What’s In Your Mental Health Toolbox

Do you know about WRAP®?  WRAP® stands for “Wellness Recovery Action Plan” and it is tool that many people around the world use to achieve and maintain wellness. 

One part of WRAP® is the “WELLNESS TOOLBOX”.  It is a list of things that you can do for yourself that will help you feel better when you don’t feel so well, or to help you continue to feel well.  Wellness Tools are simple, safe, free and fun things you can do for yourself to help yourself.

 My Wellness Toolbox is pretty extensive, but my most used and very best wellness tool is my Toy Poodle, Diya.  Her beauty and intelligence makes me smile every day.  She sits at the door to watch me leave in the morning and she is there wagging her little tail when I come home at night.  She literally makes me happy when skies are gray.

 But what about when she’s not around?  In those cases I like to use a technique I learned in the NAMI Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education Course, called “Mindfulness”.  Any activity can be done as a mindfulness exercise, whether it is eating something, looking at something or just breathing.  In mindfulness, I spend 1 minute, sixty small seconds, being fully aware, focused on and present in the activity.  If I mindfully listen to music, for one minute I let the music envelop me, not analyzing it or tapping my toes – just being present with it as the notes flow in one ear and out the other.  If I chose to mindfully eat something, like a peanut, I spend 60 seconds letting it roll around in my mouth, noticing all the nooks and crannies, or the sheer smoothness of it.  Then as I bite, I pay attention to how it tastes and how each little particle makes its way across my palette.  If I am outside and see some flowers, I spend my mindful minute taking in all the wonders and beauty of every petal and every leaf.  You might say that mindfulness is like “mini-meditation”.  It is something I take time to do every day.

 Another thing I do to nurture my mental well-being is to practice thankfulness.  I can always find something to be thankful for – whether it is that I have a job, or a dog, or that the sun is shining or that the rain is replenishing the land, or for a TV show I like or for a favorite movie, or that I am alive – I thank the universe for any and everything I can.

Speaking of TV, do you have a favorite show or something you can watch that will make you smile?  My mom and I make it a laugh date every week.  And, if I’m really down and want to smile, I watch a show about puppies and kittens from birth through 12 weeks.  Who doesn’t love puppies and kitties – they are just TOO CUTE!

 I love to learn new things, and one of my new favorite things is classical music.  It calms me and allows me to treasure the sounds of various instruments.  I sometimes play a little game and try to guess all the instruments’ sounds I can make out.  The great thing about wellness tools is that they are simple, safe, fun and free (or low cost).  Is there something new you could do to turn a frown upside down?

 How about just smiling?  Give it a try right now!  Smile as big as you can – even add a little chuckle.  I’m smiling while I’m blogging – imagine that! 

 If–when you are feeling OK–you make a list of things that can help you, it is a lot easier to do one of them when you’re feeling not so OK.  So try and make a “toolbox” for yourself. You can even decorate a box and put the items on little pieces of paper, or get one of those toy toolboxes – just looking at that thing would make me smile!  Whatever you do, try something.  “Cause you never know unless you try.

My Mental Health Day Thanks:
Denise Camp, Advanced Level WRAP® Facilitator (ALF)

One Response to “What’s In Your Mental Health Toolbox”

  1. Lisa Orwig says:

    Norma – So happy you shook things up and took the bus. Keep going!

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