Dialectical Thinking, Inner Renovations

Core Mindfulness Skills

There are one of two ways we can travel through Life:  absent-mindedly or mindfully.

We know by now the benefits of keeping ourselves focused in the moment and attentive to matters at hand.  Through mindful living, we reduce the mistakes we make, are better problem solvers, and can lean into life in a way that helps us experience it more fully.  There is no shortage of exercises readily available for us to learn and apply mindfulness in our daily lives.

There are one of two ways we can travel through life: absent-mindedly or mindfully.  This section introduces you to the skills contained in the Core Mindfulness module of DBT Skills Training.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dialectical Thinking, Inner Renovations, Videos and Media

How To Not: Make Emotional Decisions

 


Decision-making seems like such a basic skill. However, we sometimes do not think things all the way through. The results can be catastrophic or at least cause a setback if we make decisions while we are emotional.  Our brains actually function differently when it is overwhelmed with negative emotions such as fear, frustration, anger, anxiety, etc.  At that time it does not operate at full capacity.  So it is important not to make major decisions that can alter the course of our lives when we are experiencing those feelings.

But how do we avoid taking certain actions when we’re emotional?  We know that is usually the time that we want to strike back, express ourselves, tell it like it is, or make some over-the-top outward display of action until others feel the intensity of what we are dealing with inside.  Then, after we come back to our senses, it’s common to have some regrets about what we did or said while we were heated.

Try these steps to keep your balance while dealing with emotional situations, so that you can make important decisions with a clear head and decrease the number of apologies you have to dish out.

  1. Pause to Self-Check and Tune Into How You Are Feeling. As soon as you notice that your heart is beating faster, your frustration levels are going up, you’re becoming increasingly agitated and uncomfortable with the situation – start self-checking.  Notice these things happening within your mind and body and decide to take healthy actions that take care of yourself.
  2. Use Deep Breathing to Draw Your Attention Back In. To slow yourself down, slow down your breathing. It’s likely that your mind was going a million miles a minute in its emotional state and taking long deep breaths puts you back in control while sending a message to your rapidly beating heart and overworking mind that it is time to start coming back to a calmer pace.  It may take a moment or two but just keep breathing deeply imagining every breath brings your awareness back to what’s important – taking care of yourself.
  3. Encourage Yourself with Soothing Self-Talk. Start coaching yourself the way you would someone else that you care about.  Let yourself know that everything is going to be okay and that this too shall pass.  Be supportive of yourself in that moment and remember that at the end of the day what’s important is that you approve of yourself and behaviors.  It is okay to disagree with others just like it is okay if they don’t agree with you.  Let go of as much as you can and encourage yourself with positive inner dialogue.
  4. Refocus and Remember What You’re All About. Remind yourself of your goals.  Do an inventory of whether the situation causing you stress is getting you closer to or further away from those goals. If you determine that it is a barrier to what you’re all about or what you’re trying to accomplish, be prepared to make sound decisions about overcoming or removing those stressors from your life.
  5. Take Time to Make the Decisions that are Right For You. If possible, allow yourself time to process your emotions and let things settle down a bit before you come to final conclusions about what you’ve experienced.  Things look different after we’ve stepped away from it for a while and you may be in a better position to make decisions that are best for you from a clear head.

If we allow our emotions to rule our behaviors, we spend a lot of time cleaning up messes we wish we’d never made.  Grounding yourself after an emotional run-in is important and can help you to make decisions that you can be confident in.  Self-awareness is key, and a willingness to use techniques to regain your balance can help you improve your decision-making skills and ultimately improve the quality of your life.

~ CCB

 

Heart & Spiritual Wellness, Inner Renovations, Videos and Media

Personal Peace is a Super Power


There are a lot of things that we are taught during the early years of our lives under the guise that they are important to know for our success as human beings. However, I can’t remember the last time an algebraic formula saved my life. I would have appreciated a class on “How to Maintain Peace in the Face of Challenge,” or a cognitive-behavioral based course titled “You are Not Your Thoughts” offered around the 4th grade. A ‘How-To Survive Life with Your Sanity’ style curriculum starting in kindergarten would probably have reduced the individual instances of mental health conditions and contributed to a more stable society as a whole. Yes, I know… reading, writing and arithmetic – but that could’ve been covered in the span of a year with the remainder of our youth education being focused on life skills, interpersonal effectiveness, dealing with emotion, loving ourselves, and having a healthy relationship with God. But, dreams.

In reality, it takes for us to get to a certain point in life where we notice our own dysfunctional patterns and decide to do something about it. One of the main commodities that we reach for is peace. Which really isn’t a “commodity” at all but when we don’t experience it, we do view it as a thing to attain. The truth is, it’s really a state that exists within us that’s been there the entire time. And on an even deeper level, we realize that peace is our essential nature – supporting the inferences that everything we need is already inside of us and the “Kingdom of God is within” per Jesus.

Prayer, meditation, and visualization are means of moving into a state of consciousness that puts us more in tune with our source of peace. Prayer allows us to speak to God. Meditation allows us to hear from God. And visualization is how we co-create our experience which is a blend of our free will and God’s will for us (as a sidenote, we ultimately want to get to a place where we use our free will to stay in the will of God).

Our journey will have many challenges. We may create unnecessary complexities. Life will continue to throw intense situations our way. There may be unexpected circumstances beyond our control. What we can control is our approach. By taking an approach of peace – peace of mind and spirit which comes from trusting that all things have a purpose and somehow come together in mysterious ways for the glory of God – we are able to survive with our sanity, and actually enjoy this gift of life we’ve been given.

~ CCB

 

Inner Renovations, Videos and Media

Be Yourself. No Permission Needed.


Think of the years that have been wasted attempting to modify who you are in hopes that you will be more acceptable to others. We don’t like to admit that we do this. In fact, if anyone asks us we’re prone to deny it and respond with some cliché statement like, “I don’t really care what anyone else thinks.” Yeah, we do. And it hurts us when we’re receiving messages from others, especially those we care about, that our ways are undesirable.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and there are those people that we don’t give a hot flip what they think – but overall, as humans we read the feedback in our environment and we’d prefer it be positive. That is normal. But we can also take it too far. We can take caring about what others say about who we are so far that we end up losing ourselves trying to be who they want us to be. We have to be careful of this, because sometimes we don’t even know it’s happening. You can get so involved in your career that you develop the personality that enables you to do your job well but could be out of alignment with who you truly are. Or you could be in a relationship with someone that you love dearly, and in trying to make them happy you inadvertently begin to compromise how you would usually express yourself. These situations can go on for a long time, but one day you decide that you are ready to reconnect and rediscover who you naturally are so that you can begin to live in your truth again.

Being your authentic self is easier said than done. First, as we accumulate experiences and get older, our views and perspectives change. We change so much over the years that it may be necessary to re-evaluate our goals and set new ones, and we may even have to discover who we are and what we want at the current stage in life. So being yourself, may require fresh self-examination to determine who you are now. You know who you were, what you’ve been through, and where you’ve come from – but who are you now? That’s not an easy answer for everyone, and we all deserve the opportunity to explore ourselves in whatever way necessary to discover our truth. This requires time and space.

You’ll need to give yourself permission to take whatever time is needed in your journey to self-discovery and self-realization. These things don’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s a lifetime journey so you may as well get comfortable. You’re going to need space, which also isn’t so easy to come by if you’ve got little people running around you all the time or a mountain of other responsibilities that cause you to be involved with others more than you’d like to be. Bottom line is that making time and creating space for yourself to engage in the self-discovery that it’s going to take to realize your authentic self is going to take major effort. You’ll have to schedule it and let nothing stand in your way when you decide to take that hour out of your day for your prayer, meditation, devotion, and visualization time. You’ll have to be just as adamant about contributing to your own development as you’ve been about helping people with theirs. If someone asked you to be there for them for an hour, you’d probably do it. So how about be there for yourself so you can take your work (of realizing and expressing your authentic self) to the next level.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Do Yourself a Favor. Worry Less.

 

Full Serenity Prayer


We tend to think about the things we want to do. This makes sense, especially when you’re a goal-oriented visualization enthusiast who understands the importance of seeing it before you get there. However, we also have to consider the things we need to do less of. What is it for you?

  • Eat less?
  • Sleep less?
  • Argue less?
  • Work less?
  • Worry less!

We’d all be better off if we worried less. As a counselor working with many people struggling with addictions, the Serenity Prayer is weaved into the fabric of my daily life. And because every person has their own vice (some are just more intense than others), the prayer in its entirety is applicable to us all.

Many are familiar with the foundation of the prayer:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

In our quest to worry less, there is much that can be learned from these simple yet meaningful lines. Look at the situations in your life now. How many of them are beyond your control to change? If you could accept those things as areas that are outside of your jurisdiction to resolve, and surrender it to that which is greater than you, there would be a lot less to worry about. This assumes that you are connected to your spirit in a way that you at least acknowledge that you were created by something/Someone that loves and wants the best for you.

On the flipside of accepting the things we can’t change is finding the courage to change the things we can. Sometimes we don’t even notice when we are carrying stress from the things we feel we are leaving undone. We may have noticed area of ourselves and our lives that deserve more attention, situations that need to be made right, causes that deserve our energy – yet we are taking little to no actions in these areas. It doesn’t sit with us well. We allow our anxieties and insecurities keep us from taking actions that could change our own and others’ lives for the better. If we were able to find the courage to finally change those things that are within our power to do, there would be a lot less to worry about. We would feel like we are being true to ourselves, being useful, and making a difference in the world. This is fulfilling and brings us to a place of satisfaction and self-love, ultimately decreasing the time that we spend in stress and worry.

Finally, there may be confusion about the difference between those circumstances that we need to accept and the ones we need to be working on. This is no easy feat. When something has become more challenging than we feel we’re capable of handling, do we let it go or give it our all? Do we let nature take its course or do we acknowledge ourselves as a force of nature and continue to give our best efforts? The only way to solve such mystery is through discernment and wisdom. From where does this wisdom come? God. Once again we come to the importance of having a connection with something greater than ourselves so that we can afford ourselves the opportunity to lay down some of the stress that we’ve been carrying on our shoulders and our backs, causing us to feel worn, exhausted, and aged. We have options. It is not necessary for us to continue traveling through life carrying the burden of our own and others’ worlds, when we can worry less by practicing acceptance, discernment, and staying connected to our source to grow in wisdom.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

A Good Time for New Perspective of You

Gain New Perspective

I wonder if someday I will find out that everything I think I am, the truth is, I am just the opposite.  It is interesting to consider the physiology of the body  where the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa; and how everything that we see with our two retina is upside down but when our brain processes it they are combined into one image flipped right side up.  We normally have general concepts of who we are, but if we get to know ourselves scientifically, we realize that everything we think we see and know and believe in this physical realm is literally upside, backwards, and/or an illusion.

Even that which we like to believe is supported by our science, such as our concepts of what is solid and still, we know is still illusion in some way since what we perceive as “solid” is composed of atoms, mostly empty space and constantly in motion.

So, how are we to think of ourselves and our world?  Who do we think we are anyway?  A better question is What do we think we are, and shouldn’t we make it a priority to find out?

I don’t have any specific answers as to how to kick start that sort of journey, because I realize how different things are for each individual.  Self-exploration is personal by nature, so we could not all possibly agree on what we are.  We can agree, however, that it’s a good time to stop seeing ourselves and the world in such surface level ways.  And to stop simply believing everything we’ve been told is our reality.  See for yourself.  Look for yourself.  Live for yourself.  Learn for yourself.

In a reality where left is right, up is down, and outside-in is really inside-out – it’s probably a good time to gain new perspective.

~ CCB