Doing Mind vs Being Mind ........ II, revisited.
Another public DBT journal blog entry thing that will make me cringe like fuck on reading it back but as suggested and agreed, I do this and publish a version that doesn't give to much away and a private version that is for the eyes of DBT peeps only. I always feel like I'm oversharing here on my public blog but here it is, more "holding myself accountable". I hope my endeavours can help other people, even just one person amongst the plethora of other DBT blogs and resources out there. There's a lot of us messy people on the planet.
A pledge and "PLEASE" and "Doing Mind vs Being Mind" DBT emotional regulation skills and practice notes.
Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.
M. Scott Peck
In our group based DBT class we learned about and discussed at quite some depth a set of DBT skills and practices called "Doing Mind vs Being Mind". The key piece of these skills work I want to briefly write about today is the "PLEASE" skill section of these skills.
Taken for my ESRGP DBT forum thingy:
As agreed with Debbie, we have all been asked to absolutely commit to at least one of these health building skills/goals/ambitions (listed above) and seeing that i am revisiting this lesson to get it totally straight in my little brain, I will choose a different commitment to the first time making my pledge for PLEASE. Since my first go at this session I have come on a long way and I have turned a significant corner in my mental/emotional well being. I can thank PLEASE skills guidance for that in part without a doubt.
I will Keep track of my class commitment and write about it in my journal and share my experiences, good and/or bad in the forum as time goes by during our course of DBT therapy. Most of it won't be for public consumption on my ruffroot blog so it will be mainly posted here exclusively at DBT_path.
Copied and pasted from my other DBT place where I share and discuss with other people on the same therapy course ⬆⬆
When people neglect their self care, they may become more emotionally vulnerable—meaning that more often, they get overwhelmed by negative emotions, engage in negative coping skills, and lash out at others impulsively.
PLEASE Master is a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skill that helps reduce emotional vulnerability. It enables people to better regulate their emotions and make positive choices. If you work on leading a balanced lifestyle, you are more likely to maintain emotional control during times of stress!
This is how PLEASE Master Skills work:
• PL: Treat Physical iLLness: Take care of yourself when you are sick! Take all medication as prescribed by your physician and take your vitamins daily. It is important to pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you begin to feel sick, make an appointment with your doctor. Make sure to schedule routine check-ups even if you are feeling fine, just to be safe!
• E: Eat Balanced Meals: Eat every few hours so that you have enough energy throughout the day. Avoid eating portions that are too large or too small. Be sure to prepare balanced meals, with fruits and vegetables. Also, try to eat small amounts of sugary or high-fat foods. Nutrition should be a priority!
• A: Avoid Mood Altering Drugs: Only take substances that are prescribed to you by a doctor. Drink alcohol in moderation, or consider drinking moderately on the weekends only. Do not take any illegal drugs. Using drugs and alcohol greatly contributes to feeling emotionally vulnerable, both during and in the one to two day period after use. Remember the cons of excessive drinking and drug use.
• S: Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Most people need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep each night. Practice good sleep hygiene: unplug from electronics an hour before bed, dim or shut the lights off completely, and make going to bed at the same time each night a priority. By avoiding naps during the day, you may be able to sleep better at night.
• E: Make Time for Exercise: Try to get at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day. Exercise releases natural mood-boosting chemicals and provides a healthy outlet to expend excess energy or frustration. If you do not exercise regularly already, start small and work up to the full 20 minutes over time.
Do one activity each day that makes you feel confident, capable and accomplished. You can easily build mastery by doing everyday household tasks, like tidying up the house or finishing a task that you’ve been putting off. Consider enhancing a skill you already have (such as knitting, drawing, or bicycling) or setting a new goal. Building mastery helps you focus on your strengths, instead of feeling down about your weaknesses.
By achieving PLEASE Master, you can feel better both physically and emotionally. This will help you keep your emotions in check and reduce your emotional vulnerability.
I have been encouraged (told) to pick a (another) one or two PLEASE subjects one or two that we know we need to work on to get right or at least better, to aid our DBT progress, skills effectiveness and emotional well being (resilience) .
Fair enough. Challenge accepted.
So I will choose two areas in which I know struggle from day to day.
Last time I chose these two areas:
Since then, I have really knuckled down ob my dietary needs and fuck ups and most importantly, my tendency to binge eat when feeling very depressed. That was an unhealthy, shame inducing, weight gaining emotional crutch for, well, forever. Self harm is what it was. I know why, I know where it stems from and I found out what to do about it in order to stop the binge eating and replace that coping mechanism with something healthy and something that doesn't turn you into fat bastard. Also, it was embarrassing.
Long story short, with paid professional help (NHS were useless) I have overcome that one and I feel happier and healthier for it. Job Jobbed.
On that subject, my next dietary mission which I am researching and gearing up for is a KETO diet. Watch this space. I will blog about it in the future.
This is still an area that I can struggle in but I have worked hard on my sleep hygiene and "at the moment", my insomnia SNAFU isn't as bad as it has been. The work is paying off I think but I am mindful of slipping back into old bad habits that keep me awake. My random working patterns don't do me any favours but it is what it is. What can ya do?
My next two PLEASE pledges:
So my next two PLEASE areas of concern to work on are:
Exercise - physical aspect of my mental well being.
I know I need to rebuild a firm routine of exercise back in to my daily life. A routine rater than impulsively picking choosing and sometimes, all to often, pressing the fuck it button and doing something else entirely. Routine is important. I will focus on;
Running and cycling
Theses are things I enjoy and the running is something I was once fucking great at and powerful at. I KNOW getting this routine back into my life on a regular basis will seriously help my broken brain and emotional well being. I can and will achieve this goal.
The yoga is something new I am looking into with encouragement from a friend. This is on my radar. I will journal my experiences of my new found yoga journey. Yoga it seems perfectly compliments mindfulness skills and the mental and spiritual philosophies around mindfulness and DBT. Again, watch this pace over the next year. Might work, might not.
The next chosen area of PLEASE skills to work on, or should I say, keep working on and being mindful about and make sure I stick to my guns over is:
Avoid Mood Altering Drugs;
Only take substances that are prescribed to you by a doctor. Drink alcohol in moderation, or consider drinking moderately on the weekends only. Do not take any illegal drugs. Using drugs and alcohol greatly contributes to feeling emotionally vulnerable, both during and in the one to two day period after use. Remember the cons of excessive drinking and drug use.
This has been a big issue but I am glad to say I have turned HUGE corners with this life long habit. Not addiction but a maladaptive crutch that got me in all kinds of bother. I should actually be dead but that's best left alone here 😬.
That said, I need to be very mindful, and stubborn and clear in my goals with my pledge of sobriety to myself. There are always friends, well meaning friends, that want me to join them in the pub or on the beach to drink beer and chill out or muck about. The encouragement and temptation is always there and sometimes it is very tempting. Some of my friends don't quite understand why I want to go down the road of abstinence when for 25 years I have been at various times, various phases, a drinker, a heavy drinker, a binge drinker, a fucking beer monster, drug snorting, fighting, jack the lad, hard partying booze fuelled cheer leader of getting fucked up. So, I can understand the bemusement from some.
In a nut shell, I never ever want to return to alcohol after the damage it has, lets say, assisted me in doing. It's bad for my mental illness, it's bad for my relationships, it's bad for my wallet, it's bad for my career, it's bad for my body and I absolutely can not handle hang overs anymore. They hit me super hard and that's hand in hand with my mental/emotional well being.
The booze is done. I must stick to my guns and keep resisting the allure of pub life and the unhealthy escapism it offers. It's not an escape, It's a trap, for me personally.
I do though, miss being part of the clique, the gang, the inner circle, a belonging.
It's a massive shift in social paradigm. Huge.
The pledge remains:
I pledge to keep getting this right and eventually the temptation to slip back into old routines will go away.
So, why PLEASE skills?
PLEASE skills are not skills designed to deal with an emotional emergency or as distress tolerance skills per se but more as and emotional regulation skill designed to aid the prevention of an emotional melt down through good self care practices. Something I am only just, really, getting to grips with in my life. At 43 (almost). Bit mad that.
These healthy practices that most people find second nature in their lives in the main, are life skills most of messed up folk did not learn as children and teenagers and young adults because they were never taught to us by our parents/guardians properly or at all. So it's now that we must learn and practice these skills with determination, discipline and willingness. It's not easy but it will pay off dividends and I feel, for my part, I am seeing/feeling the seeds that are being sown, grow. I can feel it.
These skills will aid our neural path rerouting and help us change our patterns of thought. Discipline is key though and so is self compassion (not beating ourselves up) when we don't get it right. Something I have been good at to point of nearly death! But it's vital we keep trying until it clicks and gets easier to practice.
Keep trying. Keep going. Keep practising.
PLEASE skills will improve physical and emotional resiliency by helping us to prepare our physical nervous system. It's hand in hand. It's all connected. Be mindful of the intrinsic connections of body and mind. Somatics!
Somatics describes any practice that uses the mind-body connection to help you survey your internal self and listen to signals your body sends about areas of pain, discomfort, or imbalance. These practices allow you to access more information about the ways you hold on to your experiences in your body.
Quite a short entry this time so relatively painless anyone so bored that they read this!
That said, I cannot emphasise the importance of theses self care key points. Checking in in on these matters is no joke. If you are determined to heal and determined to be the best version of you, PLEASE skills are an essential check list of maintenance tips to keep referring too throughout DBT and throughout the rest of your life. No exaggeration. It's helped me well on my way to finding peace within.
A good read stolen from: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/dbt/2011/11/how-exercise-impacts-your-mental-health/
How Exercise Impacts Your Mental Health
Most people living in a modern world understand that regular exercise is beneficial to physical health. And many people recognise that exercise makes them “feel better.”
In fact, incorporating exercise into a sedentary lifestyle can have significant physical and mental health benefits. Exercise is healthy, inexpensive and, according to Roger Walsh in the October 2011 issue of The American Psychologist, underused to treat psychiatric disorders. In his review, Walsh found that exercise reduces the risk of multiple diseases, including cancer, and improves physical disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Last week I discussed how unhealthy lifestyles can contribute to an array of physical problems and can play can an equally important role your mental health and maintaining a sense of well-being.
This week, I will review exercise specifically. I summarise, below, some of Walsh’s findings in his review of the literature exploring how exercise impacts mental health.
Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Exercise offers preventative and therapeutic psychological benefits. It can reduce the risk of depression and chronic pain, as well as neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Depression, anxiety, eating addictive disorders and body dysmorphic disorders are all responsive to exercise as an adjunct to treatment. Even some symptoms of schizophrenia improve with exercise.
Depression is the most studied mental health disorder in relation to exercise. With depression the evidence points to benefits that are comparable to both medication and therapy.
Why can exercise have antidepressant effects?
Serotonin levels change with exercise and improve sleep. With better sleep, mood improves.
Exercise releases endorphins in the body, a chemical in the brain associated with positive mood.
The break down of muscle tension through exercise can improve sleep and decrease physical pain and discomfort associated with depression.
Exercise can lead to improvements in self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
It can interrupt cycles of negative thoughts and rumination.
What type of exercise proves a valuable adjunct to medication and therapy?
Higher intensity workouts tend to be more effective, although lower intensity still have benefits.
Exercise and the Brain: What impact can exercise have on cognitive functioning?
Enhances academic performance in youth
Aids in stroke recovery
Reduces age-related memory loss
Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s dementia
Improves cognitive performance, emotional states, coordination and planning in the elderly and those with Alzheimer’s
How might exercise improve cognitive function?
Exercise increases brain volume (the size of the brain)
Exercise increases blood flow and vascularization, that is the formation of blood vessels and capillaries in the brain
Even brief counselling can motivate many people to make changes in the amount of exercise they get. Given the low risk of side effects and the substantial positive effects, it is an important option to consider when you are looking to improve your mental well-being.
Good short article from https://blogs.psychcentral.com ⬆⬆
More rambling from me. Sorry:
DBT, Fitness, and Depression - it's all hand in hand.
While exercise has not yet been shown to "cure" any mental health disorder on its own, there are mountains of evidence showing its benefits on mood, self-concept, and work ethic out there on the internet alone. Take a look. Exercise has a huge effect on a teenagers emotional wellbeing and even improved my cognition which was pretty messy at times, traumatised. I remember it well as young lad before I really knew what was wrong with me in medical scientific terms. Running and cycling was a thing I was drawn too by instinct. My body and my mind knew it was therapeutic and instinctively I ran and and I cycled and hit the gym for cardio with no encouragement or advice. I just did. It really helped me stave off some very dodgy moods and aggressive behaviour. It also has a host of physical benefits: it increased heart rate, reduced stressy melt downs, improved sleep, lowered blood pressure, increased energy levels and all of the rest of it.
I'm pleased that I am getting back into it all, the running side of things. I'm fatter and slower these days due to psyche med's mainly but I reckon I can turn all of that round. I'm getting there. It also makes me feels accomplished and that feels as good as sex!
How Exercise Helps with Depression
I think what’s most incredible about exercise is that it actually reduces depression and anxiety.I know it does.
One study published online (Gordon, 2018) found that strength training improves depressive symptoms so much that it works as well as mainstream therapies like CBT and medication. It's criminal that it's not prescribed more by doctors and that the conservative party (the nasty party) in government at the moment in the UK, cut all the gym concessions and free prescribed memberships to people with mental health illness. They cut that budget along with the rest of the mental health system pretty much. It's a crime. Makes me very angry.
Carolina Dozal, M.S. PPS, a DBT-trained primary therapist, says the reason why fitness’ benefits are so well-documented is because it is, by nature, so challenging.
“It’s not easy to get up and go for a run if you’re so anxious or depressed that you can barely get out of bed. But once you do it, and you complete it, you feel better. You feel accomplished, proud of yourself, and want to keep going.”
As a Nike-affiliated athlete who has completed marathons and triathlons, Dozal knows this from personal experience. She's shit hot stuff. The real deal.
She know that exercise is physically strenuous.
“It takes physical exertion to move your legs, get yourself running, to get yourself into a sweat, which is why it’s such a distraction and it completely removes you from rumination and negative thoughts.”
If you’re trying to get more movement into your day, starting of small is fine. Baby steps.
It doesn’t even have to be running, walking is fine to begin with. I alternate running with walking still and that's okay. For dudes like me who live with severe depression, walking can be a huge deal. I mean mahoosive!”
“Start with walking or running one mile, then move on to two, and so on.
DBT might call this theory building mastery. Well, not might, they do and it is.
Once you master something, then step up the challenge in small bites, incrementally, so you get better little by little. You might see, from the first to the fourth week, how much stronger you get, both physically and mentally, and how much stamina you can build up.
I've done it this in the past to a highly functioning degree. I was more than good. But then mental health put pay to that and one more than 2 or 3 occasions I have built myself back up only to relapse into bad mental health.
I'm back on the journey of building myself back up, incrementally, slowly, but surely an it feels right and it feels good. Getting stronger and faster week by week. I am on this journey.
I'm getting outside more too. out of the dojo, out of the gym, off the ted mill and bags and into the countryside and amongst the trees.
It's all medicine.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Exercise
DBT is a huge proponent of physical activity and it talks about it a lot ion various skills practices and we have hit upon it a lot in DBT_path and spoken about somatics and exercise and the intrinsic link between mind and body. It's really really pivitol stuff.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy encourages people to accumulate positive experiences as a way to reduce the chronic sadness SNAFU's associated with depression. And I know depression inside out, upside down and back to front.
Accumulating pleasurable activities is so important that one exercise in DBT (pun intended) is to brainstorm, list and schedule fun, and pleasurable activities for the week ahead. Journal them. Plan. Plan ahead.
For lots of BPD peeps, one example of a rewarding activity could be exercise, in any form you want it, whether it’s yoga (which I am gearing up too), running (which i am engaging in again), football (not my bag), or another sport or physical activity you enjoy. Not only does such an activity feel good in the short term, it leads to enhanced recovery and limits the rates of relapse.
Exercise: Opposite Action for Depression
Another theory in DBT is opposite action (I have blogged about this somewhere else on this blog thing, I'll link it it later). Opposite action involves doing the “opposite” of what you feel like doing when you’re distressed. Stands to reason considering it's name.
For people with depression, not just BPD folk, who find it difficult to even get out of bed, Opposite Action says get moving—even if you don’t feel like fucking doing it, doing anything, ever again. Move.
I mean, shit, it can be a huge struggle to just start stretching. But once you start participating, doing it, you see how much your mood completely switches up for the good. Anxiety goes down, depression dissipates a bit and then a lot, self-esteem goes up and you're away. You're doing it. The opposite of how you felt before not wanting to bother. It takes an indescribable effort sometimes but fuck me, it's elation when you break through.
Two years ago, I was in such a deep depression, suicidaly so but I managed to somehow make myself get out for a run to a place called Throop. A beautiful place. Long story short, by the time I got there, my mood had gone from wanting to stop breathing for good to being grateful for every last magical endorphin laced misty freezing breath in and out. I was so surprised at my own determination and so elated to be feeling this happiness racing through my blood and synapses that i found myself crying tears of joy and relief.
That was huge. Mahooooosive! And it was the gritty mix of opposite action and exercise that got me there. Pain and hurt was the fuel. The silver lining was the beginning of this journey. The one I'm on now.
Chokes me up a bit reliving that minus zero, bitterly cold, winters evening.
It had to happen though 🏃♂️
It builds a lot of motivation.
Now watch me be the best I've ever been.