Bounce Back ® Online is an evidence-based self-help program for those who want help with everyday challenges such as low mood and feeling stressed or anxious. The approach is based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), recognized as one of the most effective ways of helping build well-being and resiliency and just as effective as medication for treating depression and anxiety disorders.
In my later years as a teenager, I struggled with my mental health. Learning CBT-based skills helped turn things around and now act as a valuable tool as I continue to support my mental health. Through practice and introspection, I found the skills that worked for me and these skills have become my primary tools in keeping life manageable.
During the first session of our recently formed Bounce Back Youth Advisory, a member asked, “What value can Bounce Back add?” After studying Bounce Back, I looked at how I manage mood and stress in my daily life and the skills I use. Here are five examples of how Bounce Back can help.
Awoken by my phone alarm, a new day rises. Against my better judgment, I’m tempted to swipe snooze, thankfully my logical mind prevails (this time), and I head to the kitchen, turn on the kettle – it’s time for tea. While the water boils, I reconnect with my phone just in time for my daily Google Alert. Knowing the email will be there for me to peruse when I get to the office, I feel informed without the sense of self-loathing that can come with mindlessly scrolling Facebook. I hurry, but I’m not frantic. My day is scheduled, Bounce Back taught me the importance of a plan, and I’m sticking to it.
Time to head for the train, I love the concept of commuting aboard an elevated train in the sky but dread the tight squeeze put on by fellow commuters. No free seats, my heart rate starts to rise; I’ve struggled with anxiety in the past and crowds are one of my triggers. Luckily, I now have tools to help. I focus on my breath and breathe deeply. After a minute or two of mindful breathing, my anxiety subsides.
Lunch. I love food, and the city is full of delicious meals, but Vancouver doesn’t come cheap, and I’m on a budget. Making a healthy choice gives my brain the nutrients it needs and brings me peace of mind knowing a few extra dollars have remained unspent on junk food. Nutrition plays a critical role in the maintenance of good mental health and Bounce Back has encouraged me to cut down on eating fast food, and the physical, mental, as well as economic benefits, have been a welcome change.
As I pack to head home, an intrusive thought enters my mind. I start to fall into a vicious cycle, ruminating through thoughts on why I’m inadequate to be in this position. I quickly become an expert in all the reasons I’m an imposter. Stop! I know this feeling, I’m not alone, and many young professionals experience these thoughts. As the corrupting ideas begin to affect how I feel both physically and emotionally, I recognize that at this moment, my thoughts are not reality. Bounce Back prepared me for this; I read the positive affirmation on a nearby post-it note saying, “I belong here. I bring value to this team.” I recall pre-written reminders, accomplishments within my role and start to feel these vicious thoughts subside.
Review. Bounce Back doesn’t stop at creating a plan, it emphasizes the importance of unwrapping it and thinking about what worked and what doesn’t. Personally, my review doesn’t happen in a journal because writing can stress me out. Instead, I talk, and I’m thankful for a person in my life who asks me, “how was your day?” Asking this simple question presents a valuable choice. I’m reminded of my responsibility in this process because I choose how committed I want to be in my answer. Sometimes I fall short by brushing the question off with a response like, “It was good.” Other times I genuinely reflect, and those are the days I remember.
Today was a good day – twenty-four hours further on a long adventure called life. I was able to complete what needed doing and appreciate the small things along the way.
However, my day is just one example of the billions of lives occurring daily. I invite you to explore how skills such as these may create a positive impact in your own life. Bounce Back can help. Here’s how.
Aidan is the Youth Engagement Specialist at CMHA BC where his primary focus consists of listening and learning from our recently established Bounce Back Youth Advisory. Outside his role, Aidan enjoys all things geeky, exploring nature, and taming the water aboard a Dragon Boat.