I’ve put together a simple action plan for you that should be both easy to follow and combines all the techniques discussed in this chapter. But consider this is more of a suggestion than a plan you have to follow rigidly. If you enjoy doing some of the techniques more than others, feel free to emphasize them more. But I would recommend taking the time to practice all of the foundational skills (mindfulness, gratitude, self-compassion) daily.
- Fill in both the morning and evening entries for the five-minute journal every day.
- After filling your evening entry, consider doing the daily review I mentioned in the journaling page.
- Find a guided mindfulness meditation recording that you like and listen to it every day for a month. Go for something that’s 10 to 15 minutes long. After a month of listening to a guided meditation, you can switch to an unguided meditation.
- Think of a mundane activity that you do most days, like commuting or washing the dishes. Try to use that time to practice mindfulness and being present in the moment.
- Listen to the 5 minute self-compassion break (Exercise 2 on the page, download the mp3) recording every day for a couple of weeks. You could do the self-compassion recording in the morning, or while you commute, and do the mindfulness meditation in the evening.
- Use the other self-compassion recordings as needed, such as when you are going through a difficult moment. I would recommend listening to the 20-minute Self-Compassion/Loving-Kindness Meditation at least once a week. If you are pressed for time, you can replace your mindfulness meditation for that day.
That should be enough to get started. This plan should take you no more than 20 minutes a day. In a few weeks, you should be noticeably less stressed and in general feel better about yourself.
The other things, like REBT and journaling, are more situational. If there’s a recurring emotional issue that bothers or interferes with your life, try journaling or the 3-2-1 technique for it. Once you identify the beliefs and self-talk that cause the emotion, you can use REBT to challenge and replace it.
I would also highly recommend reading at least one book about self-compassion and one about REBT. Working through your issues tends to take time and patience. It’s a long journey you take step by step. Reading a book over a couple of weeks is a good way to keep at it.