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Thanks, Sunny

Posted by Dinah on August 14, 2009, at 20:25:46

In reply to Distress Tolerance - Improve the Moment, posted by sunnydays on August 13, 2009, at 22:22:47

> with Imagery
> Imagine very relaxing scenes. Imagine a secret room within yourself, seeing how it is decorated. Go into the room whenever you feel threatened. Close the door on anything that can hurt you. Imagine everything going well. Imagine coping well. Make up a fantasy world that is calming and beautiful and let your mind go with it. Imagine hurtful emotions draining out of you like water out of a pipe.

I used to be great at imagining, but I think I lost that ability. I'd like to get it back. I do like to imagine myself working through a project before I do it, or imagine myself finishing a project midway through. But that isn't distress tolerance, it's performance related.

My therapist had me do an imagery tape of walking through the forest once. I was supposed to imagine everything as it really was, but I was a bit too realistic and it wasn't as relaxing as it could have been. Maybe I could try it again when I'm doing it for myself, and the imp of rebellion inside won't subvert the experience.

> with Meaning
> Find or create some purpose, meaning, or value in the pain. Remember, listen to, or read about spiritual values. Focus on whatever positive aspects of a painful situation you can find. Repeat them over and over in your mind. Make lemonade out of lemons.

I am lousy at this. I know it's helpful for so many, but when a situation stinks, I like to be able to feel rotten about it. Trying to find something good in it would annoy me senseless. But that's just me.

> with Prayer
> Open your heart to a supreme being, greater wisdom, God, your own wise mind. Ask for strength to bear the pain in this moment. Turn things over to God or a higher being.

I think I do this, but not verbally. I'm not good with spoken prayer, but prayer of the spirit is very important to me.

> with Relaxation
> Try muscle relaxing by tensing and relaxing each large muscle group, starting with your hands and arms, going to the top of your head, and then working down. Listen to a relaxation tape, exercise hard, take a hot bath or sit in a hot tub, drink hot milk, massage your neck and scalp, your calves and feet. Get in a tub filled with very cold or hot water and stay in it until the water is tepid. Breathe deeply, half smile, change facial expressions.

I do a lot of these, I think. My husband gives a fabulous massage. Hot milk, no. But I do plenty of things in the spirit of relaxation.

> with One thing in the moment
> Focus your entire attention on just what you are doing right now. Keep yourself in the very moment you are in, put your mind in the present. Focus your entire attention on physical sensations that accompany nonmental tasks (eg, walking, washing, doing dishes, cleaning, fixing). Be aware of how your body moves during each task. Do awareness exercises.

My therapist tells the story of a man who climbed a mountain to sit at the feet of the wise man to gain wisdom. When the man goes inside the wise man's hut to ask if he could be his student, the wise man asks whether he left his walking stick to the left of the door or the right of the door. The would be student didn't remember, and the wise man sent him away because he was not yet ready to learn. I hear this story often, because I am terrible at mindfulness. I'm not even good at multitasking. I'm the absent minded professor sort who can carry on conversations that I can't even remember during the conversation, never mind five minutes later. Awareness is not my strong suit. Working on it has not yet led to much improvement.

> with a Brief Vacation
> Give yourself a brief vacation. Get in bed and pull the covers up over your head for 20 minutes. Rent a motel room at the beach or in the woods for a day or two, drop your towels on the floor after you use them. Ask your roommate to bring you coffee in bed or make you dinner (offer to reciprocate). Get a schlocky magazine or newspaper at the grocery store, get in bed with chocolates, and read it. Make yourself milk toast, bundle up in a chair, and eat it slowly. Take a blanket to the park and sit on it for the whole afternoon. Unplug your phone for a day, or let your answering machine screen your calls. Take a 1-hour breather from hard work that must be done.

I probably do this too much.

> with Encouragement
> Cheerlead yourself. Repeat over and over "I can stand it," "It won't last forever" "I will make it out of this", "I'm doing the best I can do".

Hmmm... I think I can talk sensibly to myself, but I think I'd only annoy myself if I tried to be too cheerleading. It's my inexorable pull to the middle. If I try to say too many positive things to myself, I'll feel compelled to balance them with negative things. I think I'd be better off thinking moderate thoughts.

These seem more designed to keep from getting to the tipping point of meltdown. I wonder what you are supposed to do once you reach that point?




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