The following is a synopsis of a weekly Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group lesson, based on the work of Marsha Linehan out of the University of Washington.
Disclaimer: I LOVE doing this, I think it is desperately needed, and I WANT to do it. However, I have zero time to do it so, while I am committed to giving it my all, I may fall behind or skip a week or two. I apologize in advance for that, and for the fact that I will not be spell checking, fixing formatting, or doing a read through before I post. No offense, but I gotta draw the line somewhere!
Emotion Regulation Skills Module: PLEASE MASTER
As discussed in the last blog, people with BPD are emotionally vulnerable. This does not make them crazy, or stupid, or weak, it is just part of who they are. And because they were likely born that way, we cannot expect that this will change very much. It is very important then, that the emotionally vulnerable person do as much as possible to reduce emotional vulnerability. This is done using the PLEASE MASTER.
Treat PhysicaL Illness: Taking our prescribed medication, getting preventative check ups and procedures done, resting and practicing self care strategies when we are sick, etc., are ways to treat our physical needs. Doing so on a regular basis will make us less emotionally vulnerable.
Eat in a balanced way:: eating from all of the food groups is important for getting our nutritional needs met. Eating regular meals that are at spaced out intervals, 3-6 times per day, without purging, and doing so mindfully, are important habits for overall well being. Paying attention to foods that trigger certain moods or behaviors is also important for emotional stability.
Avoid mood altering chemicals: Drugs and alcohol only exacerbate our problems, rather than minimizing them. When we are intoxicated, we likely have much stronger emotions than we are aware of. When we come down, we have to worry about our body chemistry changing, and having physical or emotional withdrawal from all drugs. In addition, chemicals interfere with the properties of most medications, and may lead to addiction, which will add a lot more problems to our life then we already have.
Sleep in a balanced way: Our society is horribly sleep deprived, in fact, it is the thing most often sacrificed in favor of other things. Most of us need 8 hours of sleep per night, with very little variation in this amount. Youth need a little more, but can get away with staying up all night once in a while, as long as they get caught up on sleep shortly after. Using drugs or alcohol, even over the counter ones, and most prescription sleep aids to get to sleep creates significant long term problems, as these things destroy our sleep architecture. Sleep is a period of restoration of the body and brain, and is absolutely vital to everything else that we do. Mysterious things happen in sleep, and we need quality sleep that is uninterrupted, on a regular basis in order to must benefit. There are many things we can do to improve our sleep rituals, and of course, these habits will take time and patience to establish or break.
Exercise regularly: Over or under exercise is also problematic to our mood states. Our society is very screwed up with this as well, shaming those who don’t exercise and praising over-exercise for many of us. Getting our heart rate up for about 20 minutes every day is a great guideline for moderate exercise. Alternatively, we may be better with doing this 3-5 times per week, and doing light stretching or muscle training on alternate days. Those who have eating disorders have to be extra cautions not to overdo exercise, and may not be able to do structured exercise at all.
Master one thing a day: Do something every day to help you feel competent and in control. this is really important for self validation, and for challenging ourselves to move forward with our goals. Like all the other categories, this doesn’t have to be a big accomplishment, but any small achievement that we give ourselves credit for will help stabilize our mood, and often, doing the smallest things are extremely difficult during symptom flare ups.