Have you ever woken up, brushed your teeth, showered, changed, packed your bag, ate breakfast, and once you leave the house, you cannot remember if you put your homework in your bag? It’s almost like you were on autopilot during your morning routine? Or have you ever noticed that your mind was pulled in a whole bunch of different directions, like to thoughts about the future (e.g., “Finals are going to be so stressful.”) or thoughts about the past (e.g., “I am so embarrassed that I said that!”). These are all very normal occurrences AND they represent moments when we are not being mindful.
Mindfulness is the first skill taught in DBT and the concept refers to focusing on one (and only one!) thing at a time and intentionally paying attention to what is happening right now, without judgment. Mindfulness is also the opposite of being on autopilot. Practicing mindfulness helps increase control of your mind and experience reality as it is. Paying attention to the taste of the toothpaste, the smells around you and the temperature of the air are all examples of being mindful.
The expectation is not for us to all be mindful all of the time, however, it can be helpful to work on building up our “mindfulness muscle” so that we can have more and more mindful moments and can skillfully stay in the present moment. Mindfulness Practice can be practiced at any time and anywhere.
Overview of DBT
DBT is a type of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the 1990s.
Mindfulness is like a muscle that you build over time. And practice helps build your ability to be in the present moment and focus only on one thing.
Walking the Middle Path
One of the goals of DBT is to “walk the middle path.”
Emotion regulation skills focus on understanding emotions, building resilience, and decreasing both vulnerability and suffering through skill use.
Not only do our relationships impact our emotions, our emotions impact our relationships.