Mindfulness is this trendy word that is now being thrown around in every day conversation. We may see it mentioned on TV, on social media, or in school curriculums.
Last week in DBT, we talked about the "what" skills in mindfulness: observe, describe and participate.
But how do you really work on this?
Well, the "how" is what was covered in DBT group this week.
The how skills are literally how you observe, describe and participate by using these three skills: don't judge, stay focused and do what works.
Let's start with don't judge.
Sounds simple, right? But really, judgements are constantly flooding our minds so it is not an easy task to just "shut off". It takes practice.
Oftentimes, we are quick to label our thoughts as "good or bad". With this skill we attempt to take the label out of our thoughts and just notice what they are, without judgements.
For example, instead of "my teen is being irrational", we may think, "I feel upset when my teen walks away before I finish talking".
This shift in perspective can be a challenge, but there are three helpful tips to help us with replacing our judgements.
These tips including: noticing our judgements, counting them, and restating these judgements in a factual way.
Noticing our judgements helps us to be aware they are evening happening. Noticing them helps us to then catch the judgement to then replace it.
Counting our judgements can be a helpful way for us to grasp how often and or frequent we have judgements.
Lastly, reframing our judgements to be factual statements helps us observe what really happened and takes the labels out of the picture.
The next "how" skill is staying focused or "one-mindfully".
This concept is about slowing down, staying focused on one thing at a time and to stop multitasking.
This one is a tough one. Theres no getting around it. We are constantly doing multiple things at a time: cooking dinner, washing dishes, listening to the news, helping our teen with homework, prepping tomorrow's lunches and responding to work emails.
But when our minds and bodies are pulled in multiple directions at once, it is difficult to be truly present and responsive in the moment.
Our minds go into overdrive and this ultimately creates more stress and clouds our awareness to the present.
The last "how skill" is do what works or "effectiveness" .
This skill emphasizes the importance of acting skillfully to get to your end result. This may mean putting emotions aside so that they do not control your behaviors.
For instance, this may mean letting go of a negative emotion in order to help your child with a task.
By letting go of that negative emotion, we may be able to better help our teen in the situation so we are not carrying over the negative energy into that interaction.
These skills take practice and patience. Theres no "quick fix".
These skills take time, effort and practice to become a part of our routines. But remember, we can join with our teen and become a team to master these skills together.