Last week I met with a group of individuals from Community Mental Health to discuss diversions — activities that allow us to divert our attention from destructive thought patterns and focus instead on things that are more positive. We were learning to do a form of artwork called “tangling.” It’s a very relaxing type of doodling.
What impressed me so about the group was that afterward, several of the members went to the facilitator and told her that they had decided to put the tangling activity into their “mental health tool box” – cardboard boxes they use to store tools and props they can use to help keep themselves mentally healthy.
The idea is that if you’re having a bad day, you can go to your mental health tool-box and pull out something to use as a diversion. Too often we can’t think of things that might help us when we’re in the midst of a bad day. Having the tool box provides a kind of mental health first aid kit to fall back on. I thought it was a great way of taking charge of their own healing in a positive, substantial way.
I was thinking about what I might put in my own mental health tool box: a CD of calm, peaceful music; art supplies so I can tangle; an uplifting book or really anything that helps me let go of the bad things going on in my life and helps me feel good about myself. After all, what could be more mentally healthy than that!