Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 10-17, 2010

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!

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! 


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