Wellness Tools for the Effects of Trauma

Excerpts from “WRAP for the Effects of Trauma

The following is a list of some common Wellness Tools that others have used to heal from the effects of trauma.  If the tool is preceded by an asterisk, you can find more information in the appendices at the back of this book.

The following is a list of some common Wellness Tools that others have used to heal from the effects of trauma.  If the tool is preceded by an asterisk, you can find more information in the appendices at the back of this book.

However, you may have discovered some unusual Wellness Tools that are helpful to you.  I have.  And I have heard some suggestions from others.   I am including a list of those as well.  Some of them may work for you, too.  And they may help you to think more deeply about what really does work for you.  You may be able to come up with some creative Wellness Tools of your own.

There is also a list of examples of Wellness Tools that are things you may want to avoid.

These are only examples.  They are listed here in case you want to try them or use them, and to give you ideas on other Wellness Tools.

Common Wellness Tools

• *Talking to someone who validates you and your experiences

•  Going to the library for a free event

•  Talking to a health care provider

• *Peer counseling or exchange listening

• *Focusing exercises

• *Relaxation and stress reduction exercises

• *Guided imagery

• *Journaling

• *Creative, affirming activities

• *Exercise

• *Diet

• *Light

• *Extra rest

•  Trying a new recipe

•  Time off from home or work responsibilities

•  Attending a support group

•  Seeing my counselor or sponsor

•  Doing something “normal” like washing my hair, shaving or going to work

•  Calling a warm or hot line

•  Surrounding myself with people who are positive, affirming and loving

•  Wearing something that makes me feel good

•  Looking through old pictures, scrapbooks and photo albums

•  Making a list of my accomplishments

•  Spending ten minutes (or however long I want) writing down everything good I can think of about myself

•  Doing something that makes me laugh

·   Sitting on a bench in the park

·   Finding a really great quotation and putting it where I can see it often

·   Listing my options

•  Doing something special for someone else

•  Getting some little things done

•  Repeating positive affirmations

•  Focusing on and appreciating what is happening right now

•  Listening to music, making music or singing

•    Creative activities like crafts, needlework, painting, drawing, woodworking,

sculpture,  photography

•    Reading whatever you enjoy like fiction, comics, mystery novels, inspirational writings

•    Word puzzles, games

•    Going fishing

•    Dancing spontaneously

•    Quiet time or meditation

•    Taking care of something I have been putting off

•    Eating my favorite foods

 

[* There is more information on these topics in the appendix.]

Ideas of unusual wellness tools that others have used.  Some of these you will want to do in private unless you share your space with understanding people.   Anything is OK as long as you do not hurt yourself or anyone else.

•    Quickly getting in the shower with my clothes on (a response to feelings of wanting to harm myself)

•    Making a list of people who care about me and putting it in my pocket

•    Hiding under my covers or hiding anyplace

•    Keeping my comforting music handy so I can play it whenever I want

•    Writing myself a letter of encouragement and then mailing it to myself

•    Sucking my thumb

•    Giving myself an affectionate nickname

•    Hitting my pillows over and over

•    Writing out whatever is bothering me, and then tearing it up

•    Screaming loudly until I don’t feel like screaming any more

•    Coloring in a coloring book (for kids or adults)

•    Singing loudly or playing a musical instrument like drums, loudly

•    Have someone read something comforting to me, or read it out loud to myself

•    Hugging stuffed animals

•    Taking a shower and letting my worries go down the drain

•    Playing with toys

•    Pretending I am a child, or an animal

•    Holding a baby or a baby doll

•    Asking for as many hugs as I need

•    Treating myself as if I were my best friend

•    Writing a letter to someone, telling it like it is, and not sending it, or sending it

•    Singing inspirational songs in the shower

•    Buying myself something I enjoy wearing (thrift stores are good for this)

•    Leaving a hopeful note for myself at night, to find in the morning

•    Feeling velvety or soft fabric

•    Repeating over and over to yourself what a great person you are

•    Safely throwing things (one person talked about smashing old dishes into a dumpster)

•       Writing words like hope, courage, strength, peace on rocks with a marker

 

Your list of tools could also include things you want to avoid.  You may not want to stop doing these things “cold turkey” or stop doing them forever.  You can write that into your plan.  For instance, a Wellness Tool could be calling your brother on the phone once a week instead of every day.  It could mean you smoke fewer cigarettes each day or limit yourself to a certain number of cigarettes a week.   If you are used to hurting yourself, it may be that you do it less and less over time.

•       Avoid or limit use of alcohol, sugar, and/or nicotine

•       Going to bars or places that serve alcohol

•       Going to places where you might meet people who could hurt you or who treat you badly

•       Getting overtired

•       Certain people

•       Certain places

•       Certain kinds of activities

•       Watching the news on TV

•       Violent movies and television programs

•       The newspaper or certain sections of the newspaper

Add new Wellness Tools whenever you think of them. As you are working on other sections of your WRAP, you will think of Wellness Tools that you may not have included in your original list of Wellness Tools.  I suggest you add them to your Wellness Toolbox as you work on the rest of your WRAP®.  For instance, when I was developing my Daily Maintenance List, I thought about my need to drink 8 glasses of water a day to feel well.  So I added it to my list of Wellness Tools.

It’s a good idea to have lots of Wellness Tools in operation on a daily basis, and to be adding new ones often.  Not only will they increase the quality of your life and your resilience—they are also effective and fun ways to create balance and well-being.  If you encounter rough times, it is much easier to increase the number of Wellness Tools you are using,and to turn them into action plans effectively and quickly.  If you are hardly using any Wellness Tools at all, then increasing them when you are feeling low will be much more difficult.

Refer to the list of Wellness Tools as you develop your Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Keep it in the front of your binder so you can use it whenever you feel you need to revise all or parts of your plan.

This list is a “gold mine” of ideas for you to use to help yourself feel better in even the worst of times.  Mine has been like that for me.  Whenever times get really tough and I can’t figure out what to do next, I start thinking of my Wellness Tools. I have a list of them hanging on my refrigerator door.  I  keep my WRAP on my computer.  My Wellness Tools are easily accessible there as well.  You may think of other places you want to keep a copy of your list of Wellness Tools.

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