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 Post subject: Managing Distress, Strong or High Emotions
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:56 pm 
galactic orange
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1. Self-Soothe. Get yourself some hot cocoa, coffee, soda, juice or water. Drink your beverage slowly focusing on the sensations of taste, smell and temperature.

2. Intense Sensations.
a) Go to the kitchen and take a piece of ice, and some napkins. Hold the ice in your hand, and use the napkins to absorb the melting water. Focus on the intense cold sensation of ice in your hand.
b) Take a cold shower.
c) Put your bare arm into very cold water.
d) Place an ice pack on the back of your neck.

3. Distract yourself. Pick up a magazine and focus your attention on the pictures or an interesting article. Bring your mind to whatever you are reading or looking at, redirecting it from upsetting thoughts and feelings.

4. Practice deep breathing. Place one hand on your belly, inhale slowly counting to 5, feeling your belly expand. Pause. Exhale slowly, counting to 5, feeling your belly deflate. Practice this deep breathing 10 times.

5. Use Relaxation. Give yourself a little neck and shoulder massage- you can rapidly tap your fingers on your neck and shoulders or rub your neck and shoulders. Focus on different muscles in your body from your head to your feet telling yourself to let go of tightness and tension.

6. Pray. Pray either to a higher power, your own wise mind, or just open yourself up to peace and serenity. Open your hands, uncross your arms and legs, slow your breathing and focus on acceptance. Ask for strength to bear the pain in this moment. Breath in and out while telling yourself something like “I breathe in peace and breathe out distress” or “acceptance will help ease my suffering.”

7. Self-encouragement. Think of what you might say to someone in a similar situation as you. Give yourself the same encouragement and support. Tell yourself things like “I can get through this” or “This won’t last forever.”

8. Use imagery. Imagine a wall between yourself and the situation. Or imagine a peaceful, happy, secure place. It can be someplace you have been or someplace that you create in your mind. Imagine in detail what your place looks like, any soothing smells, if there are any comforting people or animals with you, what it feels like where you are sitting or laying, what sounds you can hear…

9. Make comparisons. Distract yourself by thinking about problems that you don’t have or that you no longer have. Focus on something that someone else is struggling with, or find a magazine article about a problem that doesn’t apply to you. Consider ways that you are better off now than you were at other points in your life.

10. Focus.s on thought. Count backwards from 100. If you lose track, start over again. Make a shopping list. Describe the furniture in the room or other objects in front of you.

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“When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly”


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 Post subject: Re: Ideas for Managing Distress in the moment
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:58 pm 
orange is a state of mind
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I also think challenging negative thoughts would also be a good one in this list x

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 Post subject: Responding to Strong Emotion - WAIT
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:43 pm 
galactic orange
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When you’re experiencing strong emotions and want to act on them–WAIT. Being mindful of what you’re thinking and feeling and being mindful of the consequences can help you decide your most effective response. However, when you’re upset it becomes difficult to remember the steps it might be helpful to take in order to begin thinking wisely. This might help guide you:

WAIT

Watch the emotion. Be mindful of your physical experience, what triggered the emotion, your thoughts about the emotions and/or the situation and any urges you have. The emotion may ebb and flow, getting stronger before it gradually decreases in strength. Remember you’re not your emotion. You’re not anger; you’re feeling anger. Step back and observe your experience.

Accept that you’re having an emotion, perhaps one you don’t want to have. Acceptance means letting the emotion pass though and recognizing that you don’t have to act on it. Often no action is necessary. Often our actions are geared towards getting rid of emotions. Resisting or attempting to get rid of emotions will likely make the situation worse. If you rip up the baseball cards, maybe you won’t be so angry. If you eat a quart of ice cream, maybe you won’t be as sad. But the quart of ice cream doesn’t change the situation you’re upset about.

What Information does the emotion give you? Perhaps your anger tells you it’s time to make a change, maybe look for a new job. Or perhaps your anger is a signal to stand up for yourself in an effective way – one that maintains respect for yourself and others. Maybe the information is about lessons you can use for the future. Looking for the information your emotions provide can lead to effective actions that will help you move forward in ways that make your life better.

Take Time to be Thoughtful. Consider what actions would be best, if any. Know that with time the emotions will pass. Most often there is no urgency to act even though that is what you might experience. Sometimes you only need a few minutes to breathe before you can think more clearly. Sometimes there is no action to take.

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 Post subject: Re: Responding to Strong Emotion - WAIT
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:13 pm 
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Kat, this is great - thanks. I know a lot of members are working on this right now. I'm going to move it to what I am going to rename as "emotion regulation and distress tolerance skills" (the DBT/CBT forum) as I think it fits well in that context.

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 Post subject: Re: Responding to Strong Emotion - WAIT
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:57 pm 
orange you prolific
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Thanks for sharing!

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 Post subject: Skills to help Cope with Intense Emotions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:01 am 
galactic orange
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I thought this was a great list of suggestions for dealing with intense emotions:

Quote:
Distraction
Step away from your current emotions
-Go for a walk, bike ride or drive, especially if you’ll see some calming scenery on the way
-Watch a TV show or a movie
-Read something light and/or funny.
-Listen to music. (ie. a play-list specifically for laying listlessly on your bed or one with favourite songs that perk you up.)
-Intellectual pursuits: Immerse yourself in a favourite project. Read about something that you find fascinating. Jump from Wikipedia entry to Wikipedia entry (or trope to trope). Make “logophilia lists” of cool words that you want to commit to memory.
-Organize or decorate your room. Throw out old papers.
-Play an instrument, discover new music online, or sing along to a power ballad. Soundcloud has a bunch of tracks by independent artists for you to listen to (and in some cases, download for free). And tumtaster is great for saving mp3s found on tumblr.
-Plan for (or fantasize about) the future. Think about goals, visions, anything you want to incorporate into your life at some point in the future.

Self-Soothing
Introduce new, pleasant emotions to replace the bad ones
-Take deep, intentional breaths
-Self-groom: shower, shave, floss, style your hair, paint your nails, etc. Doing kind things to your body sends yourself the message that you are lovable and worthy.
-Take a bath. Incorporate as many senses as possible: warm water, nice-smelling oils, music (or just the quiet whooosh of the bath itself), even some strawberries
-Cry. It’s awesome and endorphin-releasing (probably). People generally feel much better after a totally self-indulgent cry.
-Write in a journal. It can be on paper, on a word document, or even on a website like tumblr or dreamwidth. You can publish it or make sure it never sees the light of day. “Free write” about anything that comes to mind. Pay as little attention to the mechanisms of style or coherence as possible.
-Do something that will make your life easier these next few days or weeks. Reply to emails that have been pilling up in your inbox or do your laundry.
-Try these excellent grounding exercises from Pandora’s Project, if applicable.
-Find poetry that speaks to you. Repeat it in your head again and again. Some suggestions: “We are Hard on Each Other” and “You Fit into Me” by Margaret Atwood. Gwendolyn Brooks has some amazing stuff too, as do Richard Siken and Lucille Clifton.
-Do kind things for others. Send nice notes/texts/messages, run an errand for a friend, volunteer to help out in your community.
-Think about what you would say to a friend who was in your position. Would you call them worthless or broken? Would you tell them that they should go ahead with destructive behaviour or that things will never get better for them? Probably not. It can be easier to show kindness and love to a hypothetical person than to yourself. Think about what you would want for someone else in your situation. Then do that.

Buy Yourself More Time:
While major problems rarely work themselves out on their own, acute feelings of crisis often do. Taking “time off” from dealing with a stressful situation or making a potentially self-destructive decision will often help you calm down.

-Give yourself a time-frame. For example, if you’re too angry/paranoid to think clearly you can say “I won’t make any decisions about this relationship today.” This also works well with suicidal ideation: “all I’m going to ask of myself right now is that I make it through tonight.”
-Go to sleep (really!). It’s possiblen for person to go to sleep angry, despondent, or even suicidal and wake up feeling fine.
-If a situation is really triggering some bad things for you, step away from it if at all possible. Ask for an extension on the paper, step out of the room, turn off the computer, etc.Some situations require immediate action, but whenever it’s possible, taking a few days to get some perspective and regain stability can be great.

Interpersonal “Grounding:”
For many people, dysphoric episodes are triggered or made worse by being alone. Making contact with other people can be a huge help.
-Reach out to a friend, partner or family member
-Post to forums you use asking people to send you messages. You can specify if you don’t have the energy to respond or if you don’t want people to ask what’s wrong/offer advice.
-If you want to vent or get validation about something specific, you can post a request on a forum you use saying “can someone who has experienced [thing] email me?” It can be good to talk to one or two people who know what you’re going through.
-Call a suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255 in the US) or use crisischat online.
-Participate in some kind of forum or IRC chat that’s relevant to one of your interests
-Simulate interpersonal interactions. Write letters, re-read old IM conversations—even watching a TV show with characters you’re familiar with or reading an advice column can make you feel better.

Long-Term Strategies:
-Do away with sources of significant stress or upsetment. Be they a toxic relationship, an overly-demanding job, a triggering volunteer project, something you haven’t come to accept about yourself, or even your location, external factors can often make your experiences of “intense, episodic dysphoria” much worse and much more frequent. If you’re finding that some things about your life now are triggering these feelings often, it can be very helpful for you to cut back on them or get rid of them entirely, if you’re able.
-Take care of your health as best you can. Physical discomfort often magnifies mental distress, so the more you can do to feel good in your body, the better. Some things to try include exercising regularly, keeping a steady sleep schedule, and finding/taking the right medication(/s).
-Set realistic, flexible, and constructive goals. Before you do this, take an inventory of the goals and self-promises you’ve made before. What worked? What was terrible? What do you want to accomplish, and how can you lovingly hold yourself accountable for accomplishing it? Sometimes a person's most motivating goals are process-focused and not results-focused. ie.“my goal is to work on this paper for at least twenty minutes a day” instead of “my goal is to get an A.” Working on your goals can be a source of self-esteem and consistency. It’s a way of being your own ally and feeling the control you have over your own actions and life. These goals should make you feel better, not worse. Avoid the temptation to “punish” yourself for falling short at all costs. AT ALL COSTS.


DBT Skills Series

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“When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly”


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 Post subject: Re: Skills to help Cope with Intense Emotions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:05 am 
orange is a state of mind
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I have utilised the singing one here, I found it really distracting :D

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 Post subject: Re: Skills to help Cope with Intense Emotions
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:29 am 
orange is a state of mind

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This is great, thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Skills to help Cope with Intense Emotions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:48 pm 
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I've got a great new distraction mechanism....candy crush... It's addictive but not harmful.. Unless you do it whilst driving or something but that would be stupid so yeah it's great. And I'm stuck on level 30 :evil:

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 Post subject: Re: Skills to help Cope with Intense Emotions
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:32 am 
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^^^ Haha, I was stuck on 30 for a long time, Lou. I have to share with you a statistic about Candy Crush just because I find it so fascinating, maybe as a human nature thing...
The makers of that game/app put out some numbers a couple of weeks ago. And this is why I WISH I had invented this kind of game!!!

Every day they EARN $600,000.00 per day. That's per DAY from people who 'just want to finish that level so they can move up, so they buy a few more moves to try to get to the end."

And every day so far about 6 million people sign up to play the game, which as you know is free to download...

I WISH I had developed and marketed that game!!

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 Post subject: Re: Skills to help Cope with Intense Emotions
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:16 pm 
orange you prolific
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I needed to see this... I'm doing better but it's always good to have reminders. 2

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(((hugs))),

Kelly

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My cats think I'm perfect just the way I am!

Your feelings will not kill you, engaging in disordered behaviors could.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”


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 Post subject: Re: Skills to help Cope with Intense Emotions
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:07 pm 
orange is a state of mind
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komich wrote:
I needed to see this... I'm doing better but it's always good to have reminders. 2
I'm glad to hear that darlin x

I often do this one, when I can't face talking to someone face to face
-Simulate interpersonal interactions. Write letters, re-read old IM conversations—even watching a TV show with characters you’re familiar with or reading an advice column can make you feel better.
-Simulate interpersonal interactions. Write letters, re-read old IM conversations—even watching a TV show with characters you’re familiar with or reading an advice column can make you feel better.

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Life is what you make it :)


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 Post subject: Re: Skills to help Cope with Intense Emotions
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:50 pm 
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I wish I would have looked here earlier. Kind of needed this today. This is a great list. Has anyone ever used EFT to help with coping with intense emotions. I've done it in counseling and also with help of youtube videos it's really helped me calm down.

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 Post subject: Re: Skills to help Cope with Intense Emotions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:03 am 
orange you prolific
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I do the "go to sleep" one a lot. I did that before I even realized what I was doing. If I'm having a pissy day and if I have time I will often lie down, nap, and then restart my day. It's like pressing the restart button.

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(((hugs))),

Kelly

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My cats think I'm perfect just the way I am!

Your feelings will not kill you, engaging in disordered behaviors could.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”


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 Post subject: Two Essential Self-Calming Skills
PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:33 pm 
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Quote:
Two Essential Self-Calming Skills
By Becki A. Hein
November 9, 2009

You’re worried about money. You’re afraid you’ll catch the flu. You can’t sleep because you can’t stop fretting: about your children, your family, your job, or lack thereof, or the state of the world—government, terrorists, the stock market, pollution, etc.

Feel overwhelmed? Anxious? Then it’s time to hop back into the driver’s seat of your own mind, take control, and calm yourself. Have you noticed that all your worries, no matter what you’re worried about, are about something that hasn’t happened? Anxiety is about the future, which exists only in your brain. When you feel anxious, you fantasize the worst about some imaginary event and fear it. From a logical standpoint, that doesn’t make sense. Sure—some of the things you worry about may happen, but you use valuable energy to fear them, energy that could be better spent planning, preparing, or paying attention to what’s going on around you in the present moment.

When you catch yourself creating scary stories about the future, bring yourself back to the present moment. The easiest and best way to do this is to bring your attention and awareness to your breathing. When you worry, you either breath shallowly or hold your breath. Exhale as much air as you can. That makes extra space in your lungs so when you inhale again you can take in a deep, conscious breath. As you breathe in and out, slowly and deeply, pay close attention to the physical sensations of breathing: the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen, the temperature of the air you breathe in and out, the sound of your breath. Paying attention to your breathing connects you back to your body, which is firmly planted in the present moment. You may have other unpleasant physical sensations associated with the anxiety, so visualize your breath going to those areas of your body as you breathe. In your mind’s eye, see your breath washing over those areas like a wave of water, cleansing and cool. It’s nearly impossible to focus intently on your breathing and think of scary things at the same time. Conscious breathing from your diaphragm is an important skill to have when you need to ground yourself back into the present moment. That brings us to the second thing you need to do when you’re stuck in the future with frightening thoughts. Ground yourself and your energy.

What does it mean to be grounded? You’ve probably felt the experience of being in the zone, centered, on solid ground, or focused in your thinking. This is what being grounded is like. We use phrases such as air-headed, up in the clouds, or flying off the handle, to describe how it feels to be ungrounded. When anxious, you tighten your diaphragm in order to hold your breath or breathe shallowly. When your diaphragm is tight, your emotional energy gets trapped in your upper body and intensifies the feelings of panic and racing thoughts. The energy has nowhere to go but back into your head, making it difficult to think clearly. You are ungrounded. In order to ground your energy you need get the energy flowing through your whole body again, down past your diaphragm, through your legs and feet, into the ground.

Start the grounding process with the breathing described above. Next, if you are standing, put both feet flat on the ground. When you inhale, lower your body several inches, flexing at the knees. Then, as you exhale, straighten your body by pressing down firmly with the bottoms of your feet. Imagine as you exhale that your feet are doing all the work, lifting you, and that your breath is a stream flowing all the way through your body, through your legs and feet and into the ground, connecting you firmly to the earth. Do this for two or three minutes. If you are sitting, use the same breathing technique, and, with both feet flat on the ground, press the balls of your feet down firmly and your hips into the back of the chair with each exhale. Let up slightly on the pressure with each inhale. Repeat this technique for several minutes.

This is only one of many grounding techniques. It’s easy, portable, and if you practice it frequently, you can become adept at grounding your energy and calming yourself during anxious moments. By using conscious breathing and grounding techniques, you can pull yourself out of your scary future thoughts and return to the only time that exists, the present moment.

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