Have you ever felt emotionally stuck? Have people been frustrated with you because you couldn’t change the way you looked at something? How often do you react to common situations with anger or blow ups? Do you eat to try to feel better? Do you find it impossible to control your emotions? Do you lean on substances to distract you? Do you “beat yourself up” mentally each time you feel you’ve failed to live up to your expectations?
Don’t give up! It may feel like you’re condemned to live out your life in never-ending cycles of overwhelming thoughts, followed by poor behavioral responses, followed by remorse, but there is a way to break free. These rigid thinking patterns that lead to negative behaviors can be rerouted to become something positive.
One of the first steps is changing common negative thoughts with positive ones. If you often think “anger is bad and therefore I’m not a good person because I’m angry,” you might want to try looking more objectively at anger as just one of many emotions that everyone feels that is neither good nor bad. Tell yourself instead, “I feel angry but it’s ok because it’s just a feeling and it does not define me.”
Find a Turning Point
At Wellness Treatment Center in Englewood, CO, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is one part of our intensive outpatient program that can offer you an alternative to being enslaved to your emotions. We’ve seen remarkable changes in people that have empowered them to live life in a completely different way.
The key to success is maintaining a collaborative relationship with your therapist and personal support team. Having a base of support is going to help you as you work through the program and transition back into your community.
You Are Stronger Than You Think
Actually, you have talents and strengths that are uniquely your own. A starting place in gaining freedom over emotions is identifying and recognizing those strengths. Replacing negative self-talk with a positive focus on your strengths can go a long way in helping you feel strong enough to confront the difficult issues you face each day.
The 4 Components of DBT
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has four basic skills. Mastering these four skills takes time, positive reinforcement and a support team. But once they become second nature, you can enjoy having an arsenal of learned coping skills to use whenever you need them.
- Mindfulness – as in the example of anger above, this skill teaches you to look more objectively at emotions, to classify them, and to make good choices about how you will handle them. No longer will you be tied to a knee-jerk reaction to each situation.
- Emotion regulation – by building skills to identify and properly respond to emotions, you can insulate yourself from the effects of being overpowered by them. As you gain successes in this area, you can enjoy a heightened sense of enjoyment from life.
- Interpersonal effectiveness – this skill might take you by surprise, but it is a key component of DBT practices. If you’ve ever had trouble saying “no,” or if you’ve wondered how to act in certain social situations, this skill can help you navigate the murky waters of relationships like a pro. Your self-respect and your relationships can both remain intact when you learn how to be effective in interacting with others.
- Distress tolerance – when that familiar feeling of overwhelming powerlessness takes hold, this skill can come in handy. Practicing crisis survival skills will increase your ability to tolerate high levels of emotion. In turn, you may feel more empowered and successful, which will help you as you cope with painful situations. This skill teaches you to accept difficult circumstances while understanding that you are not approving of them.
With the help of these four skills and the support you receive from therapy, you can enjoy a freedom from emotions that you may have never known before.