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

Don’t Tell Me to BREATHE

Breathe

My life was so busy, that I was forgetting to breathe. I was doing more of a low-grade hyperventilation as my stress and anxiety were propelling my legs and flailing my arms in whatever direction it seemed would alleviate the moment’s tension. That’s not living. Unless you’re a chicken with her head cut off. And then, I guess that chicken isn’t really living either.

Something had to change. If I didn’t want to age 20 years in the next 20 minutes, then I would have to find a way to connect with the moment in a healthy and meaningful way. I would have to learn how to stop and feel the sun, experience the rain, accept the love, and truly live. I wanted to do more than just exist.

And so, I did the opposite of what it means to die. In death, there is the absence of breath – and so I invited in that which must be life. I started to BREATHE.


Are you too complex and sophisticated to accept an instruction that is so simple? BREATHE.

Does it seem too elementary to truly be an answer to the collegiate-level problems in your life? BREATHE.

Is it insulting to think that you have invested so much time, money, and energy into finding solutions and it is being suggested that said solution starts when you simply BREATHE?

I only ask because I thought myself to be too complex (and my issues too advanced) to trifle with such diminutive suggestions as “BREATHE.” It was insulting, and in fact nothing would get me more enraged than when I was already at the edge of panic (if not in full-blown) and someone dared make such a barbarous suggestion to me as BREATHE!


Fast forward to NOW. Find us in the moment. Here, in the present I have the deepest appreciation for the healing qualities of a DEEP BREATH. See, we’re not just talking about that shallow breathing that happens as we’re flying through our day, sometimes not even noticing that we’re holding our breath waiting for the next ball to drop. BREATHE is an invitation to engage in slower, deeper, more life giving, breathing. It is the entrance to clarity in the mind, to interrupt the run-on sentences in your mind that disguise themselves as meaningful thoughts – when really they’re just run-on sentences. To BREATHE, in a conscious and purposeful way is to become a part of the process to connect your heart, with your spirit, with your mind and to literally gather yourself – get yourself together, to start moving towards the hottest commodity of all… PEACE.

Isn’t that what we all want: PEACE? And what if someone told you that the first step towards experiencing peace starts with something so simple: BREATHE. Would you keep hyperventilating your way through life? Or perhaps you would seek to experience the essence of life in a more spirit-led way, allowing yourself to take in a certain healing elixir that can only enter your being as you slow down, become present in the moment, aware of the Great I Am Presence: as you BREATHE.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Therapeutic Yoga

Off The Mat Into The Fiery World

yoga elements

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is better to do something, anything – take some action, any action, rather than do nothing at all for too long. Yes, there are times when we need to listen to that inner voice and simply be still. But if we’re still all the time then we won’t get anything done. Let’s not allow our zen to highjack the work we must do to accomplish our destiny. It is so attractive to roll out the mat day after day, stretching and releasing the tension and just allowing ourselves to escape the drama of the day by sinking deeply into our space of personal peace and connection to All That Is. “Just leave me alone in my little world. Let me stay in my quietude in the private corners of my life – undisturbed by you.” But if that is ALL we do, we are quite literally defeating our own purpose.

What we learn on the mat, and in meditation we must take off the mat and into the world to put our wisdom to use. The peace that we’ve cultivated isn’t simply so that we can drift off into our private heavens while ignoring our reality, but to go out and be able to face the challenges of our reality while using our skill to work through the tension and return to harmony.

I only write things that I have to remind myself of. As a counselor, I do have the opportunity to share with others insights and skills developed, not only through clinical training, but also through the intuition and increased awareness that comes in meditation as you learn to listen to the voice within and experience the multiple ways that people communicate with each other – even when they’re not talking. I remind myself that all of our wisdom and understanding is only of use if we are contributing to the progress of our spirits and healing of hearts as a human family. I hope that you remind yourself of this too. To close the books sometimes and take what you’ve learned and teach someone. And to come out of your sanctuary and go into the streets to share what the Lord has been speaking to you. It is so attractive to stay comfortable in our personal spaces, experiencing the peace and balance that often comes with solitude, but the real test of our growth and balance is when we can maintain that state while interacting with our brothers and sisters in this fiery world.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Important Components to Discovering Our Purpose and Self

Who Am I

Wouldn’t we like to be at a place in our development where no matter what happens around us we are able to maintain a state of peace and balance? This is a possibility for us, through knowing who we are, what we are capable of and devoting ourselves to a daily practice of prayer and meditation.

Prayer is necessary because it changes the conversations in our heads. We go from obsessing about our relationships with others, to nurturing our relationship with God to discover who we truly are as children of the Most High. Our prayer life helps us to strengthen the connection and dialogue with the One from whom our wisdom and direction comes. If we spend more time in commune with that which created us, knows us, and loves us, we are able to stay in a healthier frame of mind. Our sense of personal security and power is strong and the ability to overcome challenges also strengthens as we are in constant remembrance that what is in us is far greater than what is around us. Knowing yourself, is knowing your power, and knowing where that power comes from.

It has been said that prayer is talking to God, and meditation is opening ourselves to hear from God. In meditation, instead of doing something we allow ourselves to “undo.” We take a load off. We stop asking. We stop processing information for a moment. Stop analyzing, planning, scheming, chattering, remembering, and all of those other things our mind is in the habit of doing. Give yourself permission to let everything go for a moment (at least as much as you can), as you sit quietly and feel your natural flow for awhile. We allow ourselves to just be.

It has been said that prayer is talking to God, and meditation is opening ourselves to hear from God.

Be present in the moment, sensing our own heartbeat, becoming aware of what is happening in our minds as if we are watching a movie, unmoved and unphased by what may be coming up inside of us at that time. We give ourselves permission to be aware of any emotions and thoughts, but we do not follow them or continue to give energy to them at this time. Slowly but surely we begin to notice the noise in our heads quieting down and we start getting subtle nudges to relax, have faith, and experience a quiet confidence that we are getting closer to who we are truly created to be.

I write only what I have to remind myself of on a constant basis. It is so easy to get swept up in the responsibilities of the day, the bills to be paid, the people that get on our nerves, the deadlines, the hassle of everyday life. We have to see through all of the distractions and listen beyond all of the noise to reconnect with the truth of who we are and what we are here to do.

The only way to receive the message of what our purpose is and to discover who we truly are, is to ask (pray), and then listen (meditate) – becoming stronger in our prayer life and spiritual relationship, striving daily for peaceful inner confidence and atonement (At-One-ment). At one with God, ourselves, and others – finally understanding who we are, who we all are.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations

Juice Cleanse and Detox: Mind, Spirit, and Body Refresher

It’s amazing the clarity that comes during a juice cleanse and detox. Today is the final day, and although it was a brief detox, a lot happened over the past three days. There were plenty of times that I thought I was hungry (since there is no solid food during this time). Then I realized that I was actually getting all of the nutrients that I need, so it wasn’t that I was physically hungry – I’m just in the habit of eating.

Juice Cleanse and Detox

My 13 Top Reasons for Eating (none of which are hunger)

I eat to cheer myself up.

I eat to calm myself down.

I eat to celebrate.

I eat because other people are eating.

I eat because something looks good.

I eat because something smells good.

I eat because it’s offered to me.

I eat because it just seems like it’s time to eat.

I eat when I’m bored.

I eat to keep my hands busy while I’m watching T.V.

I eat to keep from falling asleep.

I eat to wake myself up.

I – JUST – EAT.

Luckily, I am a health and wellness enthusiast, so I exercise regularly and try to make wise choices about what I eat (most of the time). If I didn’t, there’s no telling what sort of health concerns I’d be facing right now.

Benefits to Mental Health and Physical Health

The experience has helped me to develop a better a relationship with my body and an understanding of the areas that I need I need more discipline in. While I attended a cookout, accompanied people enjoying their great-smelling fastfood breakfast, and turned down the most delicious chocolate chip cookie-dough cupcakes I’ve ever seen (all while guzzling down my beet, carrot, and kale blend juices), I realized that the level of discipline that I am cultivating will optimize my behaviors in more than just the health realm but in several other areas of my life too.

In general, making smart food choices and focusing more on wellness has many other benefits:

  • Improves decision-making skills
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Increases self-awareness and body-awareness
  • Improves ability to stay present in the moment
  • Develops ability to set goals and accomplish with birds eye view
  • Helps spiritual cultivation through fasting and prayer (to name a few).

This Is About More Than Food

What I realized during VIVA-RAW’S 3-DAY RAW FOOD JUICE CLEANSE is that RARELY DO I EAT BECAUSE I’M SIMPLY HUNGRY. My patterns and reasons for eating teetered more on the social and psychological side than the physical. Though I have practiced mindfulness regularly for many years, during this detox I realized that I also need to be practicing mindful eating.

I thought the idea of applying mindfulness methods to my food choices and eating patterns was revolutionary and original – but as I googled the concept, I quickly realized that it was not. Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers has built her body of work around the subject and offers some amazing ideas and resources to Eating Mindfully (which consequently is the actual name of her website and project).  The Awareness Checklist and other great resources are available on her site.  Works out great for me because it’s less I have to research and write about and more that I can just learn and apply. Find out more about what the doctor has to say on the subject. I know I will be!

From Dr. Susan Anders www.eatingmindfully.com

A holistic approach to wellness requires that we address all aspects of our being, meaning that we are engaging in activities and behaviors that foster great health on all levels of our multidimensional selves.  Just as we learn to choose wisely what we take into our bodies, we learn to do the same with what we accept into our hearts, spirits, and minds.

~ CCB