This has been a good week. I am feeling more 'me' again. Its not that the black cloud has gone away, its just I feel like I am better able to cope with the next storm life throws at me. Almost like I am prepared to fight now, posed and ready with my armor of skills and SELF-COMPASSION.
I returned to a meditation class on Tuesday and Thursday evening and it was simply wonderful. It was inspiring to listen to others stories of how meditation helps them in their daily lives. The inner peace they radiate really is infectious. I truly get the importance of MINDFULNESS in DBT this week.
When emotions wreak havoc, it helps to “get it out” — ranting to a therapist, friend or partner, or writing about your feelings in a diary, or blog like this one. Sitting down on a cushion to meditate is seemingly the polar opposite of this catharsis. But could it be that the two approaches are helpful for similar reasons?
Talking or writing about your feelings forces you to call them something. And one technique taught in mindfulness is naming your emotions. It’s part of noticing and detaching from those emotions vs. letting them hijack your bliss. I like to imagine it as 'the mindfulness wedge.” It’s about developing that pause button,' so you can observe emotions from the outside.
The main focus of DBT for me is gaining control over my emotions and it is now known that simply labeling my emotion promotes detachment, providing a stop-gap and the opportunity to choose of a healthier coping mechanism.
It’s very challenging to bring what you practice on the meditation cushion out in a real-life situation, when you’re actually in that moment — say someone is yelling at you — you have to remember to step back, say, ‘Oh, that’s anger I’m feeling,' and change what you do with that emotion, all in a millisecond. It takes a lot of practice. To help with this, I try to extend my meditation to everyday activities like going for a walk, having a shower, or drinking my morning coffee.
Often when you feel something, you don’t acknowledge it, and by avoiding that feeling, you perpetuate greater pain. Meditation helps me realize that I create my own feelings. If I’m in a state of frustration and I stop and observe it, I realize there’s another way to deal with the pain. Acceptance is key to dealing with distress, and it is without a doubt the hardest part of mt therapy, but each journey starts with a single step right!