C6. U4. S39. Improve The Moment. Stuff.
Logged in, ready to roll, mindfulness session first before we got down to the bare bones of IMPROVE skills. Again, I have already done this session before so this is my second crack at this one to reinforce the theory and the skills practices.
So what is IMPROVE the moment? Read this piece of plagiarism:
Life can be unpredictable. Things may be going well, and then out of nowhere, life throws you a curve ball. Or a series of curve balls. How do you keep your cool during these surprises? Everyone tends to act more impulsively, putting our emotions before our logic, when we are met with overwhelming circumstances. A dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) strategy called IMPROVE the Moment can help you manage difficult emotions during stressful situations and regulate your emotions in the present moment.
Imagery: Transport yourself to a safe space in your mind. Think of an image that is meaningful and soothing to you and visualize it. Allow yourself to tap into the details of the image; imagine how you would feel different physically if you were present in the scene.
Meaning: Tap into what is most important to you in life. Consider what your values are, and shift your thoughts and actions so they are in line with those values. Finding meaning in a distressing situation can help you sit with the discomfort of the emotion and tolerate it.
Prayer: Prayer does not have to have a religious connotation. You can reap the benefits of prayer by using mindfulness to focus on your presence in the world. You can use a mantra, a quote or even a song lyric to ground you in the moment when you're feeling troubled.
Relaxation: Relaxation can reduce the bodily tension often associated with emotional distress. To shift out of the painful moment, you should try deep breathing, stretching or progressive muscle relaxation.
One Thing in the Moment: Using mindfulness to deliberately focus on just one thing at a time can be a powerful way to slow down your thoughts. Tune in to the present and focus on your breath in this moment, your sensations in this moment, your thoughts in this moment, etc. Letting go of the past and worries about the future can help you refocus your energy on the task at hand.
Vacation: A vacation does not need to be an actual trip. It can be a brief respite from your regular routine. Break out of your typical schedule for an afternoon to do something that you haven't done in a while. Whether it's meeting friends, walking outside, or taking a long, hot shower, this mini vacation allows you to escape your thoughts and enjoy.
Encouragement: Be honest with yourself and provide realistic, yet hopeful encouragement in order to get through a difficult time. For example, remind yourself that the emotions you are experiencing are temporary and that you have gotten through times like this in the past. Or, tell yourself, “This too shall pass.” Keep your focus on the positive consequences that lie ahead and direct your thoughts on a healthy track.
These IMPROVE the Moment skills can be incredibly useful in dealing with unpleasant emotions or unexpected situations. Take note of how you have generally dealt with difficult emotions in the past and examine how effective your strategies have been. If you notice that your strategies are not working for you, allow yourself to let go of that habit. Instead, establish a new coping strategy that is more likely to lead to a positive and healthy result.
I stole ⬆⬆⬆⬆ from here.
I have spent my entire life not taking care of myself because I never felt and I never knew I was worthy of self care. Self shame/hatred led me to believe I was not worthy of feeling any positivity about myself let alone any inclination to actually care about myself.
So this IMPROVE the moment DBT skills set has been a drastic shift in my mental direction and has been tricky to nail. However, with practice, lots of it and reminders and positive reinforcement notes all over my home and in my diary and on my phone and computer and things i have been allowing myself to follow these guide lines and cut my self some slack when slipping into the mental dark danger zones.
I had a panic attack this week. It was a big deal. Long story short I thought my heart was literally going to burst or smash through my rib cage out of my chest. Literally the sensation. I was terrified I was going to have a heart attack. My heart thumped so hard.
The trigger and circumstances don't need to be published for all to know about but ,y response to this is proof in the pudding that all of my practice in DBT skills and in IMPROVE the moment in particular are paying off.
In the moment of the actual triggered panic attack I was on one but my response to this unwanted SNAFU immediately after calming myself down through paced breathing and finding a spot to duck and hide (skills!), I actually went to the IMPROVE skills set and used the imagery, meaning and one thing at a moment practices and wound myself down into a manageable head space and I didn't go the absolute hellish black place in my head I am so used to where I hate on my self and go into those self harming and lashing out at others places. I didn't go there! For me, that a big fucking win, a victory! Huge progress. I extended myself some compassion and gave myself room to think and move on to a plan B and survive the catastrophe that didn't last long at all. I manged to go to the "it is what it is" zone and accept the shit for the shit that it is and move on. I wasn't a twat to anyone and I wasn't beating myself up.
What is more I followed this up with the encouragement skills and sought an opinion and got encouraging feed back to peruse my plan B and not give up.
See, actual examples ⬆⬆⬆ I'm going to do this!
Perhaps I'm actually rewiring my neuro pathways and mending? I hope so.
I'm getting better at this and it's really good practice and I'm challenging all the dark images in head. ⬆⬆
Finding meaning and depth in life is something I have never struggled with. However, mindful practice of finding meaning in "situations" can never hurt. Keeping a journal really helps me understand meaning and gratitude. ⬇⬇
Note self 🔴⬆⬆: buy this book.
Prayer? I'm not religious. I've dabbled with that and I grew up and realized that's not my dish. However, on a spiritual level I put "energies" out there to the universe and practice surrender. I think I'm putting more and more "faith" into myself. ⬆⬆
This one can still be a bit tricky. Learning to "care" and extend a little TLC to ones self after a life time of feeling deep profound self shame and feeling dirty is a huge shift in paradigm. And I'm very typically "blokey" I guess which is okay. That said, I'm allowing myself to indulge in more TLC these days, mindfully and without alcohol. That's a thing of the past.⬇⬇
This one I have been really mindfully practicing. My mind is sooo busy a lot of the time with a hundred ideas and tasks and goals all bouncing around inside my skull. This can be very distressing and actually do my swede right in to the point of feeling really very over whelmed and upset and angry. This practice helps bring that cloud of distracting mental chatter back in and helps me to focus on one thing at a time and actually finish things. Seeing things through from A to Z has been a real problem for me and I've let a lot of people down. I'm improving and becoming far more reliable and in fact, keeping my mouth shut before committing myself to things. I am learning. Finally. Makes life far more bearable with less impulsive people pleasing behaviors. ⬆⬆
I am practicing taking actual time out as in actually really relaxing and just monging the hell out. I struggle to stop sometimes and put things down and stop thinking. However, when I do switch off, that's it, lazy mode on and and it can stay on for possibly too long but hey, what can ya do? learning to switch the social media off is a thing and I need to regain my focus on that, especially right now as i am being drawn into social political debate to much and that is becoming toxic. Time to uninstall FB for while. Practice!
My mental vacation comes hand in hand with the outdoors really. Cycling, walking and being amongst the trees and water and nature. I mindfully ensure i make time to connect wit nature to clear my mind end energies. i do okay at this stuff. ⬆⬆
I am mindfully practicing this a lot these days. i am doing it now, consciously, one mindfully in the act of creating this blog. this validates my DBT efforts and the journey I am on. It encourages me on, forwards even if no one reads it! I have also started a positive affirmation board on pintrest which is a good go to sometimes when i need a reminder of all the positive meme and articles and other things that resonate with me. All helps to encourage this journey onwards and think positively and challenge the dark head spaces. ⬆⬆
So, that's a bit about my current IMPROVE practice efforts blogged for me to come back to and cringe at one day. In the moment though, it helps me.
To print. ⬇⬇
🔴 To be continued......