Regulating undesirable emotions
STOP - perpetuating the cycle
BREATHE - in and out
REFLECT - on what is actually happening
CHOOSE - something within your control
- Stop yourself from reacting habitually. Notice the impulse to react automatically but don't act on it. Do nothing. Use the impulse, urge, or intense emotion as your cue to pause.
- Stop feeding the unconscious reactive pattern. The first step in getting yourself out of a hole is to stop digging.
- Stop spiraling. Break the cycle of the pattern by becoming aware of the pattern. Observe or witness it rather than being swept away by it.
- Stop identifying with the content of the thoughts and instead shift to noticing the process of thinking. "Oh, I am doing that thing with my mind again"
- Breathe in, bringing fresh oxygen into your body. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (aka "The relaxation response"). The result is a slowing of your physiology and a reduction of stress hormones and neurotransmitters flooding your body and brain.
- Breathe out, allowing tense muscles to soften and release. This interrupts/short circuits the feedback loop of physical constriction fueling the emotional reactive pattern.
- Breathe in, diverting your attention from upsetting thoughts to the physical sensation of respiration.
- Breathe out, grounding yourself in the present moment. This anchors your awareness in the here and now - helping to keep you from getting swept away by habitual patterns of dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, or resisting what's going on now.
This is Phase 1 of the skill. It may sound simple and in content, there really isn't much. However, actually doing this small bit is quite the opposite to small and very little content. So work on these two steps this week. Stopping and breathing may be something that you are often told to do, but break it down into these steps. Maybe print the above lists and the next time you feel that descent, read it straight from the page. Get familiar with those patterns that begin the cycle. Practice your breathing based on the information above, sometimes realizing that the breathing is actually doing something that is scientifically proven to increase calmness, it makes it easier to do it. Rather than just knowing that you "need" to. Once you have got yourself to the reflect and choose part, feel free to continue the skill on what you can deduce is involved and next week we will cover them in-depth. Make sure to notice how you respond to your increased awareness while you are attempting this skill and remember as with any new skill, or one that you are working on, it won't go perfectly and every time you have a chance to work with it and you notice one thing more about your own patterns is progress and don't short change yourself for that! Give yourself credit for every step of the way and learn something more the next time, all these bits will add up to something BIG!
GROUP: Monday, August 30th, 2010 @ 5p.m.
This week will continue our discussion about self-talk and how it can increase how effectiveness with mindfulness. Remember, the time for group has changed for this week, it will be held at 5p.m. instead of 2p.m. PDT. Hope to see you all there!
MJ ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
*Come discuss this weeks post with the group here*
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