All those years ago, it was an assignment from my therapist, who was helping me work through the PTSD I’d developed during the traumatic birth of my firstborn. See, no matter how much therapy you get or meds you take, anyone who’s dealt with mental health issues knows there will be days when you need something more and right away; something at your fingertips to soothe you, lift you and heal you. This is the purpose of packing your own Spiritual Toolbox to pull out and lean on when you need it. I love knowing even superstar Pink has one tucked under her bed!
In partnership with the Child Mind Institute for Mental Health Awareness Month, Pink recently posted this inspiring “Dare to Share” video about her years-long struggle with crushing anxiety. She used to have panic attacks so bad that she’d go to the hospital for EKG tests — only to be told it was “all in her head.” In the excerpt I’ve posted here (just hit play), Pink shares what finally helped — including creating her own Spiritual Toolbox, which she still uses to this day.
Why does having a Spiritual Toolbox matter? When your mind has been hijacked by anxiety and depression, it’s hard to think of and find the things you need to self-soothe. So, having a physical kit packed with tools and reminders is a brilliant move for your well-being. To get you started (or enhance the one you already have), here are 8 items to set you up for success…
8 Must-Haves to Create Your Spiritual Toolbox
- CHOOSE A GREAT CONTAINER. Find a thrift store suitcase, old chest or covered bin you love. Your toolbox should be something that delights you and soothes your soul whenever you pull it out. You could even line the inside with contact paper (I think a colorful geometric pattern like this is cool) or colorful fabric (here’s a tutorial on how to re-line a suitcase without a stitch of sewing needed!).
2. ADD SOME REFERENCE BOOKS. Even if you’re an avid reader, you may not be in the mood on your darkest days to dive into a deep read (but if you are, pack an old fave!). I highly recommend adding books that have inspiration waiting for you on virtually every page you open to, like books of poetry, photography, art or brief reflections. My go-to books for this include To Bless The Space Between Us by poet John O’Donohue and The Rumi Collection from Shambhala Library.
3. TAP INTO DIVINE GUIDANCE. To be reminded you’re never alone, provide yourself with ways to easily access spirited messages and love from above. Ask for guidance, and choose the page, card or print that calls to you. Some people might choose to include a deck of oracle or Tarot cards. Others may want a devotional book. Maybe I’m a tad biased (ahem), but I think a collection of WingTips with advice from the angels would be a beautiful addition since the back of each art print includes such affirming, in-depth messages; there are 11 different art prints and angel messages inside each themed set, including WingTips for Healing Your Heart and WingTips for Facing Hard Things.
4. INCORPORATE EARTH ELEMENTS. When we’re triggered and feel untethered, I think reconnecting to the powerful vibrations of Mother Earth can be really soothing and grounding. Pink says her Spiritual Toolbox includes crystals — and so does mine! I love to hold crystals and gemstones in the palm of my hand and imagine where they’ve been, how resilient they are and the energy from centuries of life on earth they hold. I especially love rose or clear quartz, amethyst and hematite. Not sure where to start? My friend Jen of Crystalline Light offers lots of great pieces, Lori Andrus teaches virtual courses on connecting with crystals, and Shereen Campbell sends out cool Crystal of the Month subscription boxes! If rocks aren’t your thing, you may want to include other natural wonders in your toolbox like dried flowers, carved or sanded wood, or feathers you’ve found on your path.
5. GET A JOURNAL TO RELEASE IT ALL. Even if you don’t keep a regular diary, having a journal in which you can specifically and intentionally work through your anxiety, rage or sadness can be really important and helpful. Get a journal (I love the affirming, artistic ones Compendium makes) and consider how you want to use it. VeryWellMind has a great overview of ways to process your emotions on the blank page, or you might want to try your hand at automatic writing to hear from the angels (I offer a tutorial on this in the Angel Resource Center).
6. PREPARE TO LAUGH. I wholeheartedly think every Spiritual Toolbox needs to include sure-fire ways to make you laugh. Sometimes it truly IS the best medicine; even Mayo Clinic says laughter a great stress reliever, lowers blood pressure and soothes tension in the body. To incorporate laughter into your kit, make a Laugh Track(er): keep a running tally of favorite comedy shows to revisit, list stand-up comedians to watch, and write out memories of the funniest moments in your life to remember. You could also pack books by comedians you get a kick out of (here are a bunch of newly-published options).
7. PACK SNACKS. No joke! When you’re in a stress response, certain foods and beverages can actually help. It’s not about stuffing your feelings down with food, but choosing things that soothe your senses and impact the chemical responses in your brain. So let’s pack a picnic inside your Spiritual Toolbox! Start with beverages: you could pack a bottle of water, several tea bags (chamomile and green tea are mood boosters, but my go-to is Good Earth Sweet & Spicy), or even a packet of hot cocoa. For food, studies show that our best bets are actually super yummy — including dark chocolate (I’m a fan of the Endangered Species chocolate bars), zinc- and potassium-boosting pumpkin seeds, sellenium-boosting Brazil nuts to decrease inflammation, and other nuts like almonds to increase our Vitamin E.
8. GET CREATIVE — FOR GOOD. Even if you don’t think you have a creative bone in your body, you totally do! Creative reflection and expression can be a wonderful distraction and mood shifter. When I was healing from post-natal PTSD, photography was a healer for me; I eventually started taking a photo of something beautiful every day for a full year, posting each beauty find on my blog. So consider including tools for a favorite pastime or for trying something new: Painting! Songwriting! Home decorating! Knitting! Cooking! Dancing! You are a magic maker — and your creativity can lift you when you need it most.
Creating your own Spiritual Toolbox is an act of self-care and self-love. Do it when you’re feeling pretty good so that it’s ready and waiting to lift you up whenever you’re feeling pretty yucky. I hope it helps, brave heart!
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