If you’ve found your way to Kokoro 心 Heart you’re probably a seeker and seekers find the edges of things, including reality. From the depths of despair to the heights of mystical psychosis, the journey we’re on can be arduous for the spirit. If you’re having a hard time right now, here are some immediate resources (I will continue fleshing these out as I explore others):
- LifeLine, 13 11 14, crisis support and suicide prevention
- Beyond Blue, 1300 224 636, anxiety depression and suicide prevention
- here is an international list of suicide hotlines
- Black Dog Institute, a not-for-profit facility for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.
- We can start developing our emotional vocabulary with reference to the Ekmans’ Atlas of Emotions, which is associated with the Cultivating Emotional Balance training that was commissioned by the Dalai Lama.
The RAIN meditation helps us to cultivate self-compassion using the following formula:
the emotions we have experienced
Accept or Allow
that we have experienced them, rather than suppressing them
the experience of these emotions, to see for example whether they have triggered cognitive distortions or whether they were balanced
ourselves, because probably we are coming to RAIN because we have experienced some affliction and if so it’s time for some compassion and forgiveness
The practice of psychological first-aid falls somewhere between acute and long-term self-care. In its long-term use, it could also be called psychological hygiene. It baffles me that I was nearly 40 before I had it pointed out to me that we need to treat psychological wounds as they happen, the same as we treat physical wounds.
Here is a video by Guy Winch, which was my introduction to this practice. Below the video I’ve got a PDF I developed for my own practice of psychological hygiene.
This worksheet helps me to process emotional episodes in a healthy, supported and guided way. It’s a practice of self-soothing and -regulation. Here are the .odt and .docx files if you want to modify the worksheet for your personal use.
The worksheet guides you through asking, What sort of things did you think, feel and do before, during and after the emotional episode?
Then there are some prompts for self-care and emotional first-aid you can try, and some reflection questions about things like, What are you grateful to have learnt from this experience.
In the worksheet there is a recommendation to write yourself a love letter, based on this guided meditation by Elizabeth Gilbert, “Facing Fear With Compassion”. If you’re having a hard time and beating up on yourself about it, this exercise can help you to shift from as far-out as self-loathing back to self-love and -compassion.