At some point, most of us have found ourselves spiraled down into a pit of stress, wondering how we got there in the first place. And at this point, most of us have asked ourselves, “What’s the point of stress? Why am I even stressing out? What’s the point!?” While stress can be very unpleasant at times, it actually serves a major purpose in our lives, and is one factor that has helped humans survive throughout the centuries.
Stress: we all know what it feels like. In fact, most of us experience stress throughout our daily lives. When we think of stress, most of us consider it to be a bad thing. I mean, who wants to be stressed? However, there are two primary types of stress, one negative and often damaging, and the other is actually beneficial! Keep reading to learn more.
How to Make Your Own Mindfulness Jar
As we learned in a previous blog, mindfulness is a practice that is beneficial to all of us. However, many of us have a hard time committing to mindfulness and finding a way to incorporate mindfulness practice into our everyday lives. Below is a guide for creating a mindfulness jar, which is a great tool for people of all ages to improve their mindfulness skills. Keep reading to learn how to make your own!
What is a Mindfulness Jar?
Mindfulness jars are containers filled with primarily water a glitter. They are tools to help all of us improve our mindfulness, and are also very effective in helping us calm down when we feel ourselves getting worked up. They are simple, portable, and can be used by anyone. Mindfulness jars are not only great for children as an introduction to mindfulness, but also for teens and adults!
How to Make a Mindfulness Jar
You will need the following supplies:
A container (you can use a mason jar or opt for a plastic container, such as a Voss water bottle)
Warm or hot water
Glitter (preferably three different colors)
Hot glue (optional)
1. Add clear glue to the container
The more glue you use, the longer it will take for the glitter to settle down. The standard amount is enough glue to fill the bottom of the container.
2. Add in your glitter
Ideally, you will have three different colors of glitter to add. The three colors symbolize our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We’ll talk about this more a little later.
3. Fill it up with water
Fill the container to the very top with water. Warm or hot water works best to incorporate the glue.
4. Seal the top with hot glue
This is optional, but it is usually a safe bet to ensure that the contents of the jar stay in the jar (especially with children). Place hot glue around the brim of the container, put on the top, and tighten it closed.
5. Add on any special instructions or sayings
Also optional, but now you can decorate your mindfulness jar with anything that may be special to you. This can include instructions to remind you of what the mindfulness jar represents, or it can include your favorite quote, or a picture of something that you enjoy. Have fun with making this your own! (Just make sure that the decorations don’t cover the entire bottle)
You have successfully made a mindfulness jar!
How Do You Use a Mindfulness Jar?
So now you have a mindfulness jar, here’s how to use it.
Look at the container when it is still. All of the glitter is at the bottom and the remainder of the container is clear. That is like our mind when we are calm, we are able to think clearly and we aren’t weighed down.
Now give the container a big shake and see the glitter swirl around. This is like our mind when we get worked up. Whether it be when we become stressed, anxious, angry, or anything else, our mind gets cloudy and things feel chaotic.
Look at the glitter. The three colors symbolically represent our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. These three are intertwined and all affect one another. When we start to feel bad, these three are out of whack. Take this time to think about each.
Ask yourself the following:
What kind of thoughts are going through my head?
What emotion(s) am I feeling right now?
How am I behaving?
What am I doing physically? (Tense? Clenching fists? Shaking? Crying?)
Now take deep breaths and watch as the glitter settles back to the bottom. Once everything settles down, ask yourself those questions again. Are you feeling any different than when you began?
What are Coping Skills?
Coping skills is a term thrown around frequently, especially among the therapeutic community. What are coping skills and how do we use them?
What are coping skills?
Coping skills cover a variety of things that we can do to help ourselves through a variety of feelings, emotions, and mental states. This includes: stress, anxiety, depression, anger, and more.
Coping skills vary widely, as they are very unique to each person. With this being said, one person’s go-to coping skill may not be helpful at all to someone else.
What are examples of coping skills?
However, there are some very common coping skills that are popular among a lot of people. These include:
Taking deep breaths
Taking deep breaths and counting to ten are an easy and convenient coping skill, as we are able to access it anytime, anywhere. Focusing on our breathing and making an effort to take slow, deep breaths helps us to slow down and center ourselves.
Listening to music
Ever gotten in the car and blasted your favorite songs after a bad day? That is an example of using a coping skill! Many of us connect to the emotions of the song that we are listening to and in time, we are able to unwind with our favorite jam.
Talking to a close friend, loved one, or other trusted person
Sometimes, we need to just vent. Connecting with someone who we trust and letting out some steam is a great way to help ourselves through a situation and to gain more clarity on the issue at hand.
When would we use coping skills?
Coping skills can, and should, be used throughout daily life. Whether you had a stressful day or a major life event, coping skills help us to stay grounded, in the moment, and able to deal with whatever comes our way.
How to find out what coping skills work for you:
The process of discovering the coping skills that work best for you is a personal process that sometimes takes a bit of trial and error. To start, think about the things that you usually do first after a long and stressful day. Do you read? Write? Exercise? Eat a bar of chocolate? Find out what it is that you usually do and then decide whether it is a helpful thing to do or something that is not so helpful.
From there, continue down the list and brainstorm things that you think can help you. Write these down and try each one out the next time you are feeling down. Star the ones that help you the most and scrap the ones that aren’t helpful. As time goes on, this ongoing list is something that you’ll be able to keep on hand to use whenever you need it.