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

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