THE BENEVOLENT OTHER (an exercise from the proprietary writing course, Writing for Wellness, in perspective taking)

Write from the perspective of someone/some entity, real or imagined, who loves you unconditionally and shows you unlimited positive regard — what would they say to you about your current situation?

20 min max

Stop where you are at, on or at 20 min., or stop when you feel finished, if before 20 min. Work at your own pace.

What have you prioritized in this piece? Why? What have you omitted and why? What themes, motifs, or archetypes are most salient or that reveal themselves?

Any insights gained?

In this exercise, you are deconstructing a dominant narrative, in this case, negative self-talk, by having to address your Self from a positive point of view.

A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS (an exercise from a 10-week customized course designed to provoke a short-term mood boost)

For the duration of the three months we will be working together you will be filling out a mood chart on a daily basis. This is meant to help you track your moods and what affects them so you can anticipate them and exercise better control or stability.

In CBT there are pleasure activities and mastery activities. They combat the all-or-nothing thinking of depression by highlighting small and/or incremental successes. Please schedule one of these and invite a friend along. It will make you more accountable and likely to go. Over the course of the days following, as you track your mood, see if this affects it for the positive, neutral, or negative, to know what to repeat or avoid in your self-care.

For example, if you have had trouble getting out of the house lately but you love being by the lake, book coffee time with your best mate by the lake and enjoy the sound of the waves rushing in and the smell of the water and the sun shining and glimmering off of it. This is a pleasure activity. Sometimes we are so busy or down we forget about or deny ourselves pleasure and small indulgences.

You could also invite a friend to a workshop, lecture or course, planting flowers in a community garden, doing yoga together, going fishing etc. and this would be a mastery activity. You would be refining skills and bonding at the same time. Social inclusion and feeling useful or purposeful are among the most essential factors in recovery.