You are currently viewing You have to train your mind to be stronger than your emotions or else you’ll lose yourself every time.

You have to train your mind to be stronger than your emotions or else you’ll lose yourself every time.

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Our emotions have the ability to influence everything in our lives. It can be a wonderful thing if balanced with being rational. But when our emotions run unchecked, it can lead to a lot of unexpected problems.

Studies have shown that emotional stress has been linked to not only mental health issues, but physical health problems as well. Poor emotional health can put you at risk for a compromised immune system, heart disease, gastrointestinal distress and all sorts of other issues. But the good news is that researchers are now seeing evidence that when we are in a healthier mental space, we can experience healing effects within our bodies. 

We’ve known how powerful our minds are and how they are connected to our body. We’ve seen it play out with super negative people. Have you ever noticed how negative people tend to suffer from many physical ailments?

We’ve also seen it play out with the Law of Attraction. What we believe about ourselves and the world, we create in our life. We actually manifest it.

So, if we have the ability to directly influence our mental and physical health with our emotions and beliefs, we just need to understand how to temper our emotions with logic.

When I was in my early 20’s, I was seeing a therapist who suggested that I take DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) classes to manage my anxiety and excessive worry. DBT is a type cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on four skills: mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness. I had two classes a week in the evenings. One class was instructional, where we learned the skills. The other was more of a process group where we talked about how we were (or weren’t) implementing the skills we were learning into our lives.

Although DBT was originally intended to help treat borderline personality disorder, it has become widely used to treat all sorts of conditions like anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, PTSD, etc. There has also been a movement in the psychology field for children to learn these skills at a young age, because unfortunately, many people don’t learn these life skills until they are much older.

I highly recommend looking into DBT and researching it yourself to see if it is something that may be helpful for you if you struggle with handling your emotions effectively. 

In a nutshell, here’s a breakdown of what the four components of DBT are:

1.) Mindfulness.

This is probably the most important skill because you learn how to stay in the moment. Feelings of anxiety are about the future and feelings of shame or guilt are usually about the past. So training your mind to stay in the present allows you to better understand what is really going on inside of you in that moment. You learn how to observe or notice these feelings in the present in a non-judgmental way. It allows you to slow things down and get into a good headspace to deal with your emotions effectively.

2.) Emotion Regulation.

These are skills to more effectively navigate your feelings. You learn how to identify your emotions, recognize and reduce your emotional vulnerabilities and implement a behavior change to help regulate your initial emotion. For example, if you feel sad and just want to be alone, one skill you learn is do the opposite action, which would be reaching out to people and attempting connection.

3.) Distress Tolerance.

Distress tolerance skills help you tolerate or survive the crisis that is happening. Here you learn how to effectively distract yourself, how to self-soothe, how to improve the moment by focusing on what you can control and thinking of the pros and cons of a response.

4.) Interpersonal Effectiveness.

This component helps you be more assertive in your relationships, say no when you want to say no, and how to handle conflict while maintaining a healthy relationship. The focus is on three things: your objective (what you want in the interaction), your self-respect (the values and beliefs you want to uphold) and your relationship (the valid needs of others). For example, one of the skills for interpersonal effectiveness in how you interact with others is called “GIVE”:

            G – Be gentle. Treat the other person with respect. Avoid attacks and judgmental statements.

            I – Show interest. Listen to the other person to hear, not to just respond. Don’t interrupt.

            V – Validate. Show through words and actions that you understand the other person’s thoughts, feelings and opinions about the situation.

            E  – Easy manner. Respond with smiling and using a light-hearted, humorous tone.

There is a great resource called the DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheet Workbook that goes into detail on all the skills above. You can find here. It is a great guide for applying DBT but is even more effective when used in a clinical setting.

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