Optional Exercise: Create an Inventory of Your Strategies

sitting by the river

1. In your journal, create three columns. (It’s best to turn your journal on its side so that the columns run the width of the page.) In the left-hand column, copy the list below, leaving blank space in between each topic area on the list. Then, title the second or middle column ‘Challenges’, and beside each topic area write down details of any particularly difficult challenges with which you’ve had experience.


  • Physical pain/discomfort:
  • Physical illness/physical stress:
  • Insomnia/sleep problems:
  • Physical agitation/restlessness:
  • Fatigue:
  • Other key difficulties for me:


  • Anxiety:
  • Despair/sadness:
  • Suicidal thoughts or feelings:
  • Anger/rage:
  • Panic/fear:
  • Other key difficulties for me:

2. Now, title the right-hand column ‘Strategies’, and write down any coping strategies that you currently use, have used in the past and feel that you could use again, or have heard about before and feel could possibly work for you when navigating the challenges in your list. If there are certain challenges that you can’t seem to think of any possible strategies for, just leave them blank.

3. When you’re finished, read over what you’ve written and notice any additional thoughts or feelings that are coming up for you. When ready, move on to the 'Reflections' section.