Friday, February 4, 2011

Have You Gone Mental? (87)

A few blogs ago I mentioned that I was going to share with you some techniques (skills)taught by therapists to assist us in dealing with difficult emotions. Tonight is the nite... I'm going to share a few of them with you.

1. Follow your breath. This a favorite of mine, as you know. This is an exercise in "Mindfulness." Sometimes you can clear your mind, close your eyes and just breathe; feeling the inhalation through your nose and the exhaling through the mouth. You can use a mantra if you wish. On the "in" breath think to your self, "I am breathing in." When you exhale think to yourself, "I am breathing out." This helps to combat the thoughts that inevitibly come when you try to silence your mind.

2. Observe and Describe. When depression or anxiety "strike". Take a moment and think to yourself "I am depressed (anxious) all of a sudden. What is the trigger." Think carefully and then describe what took place recently, either personally or situationally. This exercise helps to make sense of the emotion which is helpful to me.

3. Accept Reality. When depression and/or anxiety strike simple tell yourself "I am depressed (anxious) and this will pass. Emotions are just feelings we have that come and go, sometimes without our knowing why. Accepting reality may help.

4. Pros and Cons. When you are depressed or anxious say to yourself: "What are the pros and cons of this feeling. What am I getting out of this?" This seems like a weird exercise, but it is advanced and may not make sense to you until you are further along in your recovery. Some of our emotions may be goal driven.

5. Opposite-to-emotion action. This means when you are feeling depression or anxiety do the thing that needs to be done next. You don't want to do this, but do it anyway. Dishes, a phone call you need to make, paperwork, work that needs to be done outside, take a walk ... In other words when you are experiencing troubling emotions DO something you DON'T want to do. This is very effective for me.

Well there are five things to add to your "bag of tricks" to overcome difficult emotions like depression and anxiety.

My week has been "up and down" and "down and up. I have had many occasions to to use these interventions. I hope they are helpful for you as they have been for me. I am feeling pretty well tonight as Erin and her family are visiting. That is always a good and peaceful time for me.

Typos and all ... God bless you!

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