Working toward mental health 61
Things you can do with few resources
• Spend time with friends, gardening, cooking, or sharing other daily activities.
• Let your feelings out. Making up poems, songs, and stories can be helpful when
you have trouble saying things to others. Or you can express your feelings
without using words, through dancing, drawing, painting, or music. You do not
have to be a trained artist to express yourself in these ways.
• Create pleasing surroundings. Try to arrange your living space in ways you like.
Try to have as much light and fresh air as possible.
• Try to have some beauty around you. This could mean putting some flowers in
the room, playing music, or going where there is a nice view.
• Practice traditions that build inner strength and help calm the body and mind.
Learn to relax
• Close your eyes and imagine a safe, peaceful place where you would
like to be. This might be anywhere: on a mountain, by a lake or
ocean, or in a field.
• Keep thinking about this place as you breathe deeply in through your
nose and then out through your mouth.
• If it helps, think of a positive thought, such as “I am at peace,” or
“I am safe.”
• Keep breathing, focusing either on the safe place or the thought. Do
this for about 20 minutes (as long as it takes to boil rice).
• If you start to feel uncomfortable or frightened at any time during
this relaxation exercise, open your eyes and breathe deeply.
You can practice this exercise in your group or at home whenever you
have difficulty sleeping or feel tense and afraid. Breathing deeply helps
calm nervous feelings.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007