Helping Yourself and Helping Others 427
Exercises for healing mental health
Once the group has learned how to help and support
one another, they are ready to begin working on their
mental health problems. Here are some ways for the group
to help healing begin:
1. Share experiences and feelings in the group. People
who have mental health problems often feel very alone.
Just being able to talk about a problem can be helpful.
After one person has told her story, the leader can
ask for other similar experiences. When everyone has
listened to these, the group can discuss what the stories
have in common, whether the problem was partly
caused by social conditions, and if so, what the group
might do to change these conditions.
2. Learn to relax. This exercise is particularly helpful for
people who are suffering from stress. In a quiet place where
everyone can sit down, the leader asks the group to follow
• Close your eyes and imagine a safe, peaceful place where
you would like to be. This might be 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
➤ If you start to
or frightened at any
time during this
open your eyes and
A woman can also practice this exercise at home
whenever she has difficulty sleeping, or feels tense and afraid.
Breathing deeply helps calm nervous feelings.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012