Self-Help Guidance

Mental Health Resources from Humans for Humans

These very helpful resources were submitted by Sara Pestana, the founder of Humans for Humans. This is their vision:

“We believe in a world where all human beings are free and safe. In Humans for Humans we believe in a global community willing to support human trafficking survivors, so that they don’t depend on the resources available on the country where they were rescued. It’s time to move beyond labels and stigmatization, COLLABORATION is the only way we can eradicate slavery, everywhere, forever.”

– Humans for Humans
9 Tips for Better Self-Esteem
  1. Know the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence:
    Self-esteem is the same as being aware of your own value, and is a measure of the new condition of your psyche.
  2. Work on validating yourself:
    Every night, tell yourself or write down three things you’ve done well during the day.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to others:
    Instead, compare yourself to yourself from yesterday, and become inspired by others. Never feel that you are worse than someone else, simply because they are good at something.
  4. Make decisions for your own sake, not others:
    Choose to do what you want to do, rather than performing to impress someone else. Good self-esteem allows you to follow your own dreams and wishes.
  5. Live as you preach:
    Go through your values and principles. What is right and wrong for you? Then do what you can to follow them.
  6. Be kind to yourself:
    Many tend to not treat themselves very nice. You need to treat yourself like you would treat someone you care about.
  7. You can do it!
    It is not very trendy to feel inadequate. Stop that. Instead, know that you are lovely and are doing the best you can. That is more than enough.
  8. Free yourself from shame and guilt:
    A good self-esteem can be achieved by absolving yourself of your own shame and guilt. Write down the bad thing you did on a piece of paper, and burn it.
  9. Life is now:
    Work on being present in the current moment, rather than getting caught up in what happened or worrying about what will happen. Use your energy on the present moment instead.
Breathing Technique

There are many different things that may have a negative effect on breathing, and stress is a big factor in that context. Stress is apparent on all levels: physical, psychological and emotional. Among other things, flashbacks, restlessness, sleep deprievation and pain tend to be stress inducing. When your breathing is negatively affected, a “vicious circle” often appears. When you react to anything with faster breathing, your body will interpret this reaction as stress. This stress reaction will in turn increase your ventilation.

It is important that your breathing is slow and deep. Your abdomen should inflate during inhalation if you want, you can place a hand over your belly to feel it move. Focus on breathing in and out through the nose. In this way, you ensure that the body gets sufficient oxygen, which is vital to maintain the bodily functions that rely on your breathing.


Relax in your seat, and draw your breath as usual. You start by listening to your body and your breathing. Do not try to change anything: just observe how it is. Is it deep or shallow? Are you breathing through your nose or mouth? Is it fast or slow? Are you breathing, or is your breathing doing its own thing? What sensations are in your body as you sit there?

Now you may start to change your breathing. Make your breathing deep and steady. Again only through the nose. If you notice that your breathing is shallow under your chest or breast, see if you can move it down in your abdomen. Your abdomen should inflate and deflate during breathing. Continue breathing like this for a couple of minutes.

Seating Exercices

Be seated on a chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Your butt comfortably resting on the seat. Let your breath run free. Be careful when doing the movements, no speed or pressure. Do it the amount of times that feels comfortable – slow and properly.

  • Hands on your knees. Lift your shoulders up to your ears, and release them.
  • Hands on your knees, move your knees outward and together. Flexible hip joints allow your breath more room in your abdomen.
  • Rock your upper body, so that your chest is moving, head is still. Arms limp. Let your breath into your abdomen.
  • Stretch your arm forwards, and over to the opposite side.
  • Swing your arms by your side. Vary between parallel and diagonal arm-swings. Alternatively use one arm at a time.
  • Roll your shoulder joints, creating big circles with your arms. Forwards and backwards. One or both arms.
  • Stretch both arms out and back while you lift your chest. Pause for breath. Then stretch your arms forwards and in while you arch your back out.
  • Be firmly seated while you stretch one arm at a time towards the roof. Breathe. Notice that your jaw is uncleanched/loose.
  • Clench and spread your fist and fingers.
  • Notice where your tongue lies in your mouth. Move it, along your teeth both ways, up and down, in and out of your mouth as well as sideways. Make faces.
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