Archives for Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Coping Skills

Your Mind is a Gifted Storyteller

Creating interesting stories is a time-honored skill and entertainment for many. A good storyteller can keep the attention of small children as well as antsy, busy businessmen. Unfortunately, your mind is also a great storyteller. Sometimes you may not realize what is truth and what is fiction created by your mind.

Your mind is always creating explanations and possibilities about the world you live in. It will interpret and make assumptions in creating its stories, about the past and the future as well as the present. It rattles on and on and is rarely even close to quiet. Your mind may have a favorite genre--suspense, drama or horror. It may also have favorite themes such as victims, persecutors or helplessness. The mind's stories are about how you see the world.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Acting Opposite to Your Emotion

We often act consistent with how we feel. If you wake up in the morning and you don't feel like talking with people, maybe you don't answer the phone. If you don't feel like going to the grocery store, then you don't go. If you don't feel like networking then you cancel the luncheon. If you don't feel like being kind, you may talk gruffly to your friends and co-workers. Perhaps you even justify your actions, or attempt to, by saying, "I'm just in a bad mood."

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Defining the Life You Want to Live: Relationships

Having friendships and/or family members you feel close to is often a primary part of living the life you want to live and is one of your biggest challenges.  Interactions with others are often the most emotional experiences you have, both in rewarding and painful ways.  If relationships are part of your life worth living, determining how to make this work for you will be important.

Keep Your Priorities in Mind

Relationships are naturally full of ups and downs. There are so many times you will have urges to break off a relationship and to never speak to a person again. In many cases though, that's using avoidance and/or abandonment as a way of responding to a problem. You avoid the immediate pain of hurt and vulnerability but in the long run your relationship is damaged.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Four Ways to Increase Your Interpersonal Skills


Emotionally sensitive people experience more intense emotions that are more easily aroused and that last longer than those who are not emotionally sensitive. You react faster with greater emotional intensity that lasts longer. Your emotional reactions can be triggered by television shows, magazine articles, places that trigger memories, anniversaries and other events.  Interpersonal issues are one of the most challenging areas for you.

With a strong fear and sensitivity to rejection, even routine events such as a friend canceling lunch plans can bring on a tornado of emotions that are difficult to manage. With this difficulty in relationships, so much of life becomes stressful, such as attending classes, dating, participating in friendships, interacting in group activities, having roommates, and working with others. Some of you withdraw and become isolated as a way of avoiding the pain of relationships. Others experience anguish and suffering on a regular basis with little relief. Working on interpersonal skills and ways to manage emotions in relationships can help you reduce the suffering you experience on a daily basis. Improving your interpersonal resiliency and skills is complicated.  Four options for getting started (based on the work of Marsha Linehan, 1993)  include the following:

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Coping Skills

Developing Self-Hatred


Many emotionally sensitive people seem to dislike and even hate themselves. The reasons vary but seem to fall into certain categories: self-blame, negative self-attribution, believing myths, not living values, treating yourself as if you don't matter and experiencing emotional pain.

Self-blame

Many people look for someone to blame when things go wrong and bad things happen. If you burn yourself by spilling a cup of hot coffee, then someone made the coffee too hot or jostled your arm. If you don't finish school, it's because your teachers didn't encourage you.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Identifying Your Thoughts And Your Feelings: Why It Matters

We all have different ways of viewing the world. Some may have a strong sense of smell and their experiences are filtered through aromas and scents. Others may be particularly visual and react primarily to what they see. A bed of flowers elicits calmness while disarray in the home triggers anxiety. The senses of touch, taste, and hearing can also be ways of connecting to the world and affect your experience of events, people,  and situations.

In addition to the senses, your worldview is influenced by the balance between your thoughts and emotions. Many people will look at a puppy and feel love for the puppy.  For some, that love will dominate and they will be filled with longing to take the puppy home. They may do so even though they have no room for another pet. Others may smile and appreciate the puppy, but think of the time and money it takes to care for an animal.

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Coping Skills

Mindfulness in a Noisy, Messy, Cluttered World



 

In his book, Urban Mindfulness: Cultivating Peace, Presence and Purpose in The Middle of It All, Jonathan Kaplan, Ph.D. writes about applying mindfulness to your daily life experiences. His book is divided into sections about where you might practice mindfulness, such as "At Home," "At Play," and "At Work."

Emotionally sensitive people often find noise, crowds, strangers, lack of space or privacy, and clutter dysregulating. Yet all these experiences are often part of life, particularly  in an urban area. Turning to mindfulness may not seem natural as a way to cope in these situations. Kaplan's book offers ways to apply mindfulness to everyday life.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Hints for Practicing New Coping Skills

If you are working on developing new coping skills, you may find that understanding the skills and how they work is much easier than actually using the skills. You may be able to tell someone else about the skill, write out the steps involved, and answer questions about it but find you do not use it in your life. You may find that you keep going back to familiar ways of dealing with emotions and stress, even when those old ways are not good for you in the long run.

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