DBT Workbook – Part 02 – Healthy ways to distract from emotional situations.

This is a series that I am writing on Dialectical Behavior Therapy – DBT has changed my life. The workbook states that this “strengthens a person’s ability to handle distress without losing control or acting destructively” by building “skills in four key areas – distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.” DBT is a huge part of the foundation of my centeredness as well as my ability to “live in the moment” and find gratitude – needed ingredients (I believe) in spirituality and humility.
I would like to share some of my insights as I work through the workbook for my second time. I encourage anybody and everybody to take a look at DBT – as parts of this can help anyone that is looking to find more peace, joy, love, and self-love in their life.

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Today, I was reading and working through the section on distracting yourself from negative emotions or self-destructive behaviors.

I’ve never engaged is self mutilation, but I belonged to a few dual-diagnosis outpatient treatment groups that had individuals that did. There were many ways that I have acted out in some very dangerous behaviors. Street racing, dangerously perching on roof-tops, drug addiction, alcoholism, the list goes on…

This chapter looks at some distractions that people can use when faced with “overwhelming emotions”. I use these techniques when I become very angry, depressed, can’t sleep, or I feel overwhelmed.
The first list are things that we enjoy. It sounds so simple, but I keep a written list so that when I am in the middle of an emotional situation or feeling halted by a depression rolling in, I can pull that list out and pick something that interests me in the moment. I checked off some of the activities that the book lists, but what I have found is that I just need to try things and see what I really enjoy. If it is an activity that builds esteem, is healthy, and makes me feel accomplished – it goes on the list. If I don’t find a love for something, then I don’t add it.
The second section of this chapter discusses ways to distract oneself by paying attention to someone else. Not in a co-dependant way, but by volunteering, helping others, even riding with a friend while they are knocking off a list of their errands. Sometimes, when I feel a depression rolling in, I will just think about my family and friends that support me. The love we have for each other. This always puts a smile on my face.
The next section says to “distract your thoughts”. There are a lot of ways I do this. Nature is the best way to get out of my head and find some gratitude. The book lists a few that include “keep a copy of your favorite prayer or favorite saying with you”, “imagine yourself as a hero or heroine”, or to think about good things from the past.
Next, is to use chores or tasks to keep distracted (not my favorite, but many get a lot of pleasure from dishes or doing laundry).
Also, counting is a good way to momentarily distract oneself. I use this a lot… I’ll stop for a moment and take some deep breaths and count them. It doesn’t take but a few to recenter on the fly and deal with a situation. Sometimes I need to repeat. Then repeat again. lol
Lastly, my favorite is to find things that soothe. Take a pause in life and focus on the senses. Touch, taste, sounds around you, feeling things or the wind on your face, or look at something beautiful. There are times where I will stop my mind to look at the shape of an object and trail my fingers along it to feel the texture. Perhaps a unique rock. Feel the heat coming off of it from the sun. Or after it rains, I’ll take a deep breath of the clean air and smell the wild sage brush that we have all over the desert. Maybe look at a single fluffy cloud just hanging out over the horizon – thank Mother Nature for the gifts of beauty that we have been given.
At the end of the chapter, there is an area to create your own action plan. My first time through the workbook, I was pretty obstinate about doing this. I felt like a little kid being made to “pickle papers” or a silly exercise. What I have realized, is that by writing these things down – they are reinforced in my mind. They go from ideas to tangible tools. Also, when my mood shifts, from my disorder, I sometimes loose the capability of fully rational thought. I need it in black and white and in my hands to know that it is true. Think about it, how many times have you become so angry that your mind twists things around a bit. Later you look back and say, “why did I get so angry about that?” Because sometimes, we take a build up of emotions from all over the place and channel them into something undeserving. For me, this happens if I am not dealing with things (day to day) in a healthy way. So for me, It is best when I write these things down and pull them out when I feel a little off. I then reconnect with all the good work that I have been doing and center quickly. Take the power out of the situation and see things for what they are.

Below is one page of activities that are suggest as self-distractions. What are some of your favorite ways to distract when you are upset or feeling down?

Daily Meditation: Ask for guidance and find direction and peace.

I really like today’s daily meditation:

“Stop trying to work things out before their times have come.  Accept the limitations of living one day at a time.  When something comes to your attention, ask Me whether or not it is part of today’s agenda.  If it isn’t, release it into My care and go on about today’s duties.  When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything and everything in it’s time.”

I’m not perfect at asking guidance, throughout the day.  But when I am practicing this, my day has a natural flow to it.  Anxiety levels drop, I am more productive and focused, and find more joy and gratitude.

This is just part of the daily meditation in Jesus Calling.  No matter what you believe, this is a fantastic way that I start the day.  I have grown very much from this book and a few other daily meditations that I use.  What are some things that you use to keep you in a place of joy, gratitude, and inflection?

 

 

Daily Meditation: Have Faith and Obedience to that Faith

One of my daily meditation books talked about a subject near and dear to my heart:

“There are two things that we must have if we are going to change our way of life.  One is faith, the confidence in things unseen, the fundamental goodness and purpose in the universe.  THe other is obedience: that is, living according to our faith, living each day as we believe that God wants us to live, with gratitude, humility, honesty, purity, uselfishness, and love.”

I have said that we need to follow our intuition, even when it is telling us to make the hard decision or more difficult path.  But, I like the way this words it – an obedience to living as God (the universe, Karma, fate, whatever you believe in) would want us to live.

Do the right things for the right reasons.

This is my truth, by the way.  When I have faith in my soul and I am doing my best to walk on the right path – doors open all over for me.  I don’t have to direct everything in my life.  There is a flow and I just show up.  For somebody that has been surrounded by kaos and anxiety, much of my life, it is a very nice place to be.

DBT Workbook – Part 01 – Distress Tolerance

Dialectical Behavior Therapy – DBT has changes my life.  The workbook states that this “stengthens a person’s ability to handle destress without losing control or acting destructively” by building “skills in four key areas – distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.”  DBT is a huge part of the foundation of my centereness as well as my ability to “live in the moment” and find gratitude – needed ingredients (I believe) in spirituality and humility.

I would like to share some of my insights as I work through the workbook for my second time.  I encourage anybody and everybody to take a look at DBT – as parts of this can help anyone that is looking to find more peace, joy, love, and self-love in their life.

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When reading about DBT, I have often seen it written that people with “overwhelming emotions” can benefit the most.  True.  But I also believe that DBT can help anyone that has trouble quieting their mind, taking moments to find gratitude, or overreacts to situations or people.

The first chapter is about distress tolerance – finding healthy ways to deal with stessful situations.  The workbook lists several unhealthy ways that people react to bad situations or when someone has hurt them.  To name a few from the workbook, that stand out to me:

  • “You spend a great deal of time thinking about past pain, mistakes, and problems.
  • “You isolate yourself to avoid possible pain.”
  • “You use alcohol or drugs to numb yourself”
  • “You take painful feelings out on others”
  • “You engage in dagergerous behaviors…”
  • “…unsafe sexual activity…”
  • “…avoid dealing with he causes of your problems…”
  • “You surrender to your pain and live an unfufilling life.”

These are a few of the ways I once handled stess and emotions.  All of them and many more.  As I work through this chapter (now 2 years later) I can see how most of these are behaviors of the past.  But there are still a few that stick out.  I do still avoid some situations instead of dealing with them head on.  Some of it is to avoid confrontation, fear of failure, or I think they will be too difficult.  I’ll work through them, as I work through the chapter, so you can see the process in action.

Daily Quote/Meditation – “Pause before responding to people or situations…”

This morning’s reading had me thinking…  do I consistently pause before responding to people or situation?

I tend to be in my head a lot; thinking, predicting what someone will say, or finding a way to twist what they said into my own perceptions.

Here is a full passage of this morning’s meditation from Jesus Calling:

“The light of My Presence is shining upon you, in benedictions of Peace.  Let My Light shine in you; don’t dim it with worries or fears.  holiness is letting Me live through you.  Since I dwell in you, you are fully equipped to be holy.  Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you.  Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me…

To me, the meditation was saying that when we are connected spiritually our Higher Power will give us the strength to react to any situation or person with peace and wisdom.  I often 20190312_184512 that “we cannot control other people or situations, but we can control our reactions to them.”  Something I am working on practicing.  When I am doing the right things for the right reasons, following my connected intuition, and giving 100%, then I should be unwavering through my esteemable actions and faith.  Like I am wearing a shield against confrontation or the unknown.  After this morning’s reading, I will work towards taking a pause before responding so that I can respond from my wise mind instead of (as my aunt Mikki would say) my human self.

Find your Peace from within.

I made a timelaps of the sunrise, this morning. It was beautiful.

While it was filming, one of my daily meditations really hit me in the right spot. I took an excerpt from it and made this short video. The full daily is below, from the book Jesus Calling. As I have said many times, I am not a religious person. But I am very spriritual and belive it all comes from the same Devine source. With that, I am able to connect spiritually through many people, sources, and nature. ❤❤❤

“LEARN TO LIVE from your true Center in Me. I reside in the deepest depths of your being, in eternal union with your spirit. It is at this deep level that My Peace reigns continually. You will not find lasting peace in the world around you, in circumstances, or in human relationships. The external world is always in flux – under the curse of death and decay. But there is a gold mine of Peace deep within you, waiting to be tapped. Take time to delve into the riches of My resideing Presence. I want you to live increasingly from your real Center, where My Love has an eternal grip on you…”

I still can allow people or circumstances to throw off my peace and centeredness. But I am getting much better in staying connected to that true self, within, and hold tight to my faith. There are several tool I use to do this. I believe it is possible for anyone that is struggling and wants to put in the work.

Part of this, is to remind myself that I cannot change or control others, I usually can’t control my circumstances, but I can control how I let them effect me. If I continue to do the right things for the right reasons (and hold on to my faith) then I will end up where I need to be. 😊❤

I must be aware of my own feelings, the way I watch the weather.

I

caught the first signs of a depression moving in. Just a cycle of my bipolar, like the seasons rolling in and out.

Battling depression or mood swings is a similar thing, to being aware of the seasons and weather. If I am watching the reports, grateful of my family and friends giving me a heads up, and staying aware… then I know a cold front is coming in and the weather is changing. If I know, then I can do some things: dress warm, have emergency supplies ready to go, and be prepared instead of stepping out into the unknown. I might still feel the chill of the air, but with a little work up front I can be sure to keep the cold from making my hands ache and getting chilled to the bone.