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By: Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D.

September is National Suicide Prevention month. There may be moments in your life when you have experienced suicidal thoughts. Not only are those moments distressing, but they also deplete your inner fortitude such that you feel weakened and unable to cope. What can we do to get past those moments? What can we do to shore up our inner resources? What self-care tactics can we use to save ourselves from these depleting moments? Ultimately what can we do to boost our resilience such that we may even be able to prevent those moments from happening?

Resilience is the thought process that prompts you to say the “yes buts” and “oks.”

  • Yes, but let’s look at the bright side.
  • Yes, but it could have been worse.
  • Yes, but I am sure it will get better.
  • Yes, but I have hope.
  • Ok, that didn’t work, let’s try something different.
  • Ok, not doing that again now or in the future.
  • Ok, will try again tomorrow.
  • Ok, will give into my emotion now (tears, anger, words) but I will need to calm down.
  • Ok, done my best, will now have to wait and see what happens.

If your self-talk includes these thoughts, then, guess what? You are resilient! You have already used a tool to get past the moment and now we need to put your resilience into action.

  1. Use your senses – taste, touch, smell, hearing, seeing, to detract from thinking.
  2. Look at and plan for or perform tasks related to tomorrow’s or even the next week’s calendar.
  3. Talk to your child or pat your pet.
  4. Take a deep breath (inhale four seconds by counting in your mind and exhale).
  5. Squeeze a stress ball.
  6. Write or type a journal note.
  7. Play a game on your phone.
  8. Watch a funny video online or read a meme.
  9. Text a friend, call a family member or plan a video call for the weekend and invite your group.
  10. Set up a date with a friend for coffee or a meal.
  11. Book and finalize a non-refundable trip for six months down the line.
  12. Know and internalize that, “This too shall pass,” is not just a saying.
  13. Practice mindfulness.

Additional Resources

  1. Loneliness in the time of Covid-19 Workshop Summary – Conversations
  2. How to Deal With Loneliness and Feelings of Isolation
  3. Mindfulness
  4. With mindfulness, life’s in the moment
  5. What is mindfulness?