DBT, Journaling, mental health

Self-Encouragement

Today I want to introduce you to the skill of SELF-encouragement. In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) it’s taught as one part of the IMPROVE acronym. I believe that it is one of the most overlooked and under-utilized skills in the book. In short, self-encouragement is talking to you self as you would talk to a friend.

inspirational pooh

We would NEVER say to friends the negative statement that we say to ourselves. If a friend is crying to you about a life problem, I doubt you’d say “suck it up”, “get over it”, “what’s wrong with you”, etc…So why on earth would you say those things to yourself?

Furthermore, would you keep a friend around who talked to you in that way??? NO! You would avoid them like the plague.

 

So get with it and take a page from Hobby Lobby or Instagram’s book…
– print out those cutesy phrases
– follow inspirational people on social media
– splurge on that wall art that moves you
– set the backdrop of your phone and/or laptop to be motivational
– use a dry erase marker on your mirrors
– use bathtub crayons in your shower
– buy a positive though-a-day calendar
– buy the jewelry with the catchy calming phrase on it

self encouragement

Take control of that inner critic, silence the stadium full of nay-sayers in your head and BE NICE to you!

Feel free to share your favorite self-encouraging ideas, quotes and plans in the comments below.

 

Updated from original post on Edit“Self-Encouragement”

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Inspiration, mental health

New Years Resolution. Fact or Crap?

In general, I vow not to make “New Year’s Resolutions”; I find them to be laden with high expectations and low follow through which leads to disappointment, depression and shame.  I am not; however, anti goal-setting or anti intention-setting.  In fact, my strategy has been for the last few years, to choose a word or theme that I deem to be my word or phrase of the impending year.

In order to set an intention for 2018, you must first tread into the land of goals and resolutions.  You need to ask yourself several self-inquiry questions:

  1. What am I proud of accomplishing in 2017?
  2. What do I regret doing and not doing?
  3. What do I want people to think about me? What kind of reputation do I want? If people described me in three words, what words would I want them to use?
  4. What is going well in my family life? What would I like to see improve?
  5. What is going well for me financially and what would I like to work on?
  6. How is my self-care? My health? Am I taking care of my body? What is a realistic area that I could improve on?
  7. How do I feel about my connections in life? Spiritually? Relationships with peers? Family? Co-workers?
  8. Am I living according to the values that are important to me? What do I feel passionately about?

I would encourage you to journal long and hard on these topics.  Research the ones that stand out to you.  Ask (trusted) people in your life what they think about your functioning in each area.

Once you have explored what went well last year and what areas you would like to grow in 2018, start looking for commonalities in your answers.  Do you see a common theme? If so…that might be something you can boil down into a word/phrase! If not, that’s ok! Triage your answers into your top one or two areas for growth and work to find a commonality between those two.  Don’t be afraid to use http://www.thesaurus.com/ to find a word that really speaks to you.

That’s it! That’s the hard part…once you have your word or phrase for 2018, shout it out, what is yours?!  I would encourage you to make it public so that your are more likely to achieve results.

 

My word for 2018 is BUILD.

Uncategorized

Do you love yourself?

It seems that negative self talk comes around much more frequently than self praise.  Our negative thoughts can seem loud and chaotic…as if they are overcrowding our brains and drowning out any tiny positive thoughts that try to bloom.    In fact, almost all of the clients I work with (starting at a very young age) describe the habit of self deprecation.  Much like the large trees in a rain forest, the thoughts we give the most attention to will rise up and choke out other thoughts. So what can we do about it?

1. Just because you think it, doesn’t make it true. Period. Let your thoughts come and go.  Notice thoughts without attaching yourself to them.  I prefer the imagery of a train: you have the ability to watch a train roll past you without getting on it right (even if it is annoying and making you late)? Do this with your thoughts…one train car may say “I’m stupid”, another may say “I’m worthless”, another may say “I wonder what’s on TV tonight”.  These thoughts may annoy you and get in the way of productivity; however you can practice the art of letting the thoughts enter and exit your brain.  Let the thoughts roll on down the track without boarding the train and trying to prove the thoughts true.  

2. Thoughts and feelings are two different things. You may THINK that you are worthless; however you are likely FEELING sad.  You may THINK that no one likes you; you are likely FEELING anger or sadness.  You may THINK you are a terrible person; you are likely FEELING shame or guilt.  Recognize thoughts for what they are (and practice #1) and recognize feelings for what they are.  Feelings will rise and fall, they will morph and change.  Realizing that they aren’t forever can help you get unstuck.  

3. Just as you practice any skill, practicing positive self talk is a skill that can be taught, honed, and improved.  I hand out this worksheet to my clients regularly…and regularly receive blank or partially filled out pages in return.  (http://jessicamullen.com/2011/02/19/the-daily-self-love-worksheet/) Do it completely and do it often.  Post what you have written on the fridge or bathroom mirror.  Remind yourself regularly of the things that you like about yourself and your life. Practice thinking content thoughts about your life and you may be surprise by the effect it has on your outlook.  

4. Remember that the Golden Rule works both ways…just as you should treat others as you would want to be treated, you can also treat YOURSELF as you would want others to treat you.  Lets call that the “Platinum Rule”.  

Are you willing to practice these suggestions? Are you ready to let go of the suffering? Are you prepared to be patient with yourself?  I urge you to TRY it…what have you got to loose?