Changing Emotional Self-Harm into Self-Care
by Rebecca Hieronymi
In my last article I talked about the different ways we emotionally self-harm, such as belittling ourselves, holding grudges, and not prioritizing our needs. I want to follow that article up with some ideas for self-care that will help change those harmful behaviors to ones that help us grow, mature, and lead happier more fulfilling lives.
1. Journaling: Studies show that journaling can help fight depression because it forces you to reflect and helps you get things off your chest, even if you’re just admitting things to yourself.
2. Reconnect with a friend: Even if you have no desire to get out and talk to people, making an effort to actively participate in your social life is very beneficial. Humans are social animals; we need community of some kind to flourish.
3. Humor: We have all heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine, and that is not too far from the truth. Doing something that makes you laugh releases endorphins and decreases stress hormones. So, try watching a funny movie or a stand-up comedian, do whatever makes you laugh.
4. Physical Activity: Time and time again, studies have shown that regular exercise is one of the best ways to fight depression. Exercise releases endorphins and there is really no downside to getting a little exercise.
5. Bibliotherapy: Using books in therapy is one of the most popular self-guided forms of therapy out there. Books that teach people how to improve their mood, deal with depression, and conquer anxiety help to guide them along on their therapy journey. *Keep in mind that this is only recommended for those with mild depressive symptoms*
6. Yoga: Some might say that yoga is just another form of exercise, but, it is much more than that. Yoga can be described as a kind of meditation in motion, can be spiritual in nature, and helps with mindfulness and introspection.
7. Meditation: Meditation may just be one of the oldest self-care techniques in history. People have been meditating for thousands of years and the effects of this practice are well documented. The intention is to attain inner peace, which makes it a great strategy for combatting depression. Put simply, it gives us greater appreciation for our own lives.
Next time you find yourself in a loop of negative self-talk or participating in unhealthy behaviors, try one of the suggestions above or reach out to a trusted friend/family member. If you or someone you know has experienced intimate partner violence, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Please contact us locally at 256.574.5826, on our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000, or at our website www.csna.org. Advocates provide free, confidential support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.