L2, U4, S5 session notes on radical acceptance and mindfulness with swear words, bad spelling :)
Updated: May 20, 2020
Quick fire notes for this session as I'm really struggling right now, fighting off the black mist, and don't have the patience to go into this to much or for anything very much right now in fact. I want to be out on my bike blapping off some the red mist, but I must get this done.
Kick off with a meditative mindfulness exercise to ground ourselves before getting into the DBT session.
Mindfulness as a practice is the practice of directing our attention to only one thing. And that one thing is the moment we are alive. The very moment we are in. The beauty of mindfulness is that if we look at the moment, just this moment, we will discover that we are looking at the universe. And if we can become one with the moment—just this moment—the moment cracks open, and we are shocked that joy is in the moment
Once we got into the session we got talking about mindfulness and what it is about, what it does and how it works. This is all ground I have covered before many times but it's always good to reinforce the need to think and behave mindfully and understand how and why it works.
The book recommended above I have ordered for my further enlightenment and delectation! It has great reviews, not one negative review at all 👍
Mindfulness in a nutshell y'all ⬆⬆⬆
Neuroplasticity is the thing, the changing off our physical neural pathways (fucked up wiring in my case) through structured, repeatative, mindful and meditative psychological practices.
I'm tempted to go into this in depth but I wont. Here, have some links instead:
Neuroplasticity: The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.Neuroplasticityallows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.
Neuroplasticity and mindfulness:
Mindfulness has been shown to lead to significant changes in the brain. Research shows that it can lead to more cognitive flexibility, better emotional regulation, creativity and innovativeness, higher levels of well-being, and more empathy due to increased levels of alpha and theta wave activity......
Start there with them ⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆
Mindfulness and meditative DBT exercises and practices when practiced over and over changes this stuff below inside ones mushy grey blob inside our skull ⬇⬇⬇
While discussing mindfulness and meditation and Buddhist zen practices and the role it plays in DBT we discussed the creator of DBT, the really rather fucking brilliant Marsha Linehan who is a bonafied PhD professor clever person in psychology and who has lived with and suffered the terrors of BPD herself. And this is how and why she was able to formulate DBT to tackle BPD and help zillions of people like me understand what the heck is going on and why and how it's happening and how to get to grips with challenging it and healing. Her story and development of DBT is rather awe inspiring and I am anti hero so I don't say that with any shallow flippant gushing bollocks.
(my language is vile isn't it! 🤭🤫)
Full playlist worth a good look and listen:
"Awareness in the moment" is what this is essentially all about. Awareness in the moment, being aware of the pause, the gap between urge and action, as in not reacting with impulsive rage inwardly or outwardly, in my case and acting out on it in what ever way that may manifest.
From Marsha Linehan in one of her DBT exercise manuals:
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
• intentionally living with awareness in the present moment. (Waking up from automatic or rote behaviors to participate and be present to our own lives.) • Without judging or rejecting the moment. (Noticing consequences, discerning helpfulness and harmfulness—but letting go of evaluating, avoiding, suppressing, or blocking the present moment.) • Without attachment to the moment. (Attending to the experience of each new moment, rather than ignoring the present by clinging to the past or
grabbing for the future.)
WHAT ARE MINDFULNESS SKILLS?
• Mindfulness skills are the specific behaviors to practice that, when put together, make up mindfulness.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS PRACTICE?
• mindfulness and mindfulness skills can be practiced at anytime, anywhere, while doing anything. Intentionally paying attention to the moment, without judging it or holding on to it, is all that is needed. • meditation is practicing mindfulness and mindfulness skills while sitting, standing, or lying quietly for a predetermined period of time. When meditating, we focus the mind (for example, we focus on body sensations, emotions, thoughts, or our breath), or we open the mind (paying attention to whatever comes into our awareness). There are many forms of meditation that differ mostly by whether we are opening the mind or focusing the mind—and, if focusing, depending on what is the focus of our attention. • contemplative prayer (such as Christian centering prayer, the rosary, Jewish Shema, Islamic Sufi practice, or Hindu raja yoga) is a spiritual mindfulness practice. • mindfulness movement also has many forms. Examples include yoga, martial arts (such as Qigong, tai chi, akido, and karate), and spiritual dancing. Hiking, horseback riding, and walking can also be ways to practice mindfulness. From DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, by Marsha M. Linehan. Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan. Permission to photocopy this handout is granted to purchasers of DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, and DBT Skills Training Manual, Second Edition, for personal use and use with individual clients only. (See page ii of this packet for details.) Mindfulness skills are central to DBT. They are the only skills highlighted
throughout the entire treatment. Mindfulness has to do with the quality of awareness or the quality of presence that a person brings to everyday living. It’s a way of living awake, with eyes wide open. As a set of skills, mindfulness practice is the intentional process of observing, describing, and participating in reality nonjudgmentally, in the moment, and with effectiveness. DBT is speciﬁcally designed to be nondenominational, and thus practices are purposely provided in a secular format. No spiritual or religious convictions are expected or necessary for practicing and mastering these skills. In some ways, the mindfulness skills in DBT can be thought of as skills for beginners in mindfulness. They can also be thought of as skills for persons advanced in mindfulness—the skills such persons need to practice in everyday life. In this sense, these skills are the application of mindfulness meditation to everyday life.
What Is Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness” is the act of consciously focusing the mind in the present moment without judgment and without attachment to the moment. When mindful, we are aware in and of the present moment. We can contrast mindfulness with automatic, habitual, or rote behavior and activity. When mindful, we are alert and awake, like a sentry guarding a gate. We can contrast mindfulness with rigidly clinging to the present moment, as if we could keep a present moment from changing if we cling hard enough. When mindful, we are open to the ﬂuidity of each moment as it arises and falls away. In “beginner’s mind,” each moment is a new beginning, a new and unique moment in time. We can contrast mindfulness with rejecting, suppressing, blocking, or avoiding the present moment, as if “out of mind” really did mean “out of existence” and “out of inﬂuence” upon us. When mindful, we enter into each moment. “Mindfulness practice” is the repeated effort of bringing the mind back to awareness of the present moment, without judgment and without attachment; it includes, therefore, the repeated effort of letting go of judgments and letting go of attachment to current thoughts, emotions, sensations, activities, events, or life situations. In sum, mindfulness is a practice of entering into the current moment without reserve or grudge, entering into the cosmic process of existence with awareness that life is a process of constant change. Mindfulness practice teaches us to move into the moment and become aware of everything in it, functioning from there. “Mindfulness everyday” is a way of living. It’s a way of living with our eyes wide open. It is very difﬁcult to accept reality with our eyes closed. If we want to accept what’s happening to us, we have to know what’s happening to us. We have to open up our eyes and look. Now a lot of people say, “I keep my eyes open all the time.” But if we look at them, we’ll see that they are not looking at the moment. They’re looking to their past. They’re looking to their future. They’re looking to their worries. They’re looking to their thoughts. They’re looking to everybody else. They’re looking absolutely everywhere else, except at the moment.
Mindfulness as a practice is the practice of directing our attention to only one thing. And that one thing is the moment we are alive. The very moment we are in. The beauty of mindfulness is that if we look at the moment, just this moment, we will discover that we are looking at the universe. And if we can become one with the moment—just this moment—the moment cracks open, and we are shocked that joy is in the moment. Strength to bear the suffering of our lives is also in the moment. It’s just about practice. It’s not a type of practice where listening to it just once and going through it just once gets us there. Mindfulness is not a place we get to. Mindfulness is a place we are. It is the going from and coming back to mindfulness that is the practice. It’s just this breath, just this step, just this struggle. Mindfulness is just where we are now, with our eyes wide open, aware, awake, attentive. It can be extremely difﬁcult. Things may come up that are difﬁcult to bear. If that happens, we can step back, notice, let go. This moment will pass. Difﬁculty may come up again. It may be difﬁcult again. We can look at it, let it go, let it pass. If it becomes too difﬁcult at some moment, we can just gently stop. We can come another day, wait, and listen again.
Primary and secondary emotions:
We went on to discuss primary and secondary emotions underlying emotions, things that are going on under the surface sometimes, actually, mostly masked and clouded by by initial impulsive emotion and reactions.
Primary emotions are those that occur as a direct result of encountering some kind of cue. For example, if someone is late for a meeting that is scheduled, she may experience frustration or concern. These emotions would be considered a primary emotion because the emotion occurred as a direct consequence of encountering some kind of event. Learn more about primary emotions and their relationship to secondary emotions with this review.
What Makes Primary Emotions Stand Out
Primary emotions are "fast-acting." That is, they occur in close proximity to the event that brought them on. Primary emotions are important because they provide us with information about our current situation and get us ready or motivated to act in some way.
People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experience strong emotions.
If you have PTSD, you may experience sadness, anger, or anxiety when you're reminded of the traumatic event or at other stressful moments. These emotional reactions are all primary.
Sometimes, however, emotions occur in response to having other emotions. For example, you might feel shame about being anxious or sad or anxiety because you're angry. This type of emotional reaction is called a secondary emotion.
Understanding Primary and Secondary Emotions
If someone cuts you off in traffic, you'll probably feel irritated or angry. In this situation, anger or irritation is a primary emotion, because it occurred as a direct consequence of the event (being cut off in traffic).
Or, if you start remembering the loss of someone you care about, the primary emotion you might feel is sadness. Secondary emotions, on the other hand, are less useful. Secondary emotions are the emotions we have in response to having primary emotions.
Let's go back to the example of someone cutting you off in traffic. You first feel the primary emotion of anger. However, let's say you were brought up to believe that it is not okay to be angry, or you fear that when you feel anger, you'll lose control and do something impulsive. If this is how you evaluate your primary emotion, anger, you'll probably feel shame or anxiety as a secondary emotion.
Secondary emotions don't pass quickly or provide useful information, but they do tend to stick around for a long time. They're also problematic because they can "take over" from primary emotions, effectively blocking them. As a result, secondary emotions can keep you from getting information from your primary emotions and acting on it in healthy ways. You could think of this as a way of trying to avoid your emotions.
How to Reduce Your Secondary Emotions
The first step in reducing your secondary emotions is to increase your overall emotional awareness. Self-monitoring exercises may help. In these exercises, you identify and evaluate your emotional responses to situations, trying to capture the kinds of secondary emotions that arise from your primary ones.
The goal is to learn to challenge your thoughts or be more mindful of your thoughts. You practice not taking your secondary emotions at face value or as truth, but simply as emotions, you're having only because you've had them before in the same types of situations, and it's become a habit.
Over time, getting into the habit of recognizing and challenging your secondary emotions can help you reduce their effects. That way, you can stay in touch with your primary emotions long enough to act on them in healthy ways.
We went on to talk about language, the influence of emotion on language inwardly and outwardly but particularly inwardly, known as Self talk. Self talk always influences how we talk to others in the long run, no matter how sociopathicly manipulative you are! Yeah YOU!
Being mindful of language
We spoke about being very mindful of choosing our words mindfully and how we deliver our language to ourselves and to others bearing in mind nuances, cadence, context, tone etc etc. All very important. Speed of talking and finding the gaps we need, the pauses and room to think is vital. Be mindful of of speed of language. Slow it down.
Be mindful rather than reactionary. Impulsive language can do great damage.
Trust me, I know this! ⬆⬆⬆
I have fucked up in the throws of mental illness and lost everything through mean, horrid, abusive language.
Never again. If you are reading this and you are using shitty horrid angry words and insults and put downs and dark shit when stressed out and ill with BPD, get it addressed and challenged. Find help, get DBT therapy help, speak to people about it and get it addressed. Trust me. That horrid stuff isn't you when you of you have BPD and rage issues but it will fuck you up and those around you. There is no excuse, only mitigating unfortunate circumstances. NO EXCUSES!
DBT. CBT. Doctor. Counselor. Social worker. Whatever. Open up 100 percent honestly and challenge your nasty angry shit and find your way back. Mark my words, you will not regret it if you challenge it sooner rather than later. If you have to metaphorically kick your doctors door down to get help, do it. The younger you are the better!
The same kind goes for the words we hear. Be mindful and attentive to how we are perceiving words, language is vital. Don't get it twisted. It's very very very easy to get it wrong, get it out of context, get it twisted and then BOOM, fireworks.
Listen. Breath. Slow your thinking. LISTEN!
Note body language, not tones, note cadence, etc etc.
It's the same as the language we use but in reverse. Hearing things wrong or all twisted up, coloured by negative emotions will just screw your life up and others peoples lives and steal your joy.
Being mindful of what we hear is a wonder drug.
It's taken me a long dark, very sickly path to truly learn these lessons and really put into practice the work of changing my ways. It's cost me an indescribable effort.
Dumbledore from Harry potter got it right when he said, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”
Language is doubled up with body language. Again, the same applies, being mindful of how we feel, how our body feels, and the body language we are giving out and perceiving from others.
How do we feel? For example are we tense? Tight jaws? Clenched fist etc? Hot? Light headed? Teary? What does this mean? How will the other person perceive this? Is it fair? Etc. Be mindful of it. Adjust it mindfully.
What signs does the other person give off? Clenched fist? Red face? Bared teeth? Smug grin? Smiling? Animate hand gestures? What does it mean? Don't get it twisted! Slow down and notice these things and think before jumping the gun.
Exposed: What Does Your Body Language Communicate?
Our body’s response is an important component of an emotional reaction to any event. If you’ve ever been criticized in public and found your face heated and your heart pounding, you’ve experienced your body’s reaction to shame or humiliation. Sometimes what you’re feeling is clear and consistent with what you’re saying. You might say “welcome” as you greet a guest with a smile.
But at other times, we mask our emotions from the people around us. There are many reasons to hide how you’re feeling. You don’t want to rock the boat with a new supervisor that you feel is too critical or you don’t want to hurt a friends feelings by letting him know a remark was insensitive. Sometimes you simply want to smooth over social situations.
Even when you don’t communicate your feelings verbally, you may still be imparting information with your body. Arms across you chest the next time you approach that new supervisor? Looking down when you speak to your friend? These gestures are all important expressions of an emotion.
Try tuning in to what others are communicating with their bodies and see what kind of information you gain. Notice things like eye contact, motions (trembling hands), rate of speech and posture. How does their verbal communication match their body language? How about you? Try tuning in to your own body. How do you think others perceive you? Are you slumped over in a meeting? Is that consistent with how you feel? Is it how you want to feel?
Body language communication is a two way street. It projects outward, communicating to others what you’re feeling, but it also has an impact on your internal emotional state. Changing your body and posture can have an impact on how you feel. Sit up in that meeting and you might find yourself more alert and engaged. Uncross your arms and you might find yourself more open to your new supervisor. Take a few deep breaths and you might find yourself less anxious.
The body and your body language is a great resource to tap into, especially if concealing how you feel has become habitual for you. Over time, if you become practiced at hiding your feelings, you may begin to hide them from yourself, as well. You can lose contact with how you actually feel in different situations. People who have experienced abuse often become quite good at masking how they feel. However the consequence can be losing contact with your own emotions.
Here is some common examples of body language and the emotion it is conveying:
Body Language: Eye contact, mutual gaze Emotion: Caring, love, affection Body Language: Smiling, jumping, talkative, Emotion Joy, excitement, happiness Body Language: Red flushed face, clenched hands, looking down, withdrawal, teeth clamping, frowning, invading other people’s space, Emotion Anger, dislike, annoyance, Body Language: Frowning, looking down, slumped posture, low, quiet monotonous voice, Emotion Sadness, hurt, unhappiness Body Language: Nervous talk, crying, fidgeting, speech errors, shakiness, speechlessness, freezing, Emotion anxiety, nervousness, fear Body Language: Covering face, hiding, slumping, eyes down, darting eyes, Emotion shame, embarrassment, regret
All of the above topics discussed, when mindfulness and DBT practices and techniques are practiced and gotten to grips with and bettered and bettered and perhaps eventually mastered, this will only strengthen ones "emotional resilience" in life and increase happiness and help one on the way to a life worth living and absolutely reduce pain and suffering and help heal the wounds of past trauma.
Honestly. I've come along way in the past two years and the more i practice these DBT lessons, the happier I become.
This is all about empathy for others and for ones self. Empathy towards ones self is the key. Out with the hate, in with some empathy and self compassion. This of course in the long run with DBT practices and perseverance only rubs off on other people in a good way, in an emphatic way.
More stuff on empathy I have stolen (out of empathy, of course 🤫 ):
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is generally described as a skills-based treatment, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy, and an intensive team-based approach to help people who have severe difficulties with emotion regulation. It has helped many people to manage their emotions, have better relationships, and create fulfilling lives.
When you look a bit deeper, though, at what the DBT skills actually do, they can be seen as opening the mind to curiosity and empathy. This empathic curiosity is the key to better relationships and increased positive emotional experiences. Curiosity—wanting to know—is paired with, and supports, the capacity to imagine the emotional experiences of other people.
So often—and this is reinforced by our social context—we make assumptions rather than being curious. In conversations with others, we think ahead to what we are going to say next, or we make interpretations about the meaning of what the other person is saying.
What if, rather than interpreting or analyzing another person’s words or actions, we were to remain curious about the many possibilities for what the person may be thinking or feeling?
As children, we were naturally curious. We were constantly asking, “Why?”
Over time, many people lose that natural curiosity because it is often not reinforced by the environment. We are taught to be obedient, to not question, to do what we are “supposed” to do and leave it at that.
From a dialectical behavior therapy perspective, this stifling of curiosity is a part of an invalidating environment. We all experience invalidation in various ways, but people with difficulty managing intense emotions often come from social environments they have experienced as especially invalidating. If curiosity is ignored, judged, or criticized, you learn to stop expressing curiosity because it is not reinforced.
Why be curious?
Why be curious? To start with, curiosity makes it possible for us to empathize with others. We wonder how another person may be feeling, what he or she may be thinking, and how he or she may be experiencing us. This allows us to tailor our responses based on this relational context. Others experience us as empathic, and this leads to better-functioning relationships.
DBT’s mindfulness skills support this curiosity. It starts with observing—not judging, not evaluating, but simply using our five senses to take in the present moment. Then we put words to our experience by describing what we have observed. Mindfulness requires participating in the moment—just throwing yourself in—and letting go of whatever judgmental thoughts or distractions come up.
In a relational context, mindfulness takes an even deeper form. So often in our interactions with others, we become so lost in intense emotional reactions that we forget the importance of this person and the relationship in our lives. We may be focused on being right, even if that does not get us the outcome we are looking for. The mindfulness skills in DBT teach us to focus on being effective—on doing what works.
When communicating with another person, relationship mindfulness requires being present, holding in mind an imagination of the other person’s experience, and focusing on effectiveness (both short- and long-term). It requires a willingness to do what is needed, even if it’s uncomfortable or difficult. Most of all, relationship mindfulness requires not forgetting the authentic, valid experience of the other person as well as of yourself. Even if the other person has said or done something you do not like, his or her experiences, needs, and desires are valid. Even if your own emotional responses are difficult to tolerate, they are valid.
Empathic curiosity requires a conscious decision—to turn yourself toward the present moment and to open your mind to want to know that which is not always obvious or clear. Such a decision can change your relationships and your life.
Empathy = Validation.
Surfing the urge:
I've been struggling with this, this week! Not in term s of substances (booze) or food or any of that silly shit but in terms of anger and lashing out at myself. Inward focused anger. However, with a some pain and gritted determination, with a couple of chosen DBT exercises on repeat, I have climbed that obstacle. Anyway .....
Urge surfing in a nut shell, here go's ......
There are a number of steps towards 'surfing the emotion'. Here is how I see them:
1.I press the 'pause' button. Using Mindfulness I focus on what is certain around me. 'This is a cup of coffee, I can smell, it, I can notice the warmth spreading to my hands from the mug, I can enjoy the sensations and taste as I drink it'. I allow myself to use my senses, I take the time to experience what I am doing in that moment, noticing my feelings, but not allowing myself to get stuck with them. I also slow myself down by using breathing skills. Either deep breathing focusing on my lungs, the rise and fall of my tummy. In these ways I take my mind away from trying to analyse feelings which cannot be rationalized and simply focus on what is certain. Grounding myself in my surroundings.
2. Once I am able to focus on my breathing or on my surroundings,I try to name the feelings. Often the most immediate feeling is not the problem. My main problem is when my immediate emotional response to the present trigger connects with feelings about and from my past. Often these historic feelings are painful and linked to past traumas. I need to be able to separate present feelings from those from the past. If I can name my 'enemy' I have a better chance of winning.
3.Accept that 'this too will pass'. No matter how I feel about the intensity and life of my feelings, they don't last forever. And there is a rise and fall in the intensity. Again, using mindfulness exercises which allow me to observe my feelings without losing control, helps me to notice and observe the rise and fall of the feelings. They do come in waves. If I can survive the 'crest of the wave' for a time, it will ease.
4.Sitting with the emotion. If I recognise that the feelings are not permanent, or that they don't have to remain as painful all the time, I can then allow myself to learn that no matter how painful, they cannot kill me. Sitting with the emotion has so often been the last thing I have wanted to do. However, DBT acceptance skills tell me that trying to avoid or push away the emotions will not help in the long run. In a sense I need to allow the wave to wash over me, in the knowledge that I will be safe and once the wave has receded I will still be standing. Again, the ability to allow myself to feel the emotion is a mindfulness skill. I use a mindfulness visualisation which identifies the feeling, then gives the feeling a visual form in my mind. As I breathe through the waves of emotion, I return to my image of the feeling and observe it. I continue to switch focus between my surroundings and my image of the emotion until finally I can observe it grow smaller and disappear. There is a version of this in The Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Workbook (2007, McKay, Wood and Brantley - New Harbinger Publications, Inc) that I use.
5. Another way of managing the wave of emotion is to listen to classical music. Popular music is not complex enough, I feel, to be able to help ride the emotion wave, although I do listen to pop music as Opposite Emotion exercises. However, movements from the classics have shades of emotion. They rise and fall, the orchestra builds to crescendo then dies away. Allowing myself to focus on the rise and fall of the music, allows me to naturally fall into the concept of waves. Once I am comfortable I can connect my emotions in a similar way and allow them to rise and fall along with the emotions
Practice Practice Practice.
Even resisting the urge to eat and drink fast or stay in bed for another hour etc is surfing the urge. Little gestures make huge impacts on our mental health.