Creative Coping Skills for Gender Dysphoria

A bunch of ballons for deep breathing

I feel like what I hear a lot in therapy about coping skills is, ” I have tried all of that before and it never works “. There are lists upon lists on the internet of coping skills.  How do you know which ones will work for you if you have tried the most taught?

Deep Breathing with a Balloon

 

Some people have been taught deep breathing as their only coping skill they know or remember. And to be honest, it is not without its merits. Clients find deep breathing helpful as sacred place for mediation and centering their emotions.  They also feel it helpful to calm down from a panic attack. There will be times when you are crying so heavily and sobbing so hard that you can’t seem to catch your breath and all you can do is focus on producing more tears.

That would be an excellent time to try to use deep breathing to calm yourself down and feel centered with yourself again. One of the ways I introduce deep breathing is to offer a scenario where you can imagine a balloon that is your absolute favorite color, inflating and deflating in your stomach. Imagine this beautifully colored balloon getting smaller and larger as you control your breathing to your core. If you can possibly imagine that colored balloon as you focus on your breathing and getting calmer and calmer, you may be able to gain control again of your emotions.

Creative Journaling

I think having alternative coping skills is extremely important. Journaling is a coping skill that is suggested often. But, what if you can’t seem to write with pen and paper? Or, you don’t have the attention or motivation to make yourself write? There are other forms of journaling that might be a better fit for you.  You could Vlog by recording your thoughts on video or you could record audio on your phone.  You don’t have to have special equipment.  A lot of smartphones come with the ability to record video, or voice memos.

Sometimes talking out your feelings is even more powerful than writing them down. The thing is, you don’t have to share any of the recordings with anyone because your emotions don’t always have to be shared with others. Or, you could find it powerful to share with other via a blog. Just know, that what goes on the internet, stays on the internet.

Glorious Sunshine

I also am a huge advocate for seeing the sun daily when it is shining. In the Atlanta area in Decatur, Georgia it gets hot and humid and taking leisurely walks isn’t always the most fun in the dead of the summer. But, I suggest grabbing a water bottle or tea and sitting on your porch, patio, in the grass (because that feels amazing in bare feet). If you are in an urban area, sit at a stoop close to your home. Take the time to feel the sun making your skin warmer.  Try to focus on one grass leaf or one leaf blowing in a tree. If you can do this for ten minutes and really try to clear your head, you may just walk away feeling calmer and more focused.

Taking care of your health

Another coping skill for depression, or gender dysphoria is to take care of your body.  In a depression, sometimes laying the groundwork for health can be hard to accomplish.  Drinking water, getting out of bed and moving your body, and giving your body healthy fuel (food) is important.

Seeking Help

If you feel overwhelmed with daily tasks or have thoughts of hurting yourself, it’s best to seek help.  If you notice you are more tired, not sleeping well, it’s a good idea to seek help. Perhaps, you are transgender and having thoughts of dislike for your body.  Or, you feel stressed out and overwhelmed by your transition.  If any of these are the case, talking to a professional therapist can start to improve your mood and give you tools to move forward. I can reached here to set up a consultation via phone, video or in person.

 

 

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