Tackle Life Together

A blog by Sally Waters

sally [at] homescrum .co.uk

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An unusual app that I use to help myself cope with life is called WhatsMock. (This app looks like a similar one for iPhones.) WhatsMock is used to create fake WhatsApp conversations, which you can then screenshot and share as memes or pranks.

However, I use it as a journaling tool. I act as if I’m messaging a friend, writing down everything that is on my mind, and then I take a moment to read back what I’ve said, trying to act as if I really am an external friend figure, and message back what I would say to them. Even just sympathy or open ‘listening’ can help, although sometimes I will also come up with new ideas for how to tackle the problem and send them back as ‘advice.’ I find it increases the effectiveness of a normal stream-of-consciousness journal session because it encourages that back-and-forth between the distressed and the calmer, wiser parts of my mind, as well as being in the very natural-feeling format of messaging, rather than writing onto a blank piece of paper.

I adapted this idea from an experiment I heard about that was done using virtual reality. In the VR world, the participant would find themselves sitting in a therapist’s office, and they would be encouraged to say what was on their mind. They would then be ‘transported’ into the therapist’s place, and then they would watch back the recording of themselves talking about their problem. They would then respond to themselves as if they were the therapist, which seemed to help people to tap into their empathy for themselves, and to reframe their problems as something worthy of help.

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