1. STOP for a moment. Observe and Name the experience you are having "I am freaking out". This already starts to turn on your prefrontal cortex.

2. Grab ice cubes and hold them as long as you can. YIkes! You won't last long. (An alternative would be to pop a warhead candy or a lemon/lime slice into your mouth).  This will trick your brain in a helpful way.

3.  Place the entire palm of your hand over your forehead, gently pressing for 1 - 5 minutes. Until you feel better. This sends signals for blood to comes back to the prefrontal cortex. The trick is it can take several minutes. 

4. Take 3 full belly breaths. As best as you can. You have now tolerated the worst of it, using your skills, and can regulate the emotional experience. You may reflect to gain insight. Write about it. Start problem solving. Or distract yourself. 
 
 
DEAR MAN is an interpersonal effectiveness skill to use when we want to get an objective met. It is an assertiveness skill that breaks passive aggressive patterns.      

Goal:  Meet Your Objective

·      Describe the current situation

·      Express your feelings and opinions about situation

·      Assert yourself by asking for what you want, or saying “No” clearly

·      Reinforce or reward the person ahead of time: explain consequences

·      Mindfully keep your focus on your objectives: don’t be distracted

·      Appear confident and effective: good eye contact, no stammering

·      Negotiate: be willing to give to get

DEAR MAN Language Help Describe – short 
Description             I notice……..

Express – Opinion/Feeling                I feel………….

Assert – What you are asking for      I need………………. Or I want……….  (“I” statements)

Reinforce- What they will gain         If you do ________________, then _______________

 
 
 
Learn to take one action step at a time to reduce overwhelming feeling and to overcome procrastination.

Determine 1 goal you want to accomplish. Write out, or name, all the action steps you need to take to reach your goal. Put the steps in order, and start with 1 action step at a time.

Doing things step by step, one small action step at time, moves us forward. Looking too far ahead all the time keeps us from the moment and increase anxiety.

We will get further in life if we set a goal, and then work on it, each step, in the present moment.

Reminder: It is the process that is often most rewarding. 


 
 
Working with the urge to lash out.
 
 
“Intense Sensations” is a Distress Tolerance skill to use when you are feeling intense emotions. It is especially good to use with panic, anger, disgust, & jealousy.  Yet, it can also be used with other emotion’s. The premise is that it tricks the brain to go to the new “Intense Sensation” and therefore the brain shifts and stops sending out messages for the unwanted emotional experience. This will not take the emotion away entirely, but will bring it down enough that you can better manage the emotion, OR enough so you don’t act out.

Safe Intense Ideas

·      Put ice cubes in hand; hold until you can’t anymore

·      Put 1 or 2 Warhead candies in your mouth

·      Use COLD water on hands & face

·      Short burst of Intense exercise

·      Put a lime or lemon wedge in your mouth

·      Put an atomic bomb candy in your mouth (must be intense)

·      Put a Jalapeno in your mouth

·      Put a “VERY Strong” mint in your mouth

·      Put pop rocks candy in your mouth

 
 
The Acceptance Skills are often the most difficult. “Willingness” is a skill that helps us move toward “Radical Acceptance”. “Willingness” is being willing, or open, to doing something that might be difficult, because it is what is needed.  Wise Mind opens us up to being more willing in our lives. 

The purpose is to transform stubbornness and denial that keeps us stuck, into “Willingness” to participate, to move forward, and to do the hard, but helpful work, we need.

Do what is needed for the situation you are dealing with.  Open yourself up to being willing.

Try “Willing Hands”:  If your body and mind feel rigid or stuck, open the top of your palms up fully and place upwards on your lap.  Then take a few deep breathes.  Take a moment to “Observe” if you feel more willing.



 
 
FAST is an acronym for an interpersonal skill that helps us uphold our self-respect. We use FAST when we feel taken advantage of, someone is overstepping our personal boundaries, and when our self–respect is on the line. F – be Fair

A – no Apologies

S – Stick to your values

T – be Truthful

Be fair to yourself and the other person(s).  No apologizes, this is the not the time to apologize… this may be an opposite action for you.  Stick to your values. Do you know your top 5 values?  Be Truthful, this is when we lie or fabricate or omit stuff, because we feel shame or fear or guilt.  Your truth is good enough and is IMPORTANT!

 
 
Learning to Self-Soothe is instrumental in learning how to balance our automatic nervous system. In my practice this is one of the skills most of my clients’ fall deficient in.  It sounds easy enough, do something soothing. We may even say to ourselves, “I get it”, BUT DO YOU know how to soothe yourself in a positive way without escaping, avoiding, denying, repressing, or overly expressing?

We are NOT born knowing how to soothe; we learn it from the environment around us. If we did not properly learn this in the first 7 years of life, we are deficient until we build this skill. Also, there are things that can happen to us at any age that can create a sense of losing this skill.

In DBT it is an essential Distress Tolerance skill. Just as the senses can arose our emotions, they can also soothe our emotions. Use the 5-Senses to Soothe your nervous system. Find things (without consequences) under each category (Sight, Hearing, Smelling, Touching, & Tasting) that are Soothing to you; use them train or retrain your brain to relax.  Build a Self Soothe kit for yourself and use it.  

 
 
Coping skill of the week: OBSERVE. This is a Mindfulness skill that is easy to explain and yet harder than you think to apply. It is one of the most important skills, becuase it leads us towards other skills, self-regulation, and new insights. OBSERVE is to simply to notice. Take notice and be curious w/ observing your internal experiences: feelings, emotions, body sensations, thoughts, judgments, urges. 

OBSERVE externally with your senses, what do you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch? 

A great practice is to OBSERVE when you notice an emotion arise. What do you notice??????
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