Taking a step back – Self Awareness

Whenever I reach out inward, by taking a step back for a moment, I see things very differently from what I have in the go-go-go mode.

Just sitting in a chair or couch works best for me to do this mental exercise of self awareness. I then stay in a state of curiosity. This helps me slow down to get into a relaxed mode. Believing in myself helps me in this state, whatever the state I’m in. Then I explore how I feel, what thoughts cross my mind and bring in some kindness to myself to stay gentle in the whole self awareness process. I tend to do this at least twice a week at peak stress days as part of self care to check in with myself and know I can slow down to be aware of my reactions.

What this reveals is a beautiful picture of my day and my reactions to the various happenings. This in turn helps me write out my process recordings with my supervisor in an authentic fashion and process any anomalous reactions in my mind with openness and curiosity. I slowly realized in this field that curiosity about myself and my environment along with critical thinking alone will help me bring a better work – life balance.

Thanks for reading my process for self awareness !

Best,

Shrivi

Breaking the myths behind Mindfulness practice for the benefit of Trauma Survivors

1. Don’t need to close your eyes during mindfulness meditation.

2. Don’t need to sit still to do mindfulness meditation.

3. Staying present in the moment non-judgmentally, even while walking, eating or working, is what is truly being mindful.

4. Don’t need to shut off your mind as your brain is always going to be active, especially with a trauma history.

5. Don’t need to focus on your breath. Trauma victims find this especially triggering with unpredictable outcomes.

6. Mindfulness meditation is not for quick turnaround of results.

7. Mindfulness meditation is not for everyone!

Grief and Loss

It is a momentous time of traumatic loss. However close they are, they are missed. The impact they’ve had on everyone’s lives…such emotions wash over that it is hard to put it in words. But sharing the grief emotions with other close friends seems to help. Sharing good memories of the person lost seems to help….Reliving some of the events shared with them seems to help.

 

It is indeed a wide open world with umpteen possibilities….However, a tragic abrupt loss of a person in your life, makes such a drastic impact and makes one realize that life is too short. It’s all about living the moment holistically and even better, mindfully. Rather than worry about the next steps, we can cherish this second in hand. Feeling the breeze on our face….enjoying the smile on our child…while gently allowing the race of life to slow down for savoring THIS moment. That single breath of fresh air, one thought of gratitude for what we have is good so far, the ability to say this is enough for me!… All wrapped up in a moment’s glory…

Savor what you have for it *may* vanish the next second….

 

DBT part 2

Today was all about understanding the dialectics or doing both the acceptance and change of the client’s target (problem) behavior. Unlike CBT, which is focused on change purely, DBT focuses on finding a solution acceptable to both client and therapist that includes both approaches of solving the target behavior called the synthesis.

Then we dived into behavior therapy, specifically operant and classic conditioning. We did understand the positive & negative reinforcement and punishment concepts.

Following this, we did a case specific behavior chain analysis that is essentially a functional analysis of identifying the target behavior, recognizing the precipitating event or the antecedent in general behavior therapy language, in light of that day’s specific vulnerability factors for that client like lack of sleep or hunger etc. It is to be noted that, when identifying the precipitating event, we also want to know what thought & emotion led the client to do the target behavior- the culminating F it moment! These are the key controlling variables we want to track across chain analyses of various events of such critical nature over time. These will show a pattern, that we can then use to reinforce relevant skills that were used during such crises events , as identified as controlling variables. This is a good way to problem solve, is what I understand.

Well that’s it from me on DBT learnings so far ! Enjoy!

Cheers,

Shrivi

DBT part 1

This day has been filled with understanding mindfulness in light of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). I understood the difference between reasonable mind, emotional mind (extremes) and the wise mind that sits at the intersection of these extremes. Wise mind as I understand is to come from a deep sense of knowing the truth! It’s definitely a Zen acceptance concept adapted well in therapy.

I really appreciated the importance given to self-validation to be placed in high priority above other validation strategies used in DBT.

Tomorrow we look at behavior therapy side of things along with details on chain analysis!

See you tomorrow!

Cheers,

Shrivi

Sitting with one’s own emotions

Sitting with my own emotions has been the hardest during recovery. Not knowing the reason behind certain emotions have always been a trigger of their own. But my own words to encourage myself to stay with them helps in a way to take a step back, acknowledge the presence of strong emotions currently, understand that these are present and finally accept them as they are. Acceptance is key in mindfulness. Moreover, self acceptance is crucial. If there is no self-acceptance, there is this new void created expecting it to be possibly filled by others. This becomes a never ending cycle after a few personal storms of our strong emotions, and can possibly lead to depression.

Going along, I realized sitting with my emotions, even while am doing other day to day activities, can be possible on a background thread, being the multitasking individuals that we all are now. It is much different than brewing on “worries”. It is differentiated by focusing on the emotion itself and appreciating its presence. Slowly we may observe that there is an unwinding in ourself, after identifying a triggering event. After this I try to draw a parallel to possible past experiences that come close to this triggering event that caused the strong emotion within. If there are past experiences that come close to this triggering event, then we struck gold! How did we handle that? How did we feel emotionally then? How did we feel physically then? What bodily reactions happened? A quick body scan meditation would help. Taking in these, one step at a time was crucial for me, as steps can be mixed up, especially when multitasking…There are plethora of options on how to move forward after this step of body scan, like personal journaling, one’s usual coping skills, exercise and meditation, and good therapy.

Hope you can sit with this process.

Have a wonderful day ahead!

Best,

Shrivi

 

Cognitive distortions

Cognitive distortions arising from negative core beliefs are something to be deeply analyzed on a daily basis, for the automatic thoughts crossing our minds!

Taking a step back and looking at what just happened in our mind is all it takes to stay present with ourself and really being true to our personality.

Measuring the possibility of our core beliefs to be even slightly incorrect based on the existing evidence shown by the people around us and other environmental factors is very critical!

Here’s to looking closely at our thoughts that sometimes make no sense in hindsight! Lol!

Have a great weekend!

Best,

Srivi