Today, I did some reflection on myself. I realized that I’ve been through a rough year. Even 2016 was very hard on myself. I can’t wait to start 2018 because I have so much to see. I am ready more than ever to be healthy and happy again. I already started my therapy and when I am looking back I can say that I am a strong and beautiful woman who wants to fight.
My childhood was extremely difficult. I went through a lot of difficulties in my life but 2016 and 2017 were the worst. Sexual assault and 2 suicides attempts. I have always been struggling with mental health and my emotions but this past 2 years were the most horrible ones for me. I am still alive and it means a lot to me right now. I am suppose to be here and be fighting. I have a wonderful family who need me and amazing friends as well who are always there to support me through my tough and good times.
I am happy and excited to start a new life. I can say a new life because I don’t want to be depressed anymore. I don’t want to struggle that much again. In the following weeks I will be treated for my PTSD. I am still on DBT but we are including a PTSD treatment in it. It is going to be hard and stressful but after all that I have been through, I know I can do it.
I just can’t wait to be able to put that behind me. I am going forward and can’t wait to start 2018!
Takig Hold of Your Mind: “What” Skills
- Notice your body sensations (coming through your eyes, ears, nose, skin, and tongue).
- Pay attention on purpose, to the present moment.
- Control your attention, but not what you see. Push away nothing. Cling nothing.
- Practice wordless watching: Watch thoughts come into your mind and let them slip right by like clouds in the sky. Notice each feeling, rising and falling, like waves in the ocean.
- Observe both inside and outside yourself.
- Put words on the experience. When a feeling or thought arises, or you do something, acknoledge it. For example, say in your mind, “Sadness has just envelopped me,” or “Stomach muscles tightening,” or “a thought ‘I can’t do this’ has come into my mind.”
- Label what you observe. Put a name on your feelings. Label a thought as just a thought, a feeling as just a feeling, an action as just an action.
- Unglue your interpretations and opinions from the facts. Describe the “who, what, when, and where” that you observe. Just the facts.
- Remember, if you can’t observe it through your senses, you can’t describe it.
- Throw yourself completely into activities of the current moment. Do not separate yourself from what is going on in the moment (dancing, cleaning, talking to a friend, feeling happy or feeling sad).
- Become one with whatever you are doing, completely forgetting yourself. Throw your attention to the moment.
- Act intuitively from Wise Mind. Do just what is needed in each situation-a skillful dancer on the dance floor, one with the music and your partner, neither willful nor sitting on your hands.
- Gow with the flow. Respond with spontaneity.
States of mind
- Reasonable Mind is : Cool, Rational and Task-Focused. When in reasonable mind, you are ruled by factd, reason, logic, and pragmatics. Values and feelings are not important.
- Emotion Mind is : Hot, Mood-Dependent, Emotion-Focused. When in emotion mind, you are ruled by your moods, feelings and urges to do or say things. Facts, reason, and logic are not important.
- Wise Mind is : The wisdom within each person. Seeing the value of both reason and emotion. Bringing left brain and right brain together. The middle path.
I am going to share right now some ideas for practicing wise mind.
The mindfulness skills often require a lot of practice. As with any new skill, it is important to first practice when you don’t need the skill. If you practice in easier situations, the skill will become automatic, and you will have the skill when you need it. Practice with your eyes closed and with your eyes open.
1- Stone flake on the lake. Imagine that you are by a clear blue lake on a beautiful sunny day. Then imagine that you are a small flake of stone, flat and light. Imagie that you have been tossed out onto the lake and are now gently, slowly, floating through the calm, clear blue water to the lake’s smooth, sandy bottom.
- Notice what you see, what you feel as you float down, perhaps in slow circles, floating toward the bottom. As you reach the bottom of the lake, settle your attention there within yourself.
- Notice the serenity of the lake; become aware of the calmness and quiet deep within.
- As you reach the center of your self, settle your attention there.
2- Breathing “Wise” in, “Mind” out. Breathing in, say to yourself, “wise”; breathing out, say “Mind”.
- Focus your entire attention on the word “wise,” then, focuse it again entirely on the word “mind”.
- Continue until you sense that you have settled into Wise Mind.
3- Asking Wise Mind a question. Breathing in, silently ask Wise Mind a question.
- Breathing out, listen fo the answer.
- Listen, but do not give yourself the answer. Do not tell yourself the answer’ listen for it.
- Continue asking on each in-breath for some time. If no answer comes, try again another time.
4- Attending to your breath coming in and out, let your attention settle into your center.
- Breathing in completely, notice and follow the sentions of your breath coming in.
- Let your attention settle into your center, at the bottom of your breath, at your solar plexus-or
- Let your attention settle in the center of your forehead, your “third eye,” at the top of your breath.
- Keeping your attention at your center, exhale, breathng normally, maintening attention.
- Settle into Wise Mind.
5- Expanding awareness. Breathing in, focus your awereness on your center.
- Breathing out, stay aware of your center, but expand awereness to the space you are in now.
- Continue on the moment.
In the last article I shared some information about TIP Skills. One of them was to use the cold water. I am going to give you this skill step by step.
COLD WATER CAN WORK WONDERS
When you put your full face into cold water… Or you put a zip-lock bag with cold water on your eyes and upper cheeks, and hold your breath, it tells your brain you are diving underwater.
This causes the “dive response” to occur. (It may take 15-30 seconds to start.)
Your heart slows down, blood flow to nonessential organs is reduced, and blood flow is redirected to the brain and heart.
This response can actually help regulate your emotions.
This will be useful as a distress tolerance strategy when you are having a very strong, distressing emotion, or when you are having very strong urges to engage in dangerous behaviors.
(This strategy works best when you are sitting quietly – activity and distraction may make it less effective.)
TRY IT OUT!
To reduce extreme emotion mind fast.
Remember these as TIP skills:
T = TIP THE TEMPARATURE of your face with COLD WATER (to calm down fast)
- Holding your breath, put your face in a bowl of cold water, or hold a cold pack (or zip-lock bag of cold water) on your eyes and cheeks.
- Hold for 30 seconds, keep water above 50 degres F
I = INTENSE EXERCISE (to calm down your body when it is revved up by emotion)
- Engage in intense exercise, if only for a short while.
- Expend your body’s stored up physical energy by running, walking fast, jumping, playing basketball, lifting weights, etc.
P= PACED BREATHING (pace your breathing by slowing it down)
- Breathe deeply into your belly.
- Slow your pace on inhaling and exhaling way down (on average, five to six breaths per minute).
- Breathe out more slowly than you breathe in (for example, 5 seconds in and 7 seconds out).
PAIRED MUSCLE RELAXATION (to calm down by pairing muscle relaxation with breathing out)
- While breathing into your belly deeply tense your body muscles (not so much as to cause cramp).
- Notice the tension in your body.
- While breathing out, say the word “Relax” in your mind.
- Let go of the tension.
- Notice the difference in your body.
This is the information I got yesterday in group therapy. My homework for this week is to practice all those skills. They suggest us to use it when we are not in a crisis. The more we use it the more it will pop in our brain while we will be in a crisis.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
- Intentionally living with awareness in the present moment. ( Waking up from automatic or note behaviors to participate and be present to our own lives.)
- Without judging or rejecting the moment. (Noticing consequences, discerning helpfulness and harmful Ness – but letting go of evaluating, avoiding, suppressing, or blocking the present moment.)
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 any time, 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, or lying quietly for predetermined period of time. When meditating, we focus the mind ( for example, we focus on body send st ions, 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 Shem a, Islamic Sufi practice, or Hindu raja yoga) is a spiritual mindfulness practice.
- Mindfulness moment also has many forms. Examples in cue 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.