Lately, my therapist and I have been discussing tools that will help me be successful in college. One of the things we did was come up with a list of activities for me to do when my moods feel too extreme or if I have upsetting thoughts. We came up with a detailed list, but when the bad moods struck, I wasn’t able to assemble the things I needed for the activity. Instead, I stayed in bed and felt worse.
Tonight I decided to gather the necessary items for my “Bad Mood Box.” I actually call it my “Bipolar Box,” but I think it can help anyone who’s having a rough time. All of the items are inexpensive, and you probably have many lying around your house. All you need is a shoe box to get started! I recommend a larger box, like one for work boots, but you can tailor the size of your box to fit your needs. Feel free to decorate your box with contact paper or pictures that make you happy. Then, keep it somewhere that it can be easily accessed so that you’re more likely to use it when things get tough!
Here’s what’s in my Bad Mood Box:
a) Something visually stimulating. This can be a picture book, a magazine, a map, or graphic novel/comic book. I chose The Art of My Neighbor Totoro because the pictures keep me engrossed for long periods of time.
b) Notebook or journal, lined or unlined. Mine is unlined because I like to doodle while I write.
c) Inspiration. I have an entire book of ideas, but you can just google “writing prompts” and print off a page or two.
d) A stress ball. Mine is actually a little brain from Marbles.
e) Movies. I recommend having at least five. I have eight different Studio Ghibli movies in my box! Watch movies that make you smile, even if you’ve seen them a hundred times.
f) Cuddly friend. Pooh to the rescue!
g) Playdoh or putty. If you’re short on space, you can settle on a tub or two, but I had the extra room so I took all four. It’s great to play with when you’re feeling frustrated.
h) Something special from a collection. I collect acorns, and my friend Addie bought me this wooden acorn at the Renaissance Festival. Looking at it simply makes me happy.
i) Calming scent. This scent is called Bliss, and it is made from lavender, lemon, and patchouli. I like to spray it a couple of times before I lie down.
j) Another calming scent. For times when I don’t want to bother my roommate with my spray, I have this little bag of lavender. Smelling it is relaxing, and it makes the box smell great!
k) Coloring book and crayons. You are never too old to color! My therapist recommended that I try coloring to curb my mood swings, and I’ve found it very helpful. They sell a variety of coloring books at the dollar store, or you can find some more upscale versions at your local craft store.
l) Puzzle books. Chris bought me these while I was in the hospital, and they helped me pass the time. They can be the perfect distraction! The key is to move on to another puzzle if you find yourself getting frustrated.
m) Pencils. These pencils say “I’m the best,” “I love me,” “I’m awesome,” “I’m good looking,””I’m perfect,” and “I smell good.” You can get your own set here.
n) Photos. A couple of photos can remind you of happier times. I’ll probably put a few more in here.
I hope this was a helpful tutorial!
What would you keep in your Bad Mood Box?
Let me know in the comments 🙂