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Who knew that mental health first aid was as simple an inspirational wall hanging?
Survival – Simplified.
Surviving – and “thriving” – through any setback, obstacle or ”detour” in life can be that simple. I learned that from over ten years of “detours” in and out of hospitals, where every road sign said “uncertain path ahead.”
Now I like to share what helped me through my stressful traumas with others, because whether it’s surgery, traffic, a disappointment or…well, anything that you don’t expect – life can sure be stressful.
Hardcore Survival Skills
After my show, I like to talk about the four “hardcore” survival skills that helped me through this huge detour in my life. They were not quick fix solutions, a treatment plan, talking to a stranger in a tiny room, or a prescription from one of my many doctors. These were skills I learned as I went. I call it “self-service therapy.”
So doctors sent me home, asked me to check in periodically, and when my wounds had healed enough from the previous handful of surgeries, they’d try to reconstruct my digestive system.
Creating a Survival Strategy
Look at this like any other unexpected “detour” in life – and believe me, this was very unexpected at 18 years old!But so is a flat tire, a lost job, a breakup, or a breakdown. We all need to learn how to cope with things in life we don’t expect.
I like to share the four essential “hard core” survival skills that honestly saved my life.
Four Simple Words
These four words might be easily confused with inspirational wall hangings you see in home decor stores, or whimsical words in bubble letters on the cover of gifted journals you’ll find at the bookstore.
But that’s what makes these “survival skills” so great – they are basic, long-term mindsets that anyone can foster. Which means we are all capable of surviving and “thriving” through any detour in life!
I’ll only be sharing the first “hard core skill” with you today. Stay tuned for the rest in this four part series!
Four Survival Skills for Any Detour in Life
When you know what you’re grateful for, you know what you’re about. Try keeping a daily gratitude list. When you see what’s makes you feel grateful, you’ll see what is important to you, and in turn, what your values are. Your values act like arrows telling you what direction you need to take on your detour. When you know what your values are, you know what moves you – literally.
The reason why we have trouble knowing where to go on a detour, is that detour shakes up everything we thought we knew. We lose our trust in our world and in our selves. Make a gratitude list as a daily practice, and you’ll see your value start to emerge. Once anchored in your values, you’ll know intuitively which way to go on your detour.
So that’s #1. What do you think the other three might be…?
And remember – there are a ton of amazing “hard core” survival resources at Turning Point CT!
I love this blog. I’ve been having a hard last few days but just like you said to be able to sit in gratitude makes the pain not hurt as much. Life isn’t really going my way but I know in my heart of hearts that I’m going to grow a lot from this experience. Life really is full of detours. Thanks for the reminders of what to do with all of the detours that will happen in everyone’s life. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I truly think you are amazing, and an inspiration. I am a huge believer in gratitude! I think it is incredibly grounding when I stop and think about how much I have in my life, despite any challenges I am working through.
I am going to guess another hardcore value – Forgiveness!! 🙂
So glad you like this! Detours are things that happen every day, so as Detourists we have to constantly stay on our toes.When I’m going through something really difficult in my life. I need away to anchor myself so I don’t get completely anxious and lose perspective – for me, gratitude does the trick!
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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