Now that we have Accumulated Positive Emotions, Built Mastery, and Coped Ahead, it is time to put into effect the PLEASE skill! There is no denying that there is a body & mind connection. It’s important to attend to your mental AND physical health to get the best grip on your emotional states. PLEASE breaks down your physical health needs into categories so that you can identify what need improvements, your progress, and what you’re doing great already. Let’s stay in our wise mind today by making healthy choices!
PL – Treat Physical Illness – Make sure you stay on top of any treatments you have for physical issues and take your medications as prescribed. Physical health has a strong tie to mental health and the way that we can handle regulating our emotions.
E – Balance Eating – We all eat some junk food once in a while. It’s not about denying yourself these treats but more about balancing your diet and eating what makes you feel healthy. Check out future posts on mindful eating to learn how to slow yourself down and really enjoy your food. Don’t eat foods that make you feel overly emotional like sugar that could lead to a crash! Really learn how your own body reacts to certain foods. Now I can get a sugar hangover if I have too much soda the night before (welcome to my 30’s!).
A – Avoid Mood-Altering Substances – Avoid drugs and alcohol or use in moderation. Know your limits and how your body reacts to certain substances. Some substances are used for medicinal purposes and it is important to know if they are actually helping or hurting you. This all depends on your own mental and physical chemistry. Some of these medicinal drugs may add to anxiety or depression. It is best to consult a professional and stay in tune with your body and mind.
S – Balance Sleep – Check out my earlier post on sleep hygiene to learn more tips for sleep. Try to get an amount of sleep that is best for you. Keep a consistent sleep and wake cycle everyday. It’s important for our bodies and mind to recharge every night with good quality sleep.
E – Get Exercise – Do a little bit of exercise daily. Take small steps into incorporating exercise into your daily schedule. Try to add more walking into your routine or add in 10 minutes of strength training a day. Hiking and walking outside are definitely two activities I love that provide exercise and an opportunity to enjoy nature.
Here is a cool way to track your ABC PLEASE skills with a fun bingo board:
Leave a comment below on anything you would like to add to PLEASE that has helped you stay well mentally and physically!
Are you anticipating that there could be an issue in the foreseeable future that is causing you anxiety before it has even happened? Do you want to feel more prepared and ready to tackle this challenge?
Learn how to cope ahead of your problems in 5 easy steps!
Describe the situation that may become problematic. What are the facts of the situation? Stay objective in this thinking. What emotions and actions are going to get in the way of using coping skills? Identify those emotions and actions. For example, if you get angry and overwhelmed, you may not be able to use deep breathing techniques.
Decide what coping skills you want to use and the details of these skills. For example, the specific deep breathing technique of “box breathing” will be used for 2 minutes. This is where you can breathe in 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, breathe out 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds.
Imagine what the situation will be that you need to cope with. Paint a detailed picture in your mind of what you could be dealing with. Use your 5 senses to imagine what it could be like. Pretend and visualize that you are experiencing this situation in the present moment.
Rehearse how you will use your coping skills in your mind in detail. How will you act, think, and say? What can you do to cope if new problems arise in the situation. What is the worst case scenario and how can you cope with that?
Relax after rehearsing. What do you do for self-care? Check out my self-care post for some ideas. Can you practice mindfulness techniques and distraction from distressing emotions? My previous grounding techniques post offers some suggestions on how to focus on the present moment to bring relaxation.
Now you are ready to face any difficult situation face on. You’ve imagined the worst case scenario and how you would cope with it. Now the foreseeable event doesn’t seem so daunting!
What are some situations that you would like to cope ahead with? Comment below!
Building Mastery is our “B” in the ABC Skill. This step happens after we have accumulated our positive emotions and before we cope ahead. Once we have worked on some projects and figured out what we like to do, we can start to become more skilled in it to build confidence and increase our self-esteem.
Pick one thing to do everyday that will help you to feel accomplished. This could be cooking one meal, doing a hobby for 30 minutes, cleaning for 10 minutes, walking for 15 minutes, etc. Set a small but achievable goal that you can definitely fit into your schedule.
2. Do not set yourself up for not accomplishing your goal. Do something that is reasonable. You aren’t going to be the master of your hobbies in one day! I love to knit and I know that my projects are never going to come out perfect. I usually drop at least 3 stitches on the way to finishing a scarf but I know that it is made with a lot of love!
3. Starting with an easy task, increase the difficulty slowly until you feel like you are beginning to master the task. Add some challenge to feel that sense of accomplishment.
For more information on how to set small and achievable goals, check out my SMART Goals post!
In a past post, we learned about the difference between the emotional, rational, and wise minds. The emotional mind can overwhelm our thoughts and decision making. This can make it more difficult to align our actions with our values. Our rational minds can lead us to become more robotic with our thinking and lead to us stuffing down our emotions. To create a wise mind, the intersection between emotions and rationality, we can use the ABC skill! Let’s start with the “A”!
A – Accumulate Positive Emotions
This skill is about engaging in healthy activities that make you feel happy. Personally, I love to knit. The clacking of the needles and repetition of knitting make me feel calm and in the present moment. I try not to focus on the finished product and rather the calming feeling I have while just knitting and relaxing on my couch.
Now, give it a try and give your full attention to these pleasant activities to build positive emotions in the present moment. Do not focus on when the activity could end and if you are doing it perfectly. Create the possibility that positive events will happen in the future. Practice the Opposite to Emotion Action skill to work against what is holding you back like anxious thoughts while you are engaging in these enjoyable activities. For example, you may feel anxious that your project isn’t coming out perfectly so practicing the opposite of anxiety would be to distract yourself from those thoughts by putting your full focus on the project.
Here are some examples of Pleasant Activities to try daily (10 out of 225 examples from the DBT Skills Training book):
Listening to Music
Having a quiet evening
Going on a walk
Doing a craft
Playing a sport
Now let’s consider the long-term and stop avoiding what we can do to create a fulfilling life. Discover what values are most important to you and find one value that you would like to improve now.
What are some goals that you can set to improve that value and pick one goal to work on?
What are some small action steps to use to work towards that goal and pick one to take now?