Solo Work requires commitment, and as with most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. I’m available for consultation for individuals and groups seeking to set up a new practice. Please also visit my RESOURCES section for additional information to support your Solo Work.
Evidence shows that exercise is beneficial to our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. It is particularly useful in reducing depression and anxiety. I do feel medications play a role in numerous mental health conditions. Exercise is also shown to work well in tandem with medication and traditional talk therapy.
Gratitude practice is the practice of intentionally “giving thanks” for what one receives during the day, including tangible and non-tangible “gifts” or “blessings.” Gratitude practices are shown to increase happiness and decrease depressive symptoms. However, studies also indicate this may be a placebo effect, and that the benefits of gratitude practice may not linger long unless the practice is maintained. Therefore, gratitude practice may be most effective when combined with one of the other practices listed on this page.
Distinctions are sometimes made between journaling and keeping a diary which is usually about recording the day’s events. Journaling is more expressive and works best after one learns to stop judging the product of their self-reflection (which is a type of learning curve). It’s not about the outcome, it’s about the process, and can be done with pen and ink or in any other forms of media such as photography, video, drawing, or painting. As journaling is a self-reflection exercise, it’s no surprise that it’s shown to improve personal and professional development, increase confidence, and improve daily coping skills and problem solving. Journaling benefits health and can improve health outcomes amongst the ill.
Evidence-based studies on meditation, especially mindfulness-based meditation modalities such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy, have exploded in the last 10 years. Mindfulness-based meditation is well proven to help alleviate symptoms from depression, anxiety, chronic pain, cancer, and heart disease. However, while meditation is very therapeutic, it is not therapy. As a solo practice, meditation cannot cure physical ailments, but it can help people improve inner peace and resiliency, which in turn has shown to alleviate illness-related suffering. Please see the Resources section for more information on meditation.
Prayer and Mantras
Prayer, much like meditation, is shown to help relieve suffering amongst those dealing with medical problems. Additionally, mantra work, which is the practice of repeating a word of phrase over and over again, is not only a way to help calm an agitated mind, it can also help people fall asleep. An example of working with a mantra is to repeat a calming word such as “peaceful” in one’s mind over and over again.
Self-care means discerning ways to care for yourself based on your needs, your abilities, what you know has worked well for you in the past, and the integration of new behaviors that you sense will help to improve your overall wellbeing. Massage is a favorite form of self-care for many, but it can be expensive. Self-care means asking yourself the question: what will bring you a bit more joy each day? It can be something as simple as making your bed every single day, or preparing healthy meals. It can be taking time out to enjoy one of the other activities listed on this page. Self-care is attending to your own wellbeing, on your terms.
Spending time in silence each day can be therapeutic and paradoxically helps to keep our brains activated which keeps them healthy and strong. Turn off the technology, maybe even turn off all the lights, and just be in silence. This is different from prayer, which usually includes requests. This is more like listening. “Be still, and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10.
Support groups may be peer-led, as found in 12 step programs, or may have a professional facilitator. Research shows that both styles of support groups are beneficial to individuals. The power of groups is in the connections made between members and the collective wisdom group members inevitably create together.
www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude  on May 25, 2016
Kabat-Zinn, J., & University of Massachusetts Medical Center/Worcester. (1991). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York, N.Y: Pub. by Dell Pub., a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub. Group.
Wang, F., Lee, E., Wu, T., Benson, H., Fricchione, G., Wang, W., & Yeung, A. (2014). The Effects of Tai Chi on Depression, Anxiety, and Psychological Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal Of Behavioral Medicine, 21(4), 605-617 13p. doi:10.1007/s12529-013-9351-9
Gotink, R. A., Chu, P., Busschbach, J. V., Benson, H., Fricchione, G. L., & Hunink, M. M. (2015). Standardised mindfulness-based interventions in healthcare: An overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of RCTs. Plos ONE, 10(4),
Seligman, M. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421.
Davis, D. E., Choe, E., Meyers, J., Wade, N., Varjas, K., Gifford, A., & … Worthington, E. J. (2016). Thankful for the little things: A meta-analysis of gratitude interventions. Journal Of Counseling Psychology, 63(1), 20-31. doi:10.1037/cou0000107
Naghi, J. J., Philip, K. J., Phan, A., Cleenewerck, L., & Schwarz, E. R. (2012). The effects of spirituality and religion on outcomes in patients with chronic heart failure. Journal Of Religion And Health, 51(4), 1124-1136. doi:10.1007/s10943-010-9419-7