Welcome to your toolbox of coping practises and strategies. As you travel your Journey to Fullness you will learn about all the tools in your toolbox and become more familiar with choosing to use them to support you on the road to distress tolerance, food literacy and body liberation.
They are listed in alphabetical order for ease of finding them. Please remember that like all strategies, they need to be practised for you to become more skilled at using them in times of distress; so keep practising and offer yourself some compassion if one doesn't seem to work in that moment.
1. 60 Second Stress Release
Affirmations need to feel true for you, try these or adapt them as needed;
I deserve to heal my relationship with food.
I am worthy of a fun, connected life.
I deserve to make time for myself on this journey to healing.
I am committed to making time for myself on this journey to healing.
I deserve to enjoy living in my body.
I am opening myself up to learning.
I deserve to honour my feelings
I am ready for this journey of acceptance and growth
I am worthy of joy
I am worthy of freedom
I am worthy of peace
3. Befriending the Body
4. Bilateral Stimulation
Bilateral stimulation is stimuli, visual, auditory or tactile, which occur in a rhythmic left-right pattern. This may look like passing an object from on hand to the other and following it with your eyes, it make look like going for a walk or perhaps offering yourself a self hug and tapping alternate shoulders.
5. Body Scan
6. Body Spilt
Take four deep breaths and start to tune into your body, notice which parts of the body feel connected and which do not. See if you can notice where the split is and listen to what it has to say before offering the body a nourishing message.
7. Breathing: Three Part Breath
Placing one hand on the belly and one on the chest, as you inhale fill up your belly first, then your lower chest and finally your upper chest. As you exhale breath out the air from your upper chest, your lower chest and finally squeeze any air left in your belly. Follow this link for guided three part breathing.
8. Breathing: 4:8 Breathing
Inhale for a count of four and exhale for a count of eight. If this feels too much try inhaling for three and exhaling for six to begin with. Repeat.
9. Breathing: Box Breathing
As you breath in count to four and imagine a single line, the side of your box; hold your breath for a count of four, imagining the next side of your box; exhale for four, imagining the third side of your box; holding the breath for four, imagining the final side of your box so you have a completed box. Repeat.
10. Breathing: Cellular breathing
Curl up into a ball either on your chair or on the floor, resting your forehead in the ground. Allow your belly to completely relax and notice what this shape does to your breath. Imagine yourself being a single cell and your breath is three dimensional, try to expand your breath in all directions. Follow this link for guided cellular breathing.
11. Chair Run
Sitting in your chair, grip onto the sides and focus on your natural breathing. Begin to move your legs as if you are running, focusing on not holding the breath. Staying seated, move your legs as fast as you can for 20 seconds.
12. Conscious Rest
Conscious rest is anything that does not feel "productive". It may be having a cup of tea in quiet, laying on the floor and listening to a song or watching your favourite show on TV.
Creativity offers mindfulness and presence. Explore creativity with mood boards, painting, writing, drawing, dancing and singing.
Distraction offers a focus away from what is distressing. It is important to have different distraction options, ones that are present and ones that may feel productive. It would be beneficial for distraction list to have different length options on too, ones that last five, ten and fifteen minutes.
15. Distress Tolerance Self Script
Use your self script to support you gain confidence in being able to cope with emotions basing it on the four steps; recognise and allow the emotion without pushing it away, watch the emotion, be present, deal with emotional comebacks.
16. Drain It Off
Use heat or massage to release stress. Try a hot shower, warm drink, foam rolling or self massage.
17. Embodiment Body Scan
18. Energy Centre Meditation
19. Gratitude Meditation
20. Grounding for five
Notice five things you can see, four things that you can touch, three things that you can hear, two things that you can smell and one thing that you can taste.
21. Hunger and Satiety scale
The hunger and satiety scale is a scale between 0 - 10 with 0 equating so hungry you may faint and 10 being so full you feel sick. Try and tune in where you are on the scale, trying to maintain appetite levels between 4-7. Although it is natural at times to eat past fullness.
22. Hyper-arousal regulation strategies
You may recognise hyper-arousal as anxiety or "fight and flight" mode. Some options to try when you experience this include, pushing against a wall, swinging the arms, going for a walk, laying on the ground with knees bent and both feet pushing into the floor, listening to calming music, bilateral stimulation, 4:8 breathing, laying under a weighted blanket, cuddling a pet, loosening the jaw, drinking through a straw, flossing teeth, taking a warm bath, having a warm drink.
23. Hypo-arousal regulation strategies
You may recognise hypo-arousal as low mood, dissociation or "freeze". Some options to try when you experience this include taking a gentle walk, rock and rolling on the floor, listening to upbeat music, having a cool shower, washing hands in cold water, crunching on ice, singing, dancing, humming.
24. Inner child meditation
25. Inner critic visualisation
Imagine the inner critic or restrict and rebel sitting on your shoulders, know that they are not you, but you are the one that observes them. Know that you don't need to push them away, you can acknowledge their existence and choose to listen in to what the true, loving voice, deep in your centre is saying instead.
26. Intuitive Dance
Put on a song of your choice and allow your body to move in a way that feels right for it. Let your body lead.
27. Meal planning
Meal planning can support you to reduce food stress and ensure that you are meeting your physiological needs too. Rather than a strict food plan, try to use the healing threes guide to create a flexible meal plan that can be easily adapted. For example, think of three or four breakfast and lunch options that are nutritious and delicious to rotate and create some variety with evening meals. Perhaps having Monday's as a fish night, Tuesdays as a plant based dinner and Wednesdays as a new recipe meal.
Meditation is not about trying to ignore your thoughts or turning off your feelings, but instead learning to observe them without judgement. Apps that can support you with guided meditations include Insight Timer, Calm and Headspace.
29. Mindfulness and mindful eating
Mindfulness brings awareness to the present moment and offering the present moment acceptance without making a judgement of it. When you bring this to eating that means bringing awareness to your eating behaviours without judging them. Practises such as turning of screens, eating at a table and eating off a plate or bowl rather than out of a packet can support mindful eating.
Music can create a state change, so if you are feeling anxious try and choose something calming; if you are feeling dissociated try and choose something more upbeat.
Eco therapy has been shown to have benefits on improving mood. So ideally try to get out the house, to the park or the woods, or if not take a look at nature photos or videos
32. Opposite Action
Opposite action literally means doing the opposite of what the chaotic eating voice or inner critic is telling you to do. This will create some anxiety, but the more you take this path the more familiar it will feel and the less anxiety it creates.
33. Pain Plan
"The next time I experience pain I will .... e.g. take 10 deep breaths, use RAIN, do some colouring, call a friend". Anytime you experience pain you can turn to your pain plan to support you to feel the pain in a healthy way. You can use RAIN here too [tool 35] to explore what needs nurturing.
34. Post Binge Self Care Strategy
"If I engage in binge eating I will ... e.g. take a walk around the block, drink a glass of water, watch a funny video, eat my next meal as planned." If you engage in binge eating behaviours having a plan in place will support you to offer yourself some self compassion in these moments and help to prevent re-visiting the binge - restrict cycle.
Recognise that there is an emotion present
Allow the sensation to be there without trying to fix it or numb it.
Investigate the sensation, can you name it? What does it feel like in the body?
Nurture your needs in that moment.
36. Ride the wave
Fighting or numbing emotions delays the acceptance of these emotions. Instead try to allow the emotions, knowing that they will come and they will ease without you having to do or fix anything.
37. Rocking to restore
38. Safe Statements
"When I am feeling angry I notice this by my heart pumping quicker and wanting to move my body, in this moment I need to jump up and down 10 times, lay on the floor for five minutes and have a hot cup of tea."
"When I am feeling overwhelmed I notice this by my thoughts racing and the sensations of butterflies in my stomach, in this moment I need to take a break from work, get outside regardless of the weather and call a friend."
Safe statements can support you to tune into your feelings and sensations and be able to meet your needs.
39. Self Inquiry
Self inquiry or journalling can support you to self discover what is going on for you beneath the surface, take a look at all your Journey to Fullness self inquiry prompts here.
40. Self monitoring
Self monitoring your eating behaviours using Nourishly, Recovery Record or a journal can support you to bring greater awareness to any triggers, thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
41. Self Esteem Hypnotherapy
42. Self soothing through the senses
Tuning into the senses can reconnect you to the body. You may have a preferred sense that creates a soothing sensation but try them all to see what works best for you. Visual tools may be to look at nature or beautiful images, sound may be to play gentle music or listen to waves crashing against the shore, touch may be to stroke your pet or get into your cosiest clothes, smell may be to light a scented candle or roll some essential oils onto your wrist, taste may be to suck on mint or have a chamomile tea.
43. Shifting body perception
44. Somatic anger and stress release
45. Sensations in the body
Instead of pushing the uncomfortable emotions away, try to tune into and explore the sensations you experience in the body. Where is the sensation? Is it hot or cold? Is it a colour or a shape or an object? Does it feel soft or hard? Can you move it with your breath?
46. Talk it out
Turn to a safe, reliable person in your life to hold space for you to explore what is going on for you in that moment.
47. The feelings wheel
48. The Healing Threes
Using a flexible structure like the healing threes can support your body learn to trust you to meet it's needs in adequate time and for you to learn to trust your body too. Until your own natural regulation over eating is re-established try to consume three meals and three snacks per day with no longer than three hours in between eating episodes. Download your E-book in Week One, Module 2 for more in depth information.
49. The Pause
Putting a pause between a trigger and a behaviour allows you to bring the unconscious thoughts and beliefs into more conscious awareness. To begin with try and pause for two minutes after being triggered, it does not matter if you engage in the chaotic eating behaviour or not. Next try and put three minutes, then four minutes and so on, to allow you to choose whether you want to engage in chaotic eating rather than it feel like a compulsion. You can use distraction [tool 14] during your pause.
50. The Voo
Start by bringing awareness to the body. Taking a deep breath in and as you breath out make the sound a foghorn would make, tuning in to the vibrations throughout the body. Follow this link to your guided voo practise.
51. Thinking Error Awareness
Thinking errors refer to a pattern of thinking that is maladaptive, or doesn't lead you to healthy behaviour. Just bringing awareness to the ones you experience commonly through non judgemental observation can support you to reframe these to more accurate thoughts. Common thinking errors include; catastrophizing overgeneralisation, all or nothing thinking, minimalisation, rationalisation, mind reading, self fulfilling prophecy.
52. Thought reframing [CBT]
Thought and belief reframing can support you to change your thoughts to ones that are more accurate and helpful. Try to ask yourself;
a) How does having this thought / belief make me feel and behave? What are the consequences of this?
b) Is this thought helpful or accurate?
c) What evidence have I got for and against the accuracy of this thought?
d) What would a more accurate and helpful thought be?
e) How would I feel and behave if I had this thought? What would the consequence of this be?