*PLEASE REMEMBER NOT ALL GROUPS ARE RUN THE SAME WAY AND YOUR EXPERIENCES MAY BE DIFFERENT TO MINE. THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG AS EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, THIS IS JUST MEANT AS A LITTLE INSIGHT INTO THE TOPIC FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED.
This week’s topic was the final in the emotion regulation module. It covered taking care of your mind by taking care of your body and being mindful of current emotions. Once again it all sounds super simple, but by making sure you have taken care of any physical vulnerability factors you’re better able to take care of your emotional health and the more you sit with and experience your emotions the less power they have over your actions.
DBT tells us to remember these skills using the word PLEASE, but it’s a bit clumsy for my liking:
Physical Illness – Take care of your body, treat physical illnesses as they arise, see a doctor when you need to and take any medication you are prescribed.
Balanced Eating – Don’t eat too much or too little. Eat at regular intervals throughout the day and be mindful of what you are eating. Stay away from foods that make you feel overly emotional.
Avoid mood-altering substances – Stay off illicit drugs and use alcohol in moderation if at all.
Balanced Sleep – Try to get between 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night or at least the amount that helps you feel good. Keep a consistent sleep schedule where possible, especially if you are having difficulty sleeping.
Get Exercise – Do some form of exercise every day for around 20 minutes.
Mindfulness of current emotions
Suppressing emotions or pushing them away increases emotional suffering by being mindful of your current emotion you can reduce suffering.
Observe your emotion
- Step back and notice your emotion
- Experience it as a wave coming and going
- Imagine surfing the emotional wave
- Block or suppress your emotion
- Try to keep the emotion around
- Try to hold onto it
- Try to amplify it
Be mindful of body sensations
- Notice where in your body you are feeling emotional sensations
- Experience them as fully as you can
- Observe how long it takes before the emotion subsides
Remember you are not your emotion
- Do not necessarily act on your emotion
- Remember times when you have felt different
PLEASE skills are generally a good idea for any human being, however, by addressing these issues as they arise and taking care of your body you reduce your vulnerability to your emotion and it’s impact on you. For those with BPD it can be the difference between a good week and a bad one.
Mindfulness of emotions is slightly more specific to those of us with BPD. While it is hard to do, especially during extreme emotion, it is effective. It can feel like the emotion will overwhelm you and that you need to stop. At this point try using some distress tolerance skills before going back to sitting with the emotion. The more time you spend experiencing emotion – especially negative ones – the less power they have over you and your actions.