Not Okay? Try This... Podcast
By Aylssa Cowell
Not Okay? Try This... PodcastDec 21, 2022
Coping Ahead - What to do if you have a stressful situation looming...
Are you worried about a stressful situation coming up? Want to feel more in control? In this episode Aylssa will teach you the DBT Skill of Coping Ahead. Planning for situations when you are calm, helps us make better choices in the moment when we are triggered - a skill particularly useful with Christmas coming up! If you would like 1-1 counselling or coaching with Aylssa, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finding Your Glimmers to Help Self-Regulate
This exercise is from the book "Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection" by Deb Dana (2020)
How to help when someone has died
We will all, at some point, be touched by the death of someone close to us. Many of us don't know how to respond when someone is grieving so we avoid the topic for fear of making things worse - but that in itself makes the person who is left behind feel more isolated and alone. In this episode we talk about the stages of grief and what to expect when someone has lost someone close to them, and how you can support a friend or loved one through their grief.
If you are grieving you may also find the following episodes helpful:
Using Your Senses to Deal with your Emotions
Improving Your Relationships
Is your relationship strained? Not as good, or as fun as you would like it to be? Do you feel like you are nagging your partner all of the time?
If you would like to improve the relationships you have with the people around you then this short episode is for you. Our mental health is so linked to the connections we have with other people that if these are strained then this can cause us much distress.
This episode will not tell you to shut up and put up though - it gives clear guidance and questions to help you decide what to do next.
Episode length is less than six minutes and is based on William Glasser's Choice Theory.
Taming Your Tigers
Does your stomach flip at the thought of using a phone? Do your legs turn to jelly when you have to stand up and talk in front of an audience? Does your heart beat too fast when you walk into a crowded room? In this episode we talk about how your stress response system (sympathetic nervous system) can be activated by things that shouldn't actually frighten you, and what you can try to help turn off that warning system. If anxiety is overtaking your life, this episode is for you.
Episode length 9 minutes.
Improving your body image
Do you feel bad about the way that you look? Do you negatively compare yourself to other people? Do you wish you looked like an Instagram model and pick fault with yourself because you don't?
In this episode Aylssa talks through the components of body image, and what you can do to improve yours, no matter your shape or size.
If you feel like you need extra help or support around body image issues or eating disorders the organisations below may be able to help:
Try This Muscle Relaxation Technique
In this episode Aylssa helps you to relax by talking you through the progressive muscle relaxation exercise she was taught when she was 15 years old, and has used to get to sleep ever since (though she just uses the final section now!). So grab yourself a comfortable chair or a nice spot to lie down and we'll begin.
Challenge Your Thinking
In this episode Aylssa talks about the 10 different 'Thinking Traps' sometimes called 'Cognitive Distortions' that we can get ourselves into that fuel poor mental health including Anxiety and Depression. As our thinking fuels our emotions (and vice versa), paying attention to what our brain is telling us can help us challenge what is untrue or unhelpful and help us feel better. Thoughts, like feelings, are not facts.
This approach is the basis of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is an evidence based strategy for Anxiety and Depression.
The basis for the episode came from the book "The Borderline Personality Disorder Toolbox" by Jeff Riggenback, PHD, LPC.
Episode length 10 minutes.
Try these 2 things each day for a week
If you could purposely do 2 things each day that would change your life - would you try?
In this episode Aylssa argues you can positively impact your mental health by choosing to do these 2 things each day. Give it a try for a week and see if you feel any differently!
This is the DBT Skill of Cultivating Positive Experiences initially devised by Marsha M. Lineham.
3 words to stop using this week
In this episode Aylssa explains why stopping using these 3 words could benefit your relationships and your mental health.
Bonus! Another word you could consider changing.
See if changing some words can change the way you see things.
Episode length: Around 5 minutes
Where does this theory come from? Solution-focussed therapy; cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy
Acceptance of the Things You Can't Change
Sometimes in life awful things happen - big things, small things - and sometimes we get stuck in a cycle of painful emotions like shame, anger, bitterness, guilt or intense sadness. If you find yourself caught up in "why me" or "life isn't fair" because you can't solve the problem or change how you feel about it, this episode may be helpful. Acceptance of the things you can't change does not mean you approve of them or like them - it means that you stop prolonging your suffering.
In this episode Aylssa talks about the DBT Skill of Radical Acceptance. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy was devised by Marsha M. Lineham, and this episode was devised referencing the book: "DBT Skills Manual for Adolescents" by Jill H. Rathus & Alec L. Miller (2015) Guildford Press.
Mapping The Present
In this episode Aylssa talks you through the deceptively simple MIBT exercise of Mind Mapping. This is a great exercise to check in on where you are at in life, what you are coping with at the moment and things you would like to change. So as always, grab yourself a pen and paper and lets get started!
This exercise is something you can do if you are attending counselling or therapy for the first time (take it with you!) or if you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed (it can be helpful to understand exactly what you are dealing with at the moment) or if you want to just check in with your life and mental health.
The exercise is from Motivational Interviewing (MIBT) which really focuses on identifying problem areas of your life/behaviours and prioritising the changes you want to make.
The Tree of Life
In this episode Aylssa talks you through the Art Therapy exercise of The Tree of Life. It is a great exercise for your mental wellbeing because you reflect on how far you've come, the challenges you have overcome along the way, and what is important to you. So grab yourself a piece of paper (or your journal) and a pencil and lets get started - as always please pause the podcast as you need to!
Remember with all art therapy exercises, the goal is not the finished piece - it is your process. It doesn't have to look pretty (or even that much like a tree!)
If you would like to show us your finished picture feel free to tag us on Instagram: @not.ok.try.this as we'd love to see it!
Length: under 8 minutes.
Unsent Letters is a journaling exercise you can do if you want to tell someone something but can't - it might be that you are so angry that screaming in their face would make matters so much worse, or maybe a relationship has ended, or perhaps you are grieving after a loved one's death. If your mental health is suffering and you have scenarios spinning around and around in your head this could be for you.
Great for processing anger, grief, anxiety and sadness, Aylssa talks you using this writing exercise to help you process how you feel and what you can do next. It's also one she uses personally to process her own emotions.
Bonus - at the end she also tell you how you can use the same technique in a slightly different way (sentence stems).
Exercise is originally called "Series of Three" by Kathleen Adams, in Bolton, Field & Thompson (2006) 'Writing Works: A Resource Handbook for Therapeutic Writing Workshops & Activities' London: JKP
How To Get What You Want
Do you need to ask someone to do something?
Always feel the need to put others before yourself and are starting to resent feeling taken for granted?
Have no idea how to ask someone to do what you want?
Then this episode is for you. Aylssa talks you through the 7 steps to asking for what you want - whether that is your child to stop coming home late or your boss for a pay-rise - give it a listen. People are not mind readers and often do not know you are seething about something - so for everyone's mental health, it's better to be open and honest about how you feel and what you want.
How to Change Your Emotions when they're not helping you
How to Tame Your Emotions
In this episode Aylssa talks about the purpose of emotions and how using the strategy Name It to Tame It, can help you feel more in control of your emotional reactions and your mental health. Also see episode 2 for a strategy about using your senses to help if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Our temperament and life experiences can influence how easily we feel overwhelmed emotionally. Figuring out our unique early warning signals can help us from being sideswiped.
Pop over to our instagram page: @not.ok.try.this to make any suggestions for future episodes.
Calming Down Using Your Senses
How to solve any problem (that can be solved)
Do you feel like your life is just one big problem? Feeling lost about what to do?
If so grab yourself a pen and a piece of paper and let Aylssa talk you through the 7 steps to solving any problem.
Our motto: keep it short - keep it simple - keep it evidence based. Episode length = less than 7 minutes.
(Note: the problem solving strategy outlined comes from DBT Skills developed by Marsha M. Lineham.)