Archive For The “COPING TOOLS” Category

10 Must-Have Daily Meditation Books

10 Must-Have Daily Meditation Books

10 Must-Have Daily Meditation Books | >> Click to Read!Reading daily meditation books has been a part of my morning routine ever since I got sober. I’ve come to view them as part of my recovery plan. Just taking those few moments in the morning to read two to three readings grounds and centers me. I then try to remain mindful throughout my day and carry the most relevant reading with me. Sometimes I even go back later in the day and re-read it.

Of the meditation books below, I own numbers 1, 2, and 10. The others are on my wishlist! -hint, hint 😉

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The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie: This is my most favorite daily meditation book. It’s inspirational while being solution-focused, and every day is relatable. I feel that I grow a little more with each day I read it. Plus, its index is thorough and highly convenient. For example, if I’m struggling with guilt, I know there’s likely a meditation on that so I just flip to the index and find the relating page(s).

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach: Through its daily meditations and mini lessons, this book inspires women to fulfill their passions and live authentically.

Believing In Myself: Self-Esteem Daily Meditations by Earnie Larsen: Everyday, there’s a fresh meditation reading to teach you, to help heal you, to help grow you – increasing your self-esteem all along the way.

Daily Affirmations for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Rokelle Lerner: This book aims to tackle that little, but not so quiet, self-deprecating voice in your head. It teaches you to direct your thoughts. “Today I acknowledge that I have emotions – but I am more than my emotions. I recognize this day that I have thoughts, but I am more than my thoughts. I need not cling to uncomfortable feelings or negative thoughts today….. “

50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem: Everyday Practices for Cultivating Self-Acceptance and Self-Compassion by Janetti Marotta: This book offers 50, easy-to-implement, mindfulness-based practices aimed at increasing self-awareness and decreasing self-criticism. This book provides you with actionable steps.

The Woman’s Book of Courage: Meditations for Empowerment and Piece of Mind by Sue Patton Thoele: “Courage is having the strength and willingness to overcome our resistance and do what we feel is right, even though it is difficult and/or we are afraid. It takes tremendous courage to face our fears, though it is essential that we do. For it is only when we free ourselves from the leg irons of fear, accepting and honoring the wisdom, strength, and beauty we inherently possess, that we can truly find the happiness we seek.”

Daily Gratitude: 365 Days of Reflection by National Geographic: This book combines beautiful imagery with daily inspirational quotes. “Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” ~St. Francis of Assisi

The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want By Being Present In the Life You Have by Marc Nepo: This book’s daily meditations draw on many different spiritual traditions and include a short exercise at the end of each one!

Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul by Melodie Beattie: This book aims to help you uncover the peace, healing, power and passion that’s already within you. Thus, the journey to your heart.

Day by Day: Daily Meditations for Recovering Addicts (Hazelden Meditations): This is a classic for a reason. It offers inspirational messages of hope in line with A.A.’s principles. It poses open-end questions to encourage action and is applicable to everyday life.

 What are your favorite daily meditation books and which ones are on your wish list?


Life Skills: Learning Them and Applying Them in Recovery -by Rose Lockinger

Life Skills: Learning Them and Applying Them in Recovery -by Rose Lockinger

Addiction stunts your emotional and mental growth. This is especially true for anyone who started using at an early age. If you grew up in an alcoholic or addict home there’s a good chance that you weren’t taught much more than how to survive. Surviving is what people with addiction learn to do best. We…

Deep Breathing: A Basic “How-To” + Free Download!

Deep Breathing: A Basic “How-To” + Free Download!

Deep Breathing: A Basic 'How-To' by TheSunnyShadow >> Click to Read!Deep Breathing is a simple and effective coping tool that anyone can do. A couple of reasons it’s so great is that it can be carried out anywhere and we’re always equipped to do it. All we need is ourselves.

Deep breathing triggers the body’s Natural Relaxation Response, which is a state of rest that changes our physical and emotional response to stress. Once triggered,  heart rate slows down, muscles relax, breathing becomes slower, and blood pressure even decreases. This makes deep breathing a “go-to” coping tool for anxiety. But it’s a basic coping tool everyone should learn how to do properly and keep in their coping toolboxes. That’s why I included it in my recent post, 31 Days of Self-Care.

There are many types of breathing exercises, but below you’ll find a basic guide to help anyone who’s just getting started.


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Deep Breathing: A Basic "How-To" | >> Free Download!

Deep Breathing: A Basic "How-To" | >> Free Download!

Included in Download!

Do you have any deep breathing tips for people just starting out? What other breathing exercises do you recommend?


Adult Coloring Books: Effective Coping Tool?

Adult Coloring Books: Effective Coping Tool?

Adult Coloring Books: Effective Coping Tool? by >> Click to Read!*This post contains affiliate links, for further information please see my Privacy Policy.


This post was originally titled, “Adult Coloring Books: Don’t Believe the Hype!” But I would hate to take the chance of keeping someone from a useful coping tool and I feel that it would be irresponsible of me to do so. Since originally publishing this post, I’ve received valuable feedback, read articles on my own, and done some reflecting. I’ve come to realize that adult coloring books can be an effective coping tool. However, this does not negate my original post below↓ I still think that several of the benefits touted by their publishers are exaggerated and somewhat misleading. That’s where my frustration lies. But I understand how coloring can act as a distraction, in the same way other effective coping tools do.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I, or anyone else thinks. All that matters is that you find coping tools that work for YOU. And because you’re an adult, you have the ability to choose for yourself. So read on, try an Adult Coloring Book out for yourself and you be the judge!

It’s kind of impossible to ignore all of the hoopla over “Adult Coloring Books style=.” Believe me, I’ve tried. But I quickly realized that adult coloring books are not just a childish, passing trend. Nope. People are jumping on the coloring bandwagon left and right!

Coloring book sellers and colorers themselves have made big claims. From stress and anxiety reduction, to improved creativity, and comparisons to the mindfulness and meditative qualities of yoga. Some even say that the therapeutic benefits of coloring are comparable to those received from art therapy.

If you’ve read my post on the Healing Power of Art, then you know that participating in art-based practices are greatly beneficial to psychological well-being. But let me clarify what I mean when I speak of art, and what I naively thought everyone else did too. I mean taking part in the creative process by participating in artistic expression and/or creating. Like, for example, sketching, painting, knitting or sewing, sculpting, writing, singing, or playing an instrument.

And then there’s art therapy, which is also scientifically backed and used in settings like psychotherapy and rehabilitation and treatment facilities. It aids in expressing and understanding emotions through artistic expression and the creative process. It increases awareness of self and others, promotes mindfulness and enhances cognitive function.

So, is coloring inside a set of predefined lines really capable of providing us with these benefits?

I think not.

In a Psychology Today article, art therapist and psychotherapist Cathy Malchiodi shares that coloring is not mindfulness, it is not creative art expression, and it is not therapy. She says that the fact that, “the concepts of meditation and mindfulness are being used to describe coloring pre-made designs is, in fact, insulting to these practices that have deep cultural, and spiritual foundations. . .   Until proven otherwise, your coloring book is not an autopilot to a mindfulness or meditative experience.”

The most basic reason it’s not art therapy is because as Cathy states, art therapy requires a relationship. Thus the title of her article, Are You Having a Relationship with an Adult Coloring Book?

Carl Jung: Mandalas

But I also want to clarify another point that I keep reading over and over again. That psychologists, including the renowned Carl Jung, have “prescribed” coloring books to their clients for years. I cannot speak of all other psychologists, but if people are speaking of the Mandalas, they were not simply coloring pages.

The Mandala is symbolic. It’s a graphical representation of center {Self}. It is present in all ancient cultures and even spiritual practices. The Mandala is a meditative image, as it puts the practitioner in touch with his or her ego. When this geometric shape appears in our dreams it’s a symbol of self-growth. It’s our psyche centering itself through new, unconscious information. And in modern times these Mandalas can take the form of really anything circular, like clocks, circular lakes, or radial buildings. Mandalas were not simply coloring pages in which Jung sent home with his clients.


Look, who doesn’t enjoy coloring?! And it’s okay to enjoy coloring for the sake of coloring, even as an adult, without trying to turn it into something that it’s not.

But it’s not therapeutic. If you need therapy, go to a skilled professional. It’s not artistic expression because the only things you’re expressing are your color preferences. In my opinion, artistic expression requires one to break outside the lines, to draw the lines, or to color on a page that has no lines and see what happens (or plan it out from the beginning).

Adult coloring books are just one of those things I don’t get. I feel as though it’s one of those bandwagon things. But hey, if it works for you that’s all that matters! Different coping tools work for different people.

What are your thoughts on “Adult Coloring Books style=?” Do tell!


15 Simple Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

15 Simple Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

15 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude» Also read about The Benefits of Gratitude «
  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Write in it daily or weekly, whatever you prefer. The more detailed the better. Change it up, don’t write the same thing everyday. If you do, you risk losing authenticity and motivation.
  2. Make Gratitude Lists. List 5-10 people, things, or even places you’re grateful for. If short on time, you can even make them in your head.
  3. Create Gratitude Jars. Get a mason jar or clean out a spaghetti sauce jar, decorate it and voila! Cut up pieces of paper to write on. Each day write something you’re grateful for on a small piece of paper and place it in the jar. See my Pinterest board for inspiration!
  4. Send a thank you note. Preferably handwritten and by snail mail or hand delivered.
  5. Write a thank you note on the receipt with a tip letting a server know how much you appreciated his or her kindness.
  6. Pay it backwards. Pay for the car behind you in a drive-thru.
  7. Pick out one tiny thing that makes your life a lot easier. Relish in the appreciation.
  8. Tell someone how much they mean to you. Not through text or e-mail.
  9. Practice small acts of kindness, with a smile.
  10. Pay a genuine compliment.
  11. Surprise someone with a treat or a gift. Or your presence and full attention.
  12. Complain less. Try going a whole day without complaining. Go for one day a week!
  13. Practice mindfulness, become more aware of all the good in your life.
  14. View hard times as self-growth opportunities. Ask yourself what you can learn from each new experience.
  15. Join me in my Weekly Gratitude Practice on Facebook.
>> DOWNLOAD a copy of 15 Simple Ways to Cultivate Gratitude! <<
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How do you cultivate gratitude?


Creating a Safety Plan

Creating a Safety Plan

Creating a Safety Plan | >> Click to Read >>*Trigger Warning: may contain triggers surrounding suicidal thoughts and ideation.

In my last post I shared that I’ve been depressed as of late. I also shared that my suicidal ideations have become more pronounced. At this point they’re thoughts that I’m able to redirect. But the red flag that keeps popping up in my mind is that my previous attempts were impulsive. Impulsivity is a common predisposition among those with bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses. This is one reason why I believe a Safety Plan would greatly benefit me, and potentially many others living with bipolar disorder.

Intense suicidal thoughts are often temporary. Safety Plans put on the brakes and help us get safe.

What Is a Safety Plan?

A Safety Plan is a document we create to help us stay safe when we’re having thoughts of self-harm. It’s a concise, step-by-step plan of action. Once we’ve been triggered or become aware of our warning signs, we activate our Safety Plan and carry-out each step in order. We thoroughly develop this plan with someone we trust, like a healthcare provider or a close friend or family member.

Safety Plans are different from No-Harm Contracts, as they are plans of action. Research has questioned the efficacy of no-harm contracts. For many reasons, but one being that they’re not that effective in actually preventing suicide.

Do You Need a Safety Plan?

Some people have higher suicide risks. For example, those with a history of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, and/or substance abuse all run a greater risk.

It’s important to know the warning signs of suicide.

I found the acronym below helpful, it comes from the American Association of Suicidology. But there are many more. I suggest reading Suicide Warning Signs & How to Help Prevent Suicide.


Ideation | Substance Abuse | Purposelessness | Anxiety | Trapped | Hopelessness | Withdrawal | Anger | Restlessness | Mood Changes

How to Create a Safety Plan

Safety Plans should be completed when we’re clear-headed. That is, when we’re in a mindset that we can be honest with ourselves and others. Everyone listed on the Safety Plan should receive a copy.

Sarah Emmerling from Bipolar Bytes has created two amazingly thorough Safety Plan templates that I highly recommend. They come with instructions too. And she’s generously offered to share them with all of us! → Safety Plan Template 1: PDF to download, edit, and email! – OR – Safety Plan Template 2: PDF to print and copy!

If you’d rather write your own, without using a template, here’s a brief guide. Remember, be specific and detailed. Carry out your plan in order. It’s best if you keep it on you at all times. And give everyone listed their own copy.

  • Identify Triggers & Warning Signs:
    • What sends me spiraling to a place where I think of harming myself?
    • What are warning signs my friends and family should look for?
    • What are thoughts, feelings, and/or emotions I have that signify a potential for self-harm?
  • Identify Coping Strategies:
    • What can I do to calm or distract myself? What works best for me? {externally}
    • How can I change my thought patterns? Reframe my thinking? What works best for me? {internally}
    • How can my family and friends help? What should they do and not do?
  • Identify Contacts:
    • Who should I contact to distract me, and who does so in a healthy and positive manner? {list several people and phone numbers}
    • Who should I contact in a crisis situation, and who can respond immediately? {list several people and phone numbers}
    • Who should my family and friends contact in the case that my judgement is impaired? {ex: psychiatrist, therapist, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK{8255}
  • Identify Reasons for Living:
    • What are my reasons for living?
  • Identify Ways to Make Environment Safer to Prevent Self-Harm:
    • How can I make my environment safer to prevent self-harm? {remove firearms??}
    • How can I minimize triggers?

Do you already have a Safety Plan? Do you feel that it’s helped you?

Remember, you are NEVER alone. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK{8255}


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