like.
Smells can bring up feelings and memories, so let yourself be open to those experiences right now as well.
One of the reasons I like to teach this exercise to my clients is that you can do it whenever you need it and with whatever you have handy.
You now need to consider what trigger points (for example, what mood or situation) will remind you to use this exercise to get you back to living in the present. Using moods as a cue is a great way to remember this.
It is so easy to stop being mindful and resent. The absence of these two things tends to be our default. We have little control over our past or our future, but we are able to do something with the present, whether we choose to embrace it or let it pass us by. I know that with the clients that I work with, it is so easy to get stuck inside yourself and to feel sorry for your own suffering. It's hard to remember that every human has their own kind of suffering.
Someone earlier mentioned about laughter being the best medicine. This is also such a truism. What makes you laugh? When you are in a funk, seek out something that will make you laugh.
Dr. Bindeman asked for feedback as to what using all five senses was like. Not necessarily specific things from each sense, but the overall exercise. “What did you experience, notice and learn?”
These are some of the comments from the group participating: