I explored this example/metaphor whilst working with a young person and we found it so useful that I have used it several times since. It has (so far) always allowed my clients to develop a more useful understanding of ‘self-help’ techniques.
Most times when we hurt ourselves, cut ourselves at home or at work for example we will go to our first aid box and take out something that will help us feel better and heal. A plaster for a cut, a paracetamol for a headache. If I suggested that you go to the first aid box and find something that will make you feel worse you would (rightly) ignore me.
So how often when you are feeling low, down and in a negative mood do you focus on other times and experiences when you also felt low, down and in a negative mood.
For some people when they experience negative thoughts they search for matching negative thoughts and stack up negative thoughts and experiences …. Result … they feel worse and they search for and stack up even more negative thoughts and experiences ……… and on it goes.
So, here’s where the First aid box comes in.
Focus on and start collecting positive thoughts and experiences. Times when you felt calm, strong, happy, relaxed. Save those thoughts and experiences in a ‘imaginary’ first aid box (as you would plasters, paracetamols etc.) and the next time you notice that you feel low, down or in a negative mood go to your first aid box and pick out something that will make you feel a little better (as opposed to a little worse!).
Peter Trenholme. Lifecoachbrighton 19th July 2017