Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 24 - 31, 2010



Thank-you everyone for the patience with our migration. This process has thrown us for a loop a bit, and since I am not all that internet savvy, I am behind in my postings. So, thank-you for the patience. :)

I was thinking about My DBT Life, and where it has been and where it is going. I have been thinking on the topics that we have discussed and in December we will have a years worth of posts. I decided that I do not want to simply "repeat" posts, even though the skills will eventually need to be repeated, so I have decided that every-so-many months, I will regroup the skills base with a post on mindfulness. This skill is absolutely necessary for effective living, whether you have a mental illness or not. Mindfulness, in my opinion, should be a required class for our children before they are allowed to graduate! It also happens to be one of the most difficult skills.

If I could put a "START" here sign on these skills, I would say the best place to start is being aware of your body. OK, honestly, how many read that and thought "Yikes! My body? I don't want to be more aware of that!" :) Being aware of your body however, is going to be instrumental in being skilled at mindfulness. Being aware of your body will give you the needed direction to focus when it comes to deciding what skill to use in which experience.

Being aware of your body...what do I mean. Well, in any given situation, what is your body doing? Not thinking, not feeling, but doing. Literally. Are your palms sweaty? Legs feel heavy, toes tingle, stomach fluttering? Every little bit of what your body is doing. Observe it and then describe it. 

To begin this task of getting to know your body, you'll first start making these observations anytime. When you notice your body feeling anything, notice it and describe it. Don't worry about "what comes next?". Next will come, but you first need to spend time getting to know what sensations you have under what circumstances. If you were driving to work, and you noticed you were gripping onto the steering wheel rather tightly, this will become a cue for you to take a tour of the rest of your body and see what it is doing. Not, how. What. "My legs are aching, my heart feels light, etc" Just this action of noticing and describing what you feel will break you from an experience with anxiety. It will give you a bit of a clean-slate in the moment. Granted, with anxiety disorders the anxiety will be back and soon. But this "check-in" will give you a little bit of breathing room and when you have that, you can learn to insert skills. But that will come later. For now, observe and describe what your body is doing. Stick with just that. 

Once you have become rather skilled at recognizing different body sensations then it will be time to start observing what is happening in your environment with your body sensations.So you will eventually be able to say, "My hands are tight and carrying a lot of tension and I just got off of the phone with my cousin" You will start to see patterns. With those patterns and your new found skill of body awareness you will be one large step closer to putting together your own personal puzzle of effective living! 

Try it out this week. Remember, just start with observing and describing. If you think that is going really well, go ahead and add observing what is happening in your environment, but be kind to yourself. Don't go too fast and understand that to some of us, this is all new. New things take time. You will learn a lot about yourself if you take it slow and give yourself permission to take your time. For those of you that this is not new to, reminders of some of our more dusty skills is always useful too!

Let's hear about your progress inside of the forum and remember there will be a group held on Monday, October 25th @ 11:30 a.m. PDT. and also one will be held on October 27th @ 4:30 p.m. PDT.

Hope to see you all there!

MJ

Please direct all comments and discussions about this post to our Forum.  Joining is very easy and we would love your input!


Thank you for being an important part of My DBT Life . com!  
To benefit fully from our online peer-support group please:
  1. Subscribe to our weekly blog – http://www.mydbtlife.com
  2. Follow us on Twitter for frequent mindfulness Tweets – @mydbtlife
  3. Join our forum for Peer-Support & discussions about the weekly post – Click here for our Forum
  4. Join our Face Book page to increase awareness of our services – F.B. PAGE

______________________________________________________
Would you like to help support My DBT Life . Com financially?
You can donate to My DBT Life . Com - 
Please help keep our services available to the public!  Every dollar helps and is much appreciated, it serves to compensate for the out of pocket expenses already put out by us to provide these services on the web and the time spent putting this information together for our weekly posts, groups, and forum, all of which are offered FREE of charge!
[We use Pay Pal for all transactions to ensure a safe and  secure transaction.  My DBT Life does not share or sell any of your information under any circumstance!]

If you can't help financially at this time that's OK!  
You CAN:
  • Share our weekly posts with your friends on Face Book and other social networking sites by pressing the "share" button at the bottom of the post.
  • Post a link to http://www.mydbtlife.com on any page that you own:  Face Book, My Space, Twitter, Your BLOG or Your Website- Every link helps us reach the ones who need these services!
  • Print a copy of our promotional flyer [click here] and post it at your local mental health care provider's office, or anywhere else that may reach mental health consumers and their family members.
  • Volunteer some of your time as a moderator in our forum. If you are certified as a peer-support person or just a friendly listening ear with experience, all are welcome to donate their precious time to help others in similar situations. Please E-mail us for more information! - Click here for our Forum
Thank you, 
MJ ~  mydbtlife@gmail.com

Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 10-17, 2010



THIS WEEK:
How did Opposite Action work out for everyone over the week? It is certainly something that takes a lot of practice. As does everything in DBT and honestly, it does get easier. 

This week I wanted to touch on Mindfulness a bit. I was reading through The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay, Jeffrey Wood, & Jeffrey Brantley.It outlined for us the need to be mindful in our daily life. How important this is! Think about it, if we could grasp mindfulness on a daily basis as part of a routine, how likely would these hideous mood swings that plague us so badly be surfacing? I know it is unrealistic to perceive life without symptoms of BPD. But then again, it is also ineffective to hang your coat and hat and resign to our lives being driven by our symptoms. So, mindful daily living. Sounds good to me. 

Let's look at a daily mindful regimen:

  1. Mindful Breathing
  2. Wise-mind Meditation
  3. Doing Tasks Mindfully
When you are breathing mindfully you must count your breaths. This will help you focus your attention, and it will also help you calm your mind when you are distracted by thoughts. You will need to focus on the physical experience of breathing. This is accomplished by observing the rising and falling of your breath as you slowly inhale and exhale. You also need to be aware of any distracting thoughts that arise while you are breathing. Then you need to let the thoughts float past without getting stuck. Letting go of the distracting thoughts will allow you to refocus your attention on your breathing and help you further calm yourself. Let this part of your regimen be for 3 - 5 minutes a day on the minimum.


The wise mind meditation will help you to focus your attention on your center of wise mind, which is also sometimes called your center of intuition or "gut feeling". Remember, wise mind is just one decision-making process that many people find helpful. It incorporates using both your emotion mind and your reasonable mind, meaning that wise-mind decisions require you to reflect on how you feel as well as the facts of a situation. This skill also helps you make intuitive decisions that "feel" right to you. Wise-mind meditation will help you make decisions based on the way your body reacts to a decision and your own inner knowledge (what you know to be "true" for you). Again, practice the wise-mind mediation for at least 3 - 5 minutes a day, or longer if you want to and have reasonable time to do it. 

Doing tasks mindfully. The idea here is to take things that you ordinarily do in your daily life and just be mindful about them. You can do them while you are walking, talking, eating, cleaning or just about anytime. The best way to perform this task is to:
  • Focus and shift your attention between your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and actions in order to be mindful of your present-moment experience. 
  • Let go of distracting thoughts and judgments by allowing them to float past without getting stuck on them so that you don't get distracted from what's happening in the present moment.
  • Use radical acceptance to remain nonjudgmental.
  • Use wise mind to make healthy decisions about your life.
  • Do what's effective in order to accomplish your goals.
McKay's workbook sites the following acronym:


Mindfulness is like a F.L.A.M.E.

                   Focus and shift your attention to be mindful of the present moment.
                   Let go of distracting thoughts and judgments.
Use radical Acceptance to remain nonjudgmental
   Use wise Mind to make healthy decisions.
  Do what's Effective to accomplish your goals.

Let's hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic inside the forum!

GROUP:
Tomorrow, Monday, October 11th, 2010 we will have group @ 2p.m. PDT. We will use last weeks post for your subject matter. So please be ready to share how opposite action works (or doesn't work) for you! 


MJ


Please direct all comments and discussions about this post to our Forum.  Joining is very easy and we would love your input!

Thank you for being an important part of My DBT Life . com!  
To benefit fully from our online peer-support group please:
  1. Subscribe to our weekly blog – http://www.mydbtlife.com
  2. Follow us on Twitter for frequent mindfulness Tweets – @mydbtlife
  3. Join our forum for Peer-Support & discussions about the weekly post – Click here for our Forum
  4. Join our Face Book page to increase awareness of our services – F.B. PAGE
______________________________________________________
Would you like to help support My DBT Life . Com financially?
You can donate to My DBT Life . Com - 
Please help keep our services available to the public!  Every dollar helps and is much appreciated, it serves to compensate for the out of pocket expenses already put out by us to provide these services on the web and the time spent putting this information together for our weekly posts, groups, and forum, all of which are offered FREE of charge!
[We use Pay Pal for all transactions to ensure a safe and  secure transaction.  My DBT Life does not share or sell any of your information under any circumstance!]

If you can't help financially at this time that's OK!  
You CAN:
  • Share our weekly posts with your friends on Face Book and other social networking sites by pressing the "share" button at the bottom of the post.
  • Post a link to http://www.mydbtlife.com
  • Print a copy of our promotional flyer [click here] and post it at your local mental health care provider's office, or anywhere else that may reach mental health consumers and their family members.
  • Volunteer some of your time as a moderator in our forum. If you are certified as a peer-support person or just a friendly listening ear with experience, all are welcome to donate their precious time to help others in similar situations. Please E-mail us for more information! - Click here for our Forum
Thank you, 
MJ ~  mj@mydbtlife.com

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 3rd - 10th, 2010







THIS WEEK:

So I can assume that we all have been extra nice to ourselves this past week, with our positive affirmations that we have all been practicing, right? :) OK, so we have been building on our skills base to help prevent things from getting out of control. If we keep these principles in mind when we go about our daily routine, we are more likely to avoid the "fall", or if we are regular with our positive affirmations we are increasing our good vibes, and therefore heightened behavior is further off of the horizon. If we practice letting go, then we are less likely to have resentment build and by consequence we will be more likely to be skillful. But what do we do if our emotions are still getting the better of us? What do we do even after we have been using the above mentioned skills? What are we going to do in the moment, when we have officially been hijacked emotionally....

All you DBT veterans, say it with me...OPPOSITE ACTION...

By using Opposite Action we can change the emotion we are having. By getting active with ourselves, we can drive those ineffective emotions away from our experience. Interestingly, we are not going to call them "bad" or "wrong" emotions, because all of our emotions serve a purpose. Some just are not justified in the experience we are having them.

Some things about emotions to understand and accept for as a reality, is that every emotion has a purpose and has an action. Even if it feels that that action is in-action. It is still an action. So if you are having an undesirable emotion, simply change your current action and then poof! your emotion will change. Aren't you glad you asked? :) Seriously, if we are having an undesirable emotion, we do need to then change our current action and it will in-turn change our current emotion. But it is far from simple and very rarely are there any "poof!"'s involved.

You may immediately protest, "Hey, that doesn't work!" However, you must challenge your interpretation to this exercise. If you have tried changing your emotions because they are undesirable, and yet the emotion you are attempting to change seems to not be able to budge, perhaps that emotion is justified in your experience and it is another emotion altogether that needs to change in order to exact a more effective experience. It would be a great idea to endeavor to have a deeper understanding of when an emotion is justified or not. Perhaps you could incorporate that into a mindfulness exercise.  

Sometimes an emotion may be understandable, but not justified. Example: Fear is justified when your Life, Health, or Well being is threatened, or a loved one’s Life, Health, or Well being is threatened. There are many times that it is understandable to be fearful, yet it is not justified unless the above is true.

A number one rule you will have to obey in order for opposite action to work is that you must do it all the way. Commit to it fully. If after making a good old fashioned try it seems as though it may not be working all that well, you cannot abandon the exercise. Keep moving forward with it.

Let’s look at anger. Anger is characterized by attacking or moving towards something or someone, or repetitive self-talk that someone or something “should” be different. Anger is justified when an important goal is blocked or you are experiencing a lot of pain. The problem here is even if Anger is justified is still may be ineffective. Anger usually is ineffective, even when it is justified.


Some opposite action strategies for anger would then be to gently avoid, be decent and a little kind. Perhaps take a moment out and look at the other persons grain of truth. Because remember, there is truth in each point of view. Each side of things has a bit of the truth.


I encourage you to take some time this week and analyze what emotions you personally tend to struggle with and calculate what the opposite action for those emotion might look like for you. Put together a list on an index card (or something to that effect) so that you have it handy the next time you experience the ineffective emotion.


A brief summary of the steps you will follow:


  • What emotion are you experiencing that you believe to be ineffective?
  • What is the action the emotion is trying to get you to do?
  • Ask yourself, “Do I really want to reduce the emotion?”
  • What is the opposite action to this emotion?
  • Do the opposite action.
Notice there is a step in there that is forcing you to do a double-take, asking yourself if you really want to reduce the emotion. When we suffer sometimes we willfully avoid emotions that we really would be more effective in the larger picture if we would endure a little exposure therapy. But, that I will save for next week! For now, give this is a go, we look forward to hearing from you!



GROUP:



We will be holding our group tomorrow, Monday, October 4th, 2010 @ 2p.m. PDT. We will be discussing some of our principles we learned over the last few weeks. Time permitting we will discuss some of the material from this post.



Hope to see you all there!



MJ

Please direct all comments and discussions about this post to our Forum.  Joining is very easy and we would love your input!


Thank you for being an important part of My DBT Life . com!  
To benefit fully from our online peer-support group please:
  1. Subscribe to our weekly blog – http://www.mydbtlife.com
  2. Follow us on Twitter for frequent mindfulness Tweets – @mydbtlife
  3. Join our forum for Peer-Support & discussions about the weekly post – Click here for our Forum
  4. Join our Face Book page to increase awareness of our services – F.B. PAGE
______________________________________________________
Would you like to help support My DBT Life . Com financially?
You can donate to My DBT Life . Com - 
Please help keep our services available to the public!  Every dollar helps and is much appreciated, it serves to compensate for the out of pocket expenses already put out by us to provide these services on the web and the time spent putting this information together for our weekly posts, groups, and forum, all of which are offered FREE of charge!
[We use Pay Pal for all transactions to ensure a safe and  secure transaction.  My DBT Life does not share or sell any of your information under any circumstance!]

If you can't help financially at this time that's OK!  
You CAN:
  • Share our weekly posts with your friends on Face Book and other social networking sites by pressing the "share" button at the bottom of the post.
  • Post a link to http://www.mydbtlife.com on any page that you own:  Face Book, My Space, Twitter, Your BLOG or Your Website- Every link helps us reach the ones who need these services!
  • Print a copy of our promotional flyer [click here] and post it at your local mental health care provider's office, or anywhere else that may reach mental health consumers and their family members.
  • Volunteer some of your time as a moderator in our forum. If you are certified as a peer-support person or just a friendly listening ear with experience, all are welcome to donate their precious time to help others in similar situations. Please E-mail us for more information! - Click here for our Forum
Thank you,