If you have a mental disorder and have either sought out support online or attended therapy, you’ve likely been told that you should or will develop tools to help you in times of mental crisis. These “tools” or your “toolkit” doesn’t consist of actual tools that you might use to fix a car, for instance, but they are metaphorical tools that you can use to help you manage and navigate the symptoms that are causing you distress.
The best part about a mental health tool kit is that it can be unique to you – whatever works for you, whatever fits your needs, and whatever has proven successful in helping you remain calm when your symptoms emerge are what your kit can consist of. The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science has noted the following things that can trigger symptoms of your mental disorder:
- Physical environment such as temperature, prolonged standing, noise exposure, and other problems that can occur throughout the day and add on stress
- Family or relationship stress such as marital disagreements, rebellious children, caring for an ill family member and more
- Work-related stressors, such as general job dissatisfaction, work overload, work conflict and others
- Life situations including financial strains, discrimination or harassment, unemployment, etc.
- Major life changes, including having a baby, getting divorced, moving, and more.
Your mental tool kit might involve people in your support system whom you can reach out to, your pets to rely on for comfort, a funny movie that has always helped you feel relaxed, a park that you can walk in to get a breath of fresh air, a hot shower that helps you decompress, a delightful book that helps distract negative thoughts, a creative endeavor that allows you to express yourself, and more.
These tools are so beneficial because you can use them at any time, whenever you need them. You may also want to include worksheets, mantras, or practices that you’ve used in therapy that have worked well for you. Mental Health America has an excellent worksheet that you can download to help you identify and combat negative thoughts, you can find that here: goo.gl/sFVAD1. Feel free to experiment with different methods and add or detract from your toolkit as you find what works.
New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment programs. If you are experiencing symptoms of a mental disorder that is making daily life challenging and you are ready to begin your journey to recovery, call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation. You are not alone – we care about your recovery and we are ready to help you achieve your recovery goals.