Mental Health Tools for Everyday Life: Inner Resources
If you’ve been following this blog series, you’ll have noticed that I often write about meditation since that is a tool I believe in and use to increase my own resiliency and well-being. But as I mentioned previously, I also need other mental health tools to improve or deal with my everyday life.
One of my favorites is called “Resource Tapping.” I learned it in therapy so in honor of May being Mental Health Month, let me reiterate - mental health is for everyone, not just for those with a medical diagnosis. You can see a therapist even if you are not in a crisis and just want to improve your everyday life by learning and using tools such as this one.
So what is Resource Tapping?
This techniques is about building an inner resource team that you can lean on when life gets tough, shaky, overwhelming, draining, you name it. So when you need additional emotional/mental resources from within, you can tap into them.
The way I like to think of it is that you develop different types of inner resources, or characters, who offer you the emotional/mental resources that you need when you are running low or when you are in a vulnerable situation. For example, I am the type of person who can get into a loop of feeling overwhelmed and still push myself to continue to try to solve the situation, which makes me feel even more overwhelmed (and never actually solves the situations). What’s worse, is that when I’m this vulnerable situation, I start to feel super pressed to figure out not only what is in front of me but every other big life decision that I haven’t been able to solve. And all of the answers feel like they are right there, just one more thought and everything will be solved, I just. Have. to. Think. Harder.
...Yeah, that never works.
I have learned to recognize this situation and I call on my no-nonsense internal referee who blows the whistle and stops my thinking/solving game, making me step back and regroup. It’s a genderless figure in my head who calls the shots in this moment and no matter how much I want to pursue more thinking/solving, the “agreement” is that I only get a green card when I drop my attempts to think/solve and go do something self-caring, like making myself a yogurt parfait or playing with my cat. My referee doesn’t have red cards; they only give out praises for when I do the right thing of stepping out and away from the cycle. They are, however, very no-nonsense, there is no arguing or persuading them to let me continue what my brain wants (which is apparently to think itself into a migraine). This type of tool might seem silly at first but not only does it work for me, it’s a proven technique. Read below.
Where does Resource Tapping come from?
Resource Tapping is a technique used in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. This is an evidence-based therapy, meaning that it has been extensively researched and proven effective. It’s most often used to heal trauma but can also be used for
How do I create my own Inner Resource Team?
I will say that it was easier to create an inner resource team with my therapist. Purely because there was someone guiding me through the steps, rather than me reading and then doing the steps on my own. But it is doable. And so worthwhile. You can find very good instructions HERE.
As you build your own resource team, it’s good to remember the following:
You do not have to build an entire team all at once. Start with the resource that you feel you need the most right now. Are you looking for nurturing or protection? Or do you need someone to offer wise guidance or to coach you? Start with what you need most right now and develop resources one at a time.
It’s important not to force an image/sense of a resource. Allow the inner resource to take shape on its own in your mind. It may be a person or a place, or it may be something completely imagined. Let yourself sit with the idea of nurturing, protection, coaching - or whichever resource you need - and imagine what getting that support would feel like. Who/what is offering that support to you? Let that sense/image naturally bubble up to the surface as you relax into the feeling. It may not come or be clear the first time you try. That is completely okay. Now that you’ve started the process, it will likely present itself soon.
It’s okay not to “visit” inner resources that you don’t need in the present moment. There are some resources that I use in my daily life. And others, that I’ve identified and still getting to know, that I don’t use nearly as much. It just depends on what I need in the present moment.
Sometimes I wonder why these sort of methods aren’t taught to us in school as a life skill. Who wouldn’t benefit from additional emotional/mental resources to more healthily cope with life? The good news is that some teachers are working to incorporate mindfulness into the classroom, which is great for those kids. But for the rest of us, I hope this blog post and series helps to develop mental health tools that support and improve your well-being.
Let’s take a moment to check in with our body. Scanning from the head down, or toes up, go through your body and see where you feel neutral, tense or at ease. Enjoy and settle into the parts that feel at ease and breathe into the parts that feel tense.
Till next time.
Wishing you joy, safety and ease.
Anna is a blog contributor, meditation leader and teacher, and photographer. You can follow her on Instagram @skillsforwellness and find her blogging away at reset brain + body. reset brain + body is a mental wellness practice where traditional talk therapy is elevated through the integration of meditation, nutrition, yoga and mindfulness. Connect with reset brain + body on Instagram & Facebook, check out the class schedule, or contact us to book an appointment.