ACCUMULATE POSITIVES: (ABC PLEASE SKILLS)
Under the skill area of Emotion Regulation we teach the importance of balancing our "emotional topography". What does that mean? That means that if sadness and shame are like mountain ranges on our emotion landscape the goal isn't always to reduce those emotions but to balance out the landscape to build positive emotions into mountains too. We can't "just wait" for positive emotions to come to us- we have to actively do things in our lives that bring us those emotions. In my life, Joy and Delight are emotions that are sparked by listening to comedy I find funny. Here's a bit I recently heard for the first time and found delight in:
DBT Skills to Distract: ACCEPTS. The E is for Emotions- as in changing them when needed and when in the service of using our distress tolerance skills to avoid making things worse. So in the spirit of staying skillful and also celebrating spring, I enjoy looking at baby animal videos as one of my ACCEPTS skills. (okay, I know it's pretty similar to the previous skill, but what can I say? This stuff is funny!)
Coming back from a recent road trip I was listening to comedy to break up the drive- I heard this piece and laughed out loud- Emily Heller does a great job describing what we call in DBT "monkey mind"- when our mind just keeps jumping around from topic to topic. This is one of the main benefits of regular mindfulness practice- that we get to know our minds a bit better and how to keep our thoughts a bit more steady. We practice in MANY different ways- try mindfully listening to this comedy piece. If you notice yourself drifting away, gently bring your mind back to just listening. See how it goes.