DBT stands for “Dialectical Behavior Therapy.” It was developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, at the University of Washington for women with Borderline Personality Disorder. Linehan recently revealed her personal and extremely difficult struggle with the disorder. A fascinating and heartbreaking article…
“When you’re at your desk and emails come pouring in or the phone rings off the hook , remember the mountain. “Oh, there’s the phone. Oh, there’s email.” In and of themselves, they’re not bad. Or good. They’re just a phone and email.”—Dave Caolo - Meditate with distractions (via em)
This is usually the best place to begin. Stop what you’re doing. Notice how your body is feeling. Where do you feel tense? Can you sit up straighter? Take a slow stretch, and then breathe in and out, slowly, three times. Imagine the tension melting away like ice on a summer’s day.
2. Take some time out.
If you’re in the middle of something that needs to be finished urgently, you might think that taking a break is the last thing you should do. However, taking five or ten minutes off will allow you to start again with more concentration, and you might be surprised at how quickly you finish your work.
Have a cup of coffee or walk up and down the stairs. Read a few pages of your novel. Allow yourself to unwind.
3. Acknowledge what you’re avoiding.
Sometimes we feel extra panicky because we’d rather not admit something to ourselves. My panic was tied up with feeling a bit worried about money, and once I’d admitted this to myself I felt some relief.
Are you in denial about how behind you are with your work? Are you worried about a conversation you should be having with your brother? Allow your fears out into the daylight, and take some action if appropriate.
4. Put your worries into context.
It’s easy for us to get swept away in the pressures of work or home life, and to feel that not finishing our essay on time would be “the end of the world.” If the things we worry about actually happen, it isn’t usually the end of the world. They might be inconvenient, or someone might be angry with us, but we’ll survive.
5. Be grateful.
Remember the things we have to be thankful for. There are people who love us, and we have enough to eat. We have a roof over our heads. The sun shines down on us, and the earth supports us. We might be grateful to our purring cat, or for the new album we’re listening to.
6. Share your worries.
Find someone to talk to. Talk about your worries, or ask them to tell you about their days. Try to listen to them properly. Focusing on something outside ourselves can help us to see things more clearly. If there’s nobody there, write someone an email, or write in your journal.
Can you recommend any sites or books about mindfulness?
I discuss mindfulness exercises on my site (the ones that work for me) HERE as well as TONS of other DBT stuff elsewhere on my site (pleasurable distractions, wise mind, etc)… There’s also DBT Self Help but the format of that site (it’s super outdated) bothers me (I’m really into design and such).