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Trouble Shooting Our Emotions

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Can you see trouble shooting our use of emotion regulation skills as a scientific experiment?

  1. Ask- am I biologically vulnerable? Do I have a physical illness or distress? am I out of balance in sleep, use of drugs or exercise?
  2. Review what you have tried. Have you used skills? Did you follow the instructions?
  3. What is the purpose of your emotion? Is it communicating an important message or influencing others? Is it motivating you to act? Does it validate your beliefs?
  4. Are you putting the time and effort into the skills?
  5. Are you too upset to use complicated skills? Do you need to focus on mindfulness or other distress tolerance skills?
  6. Check your thoughts. Are you judging your emotions- “I shouldn’t feel this way” “There is a right way to feel.” Is a belief keeping you stuck? “I am my emotion.” “I am an angry (sad, anxious etc.) person.”

Try viewing your skill use and experience of emotion as a scientific experiment. Notice how different use of skill impacts your experience of emotion- what makes emotions less intense? What shortens the duration of painful emotions? What brings happiness, joy and other positive emotions?

Categories: DBT, Depression, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, mindfulness, Research
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