DBT mindfulness skills are the base for all other skills. Being aware of our body sensations, emotions and thoughts helps us respond instead of react. Mindfulness also helps us understand where our behaviors and triggers are coming from. Mindfulness is all about living in the present moment instead of the past or future. There are three skills to follow when being mindful using DBT.
Focusing on one thing at a time. With technology being so easily accessible, it's easy to get caught multitasking. Watching tv while studying, being on our phones during social events, etc. Meditating is a great way to focus and be aware of yourself without distractions. The next time you're doing a task like eating, cooking, listening to music, studying, talking to someone, try to be completely in-the-moment.
The goal of this skill is to view yourself, others and events non-judgmentally. We are conditioned to be judgmentally with society's expectations and the pressure to succeed. Whether it's how much money you're making at work or comparing yourself to others on social media. In DBT, emotions and thoughts are neither good nor bad. They just are. By letting go of these judgments we are able to be kinder to ourselves, others and make decisions with a clear mind. Practice noticing yourself judging and then practicing a non-judgmental stance.
Being effective is about doing what works. This involves letting go of the need to be "right." For example, if you're driving and someone cuts you off. Instead of yelling out the window and flipping them off, let it go. Take some deep breaths and put on some calming music. Because it's more effective to let it go than giving in and becoming angry. Getting revenge might feel good in the short term, but can cause guilt later on. I ask myself every day, all day, if what I'm doing is effective. Ask yourself the following questions when making a decision or feeling an intense emotion:
- Does this action benefit me? Right now or in the future?
- What are the consequences if I act on this?
- How can I deal with this effectively?
- Is this emotion working for me? What emotion do I want to feel?
- Am I acting from emotion/rational mind or wise mind?