DBT OC Blog
Lights are twinkling, candles are glowing, and spicy aromas are in the air! The holiday season is upon us, and with that hygge! Hygge is a word that represents "a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment" (Wikipedia). Forbes Magazine (March 2020) rates Denmark and Norway as two of the Top Twenty Happiest Countries in the World. There is a strong likelihood that this can be attributed to the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hue-gah). The cultural practice of hygge is a lifestyle that attributes a specific level of mindfulness to mental and physical well-being. DBT skills are integral to the practices of hygge due to the level of mindfulness and intentionality they convey.
Posted by Dr. Michele Lob PsyD., MFT, CEDS in DBT Skills
On March 15th, 2020, DBT Center of Orange County closed its physical workspace. By making a rapid pivot to a virtual platform in our best efforts to keep clients and staff safe, the hope was that the progression of COVID-19 would be relatively short-lived. Now over nine months in and no definitive end in sight, we are wearing masks, socially-distancing, canceling travel plans, losing jobs and the ability to pay our bills, zooming into celebrations of graduations, marriages, birthdays, home-schooling our kiddos, and so much more. The emotional and physical grind is taking a significant toll on our mental health.
As a New Year begins, it seems that many of us look forward to this time to recommit to diet and exercise plans, set new goals, and change behaviors. How many of us make these ‘vows’ at the beginning of every year, only to face self-doubt, self-judgment, and disillusionment when we fail to measure up to the changes we want to make? Or, the changes we feel others want us to make?
During the month of Mental Health Awareness in May 2019, BetterHelp will be donating $50 to one of 20 different mental health organizations on behalf of anyone with a website that is willing to publish original content on their website that discusses a mental health & wellness topic. We at DBTOC wanted to increase awareness of mental health and support one of these amazing organizations for all that they do! An important mental health concern today is the rise of suicide in the United States. Suicide is now a leading cause of death (CDC, 2018). Rates have increased significantly since 1999. Many problems can contribute to suicide including challenges with one’s mental health, relationships, or physical health, and job, money, legal, or housing stress.
I recently returned from a Mindfulness training on the outskirts of Zion National Park in southwestern Utah. Being surrounded each day by the craggy, monolithic peaks, aware of over 250 million years of history woven into the fabric of sandstone striations, a thought emerged that we are both fragile and warriors simultaneously.
“I thought having kids would be easier. I thought we’d have kids who would grow up, make friends, go to school, fall in love, get married and live their lives…you know? I thought they’d be happy. But it didn’t turn out that way.” And so goes the lament of every parent who raised children that didn’t turn out the way they thought they would. Whether their child is on drugs, flunked out of school, can’t keep a job, engages in high-risk, scary behaviors, tells the parent they hate them, takes money from mom and dad but seems to exhibit little personal responsibility, is disconnected from the family or just doesn’t seem to be growing up and leading their own life, parents today are more flustered by raising children than ever before.
My Daily Skimm reminded me that it is Stress Awareness Month. Skimm writers shared wonderful ways to manage burnout and even highlighted the benefits of meditation! In our fast-paced environments, it is very important to be mindful of ourselves, our needs and to better manage the stress we face. In our day-to-day lives, it is easy to disregard the “normal” stress we feel from our jobs or school, traffic, relationships, finances and more. We push through in “survival mode” until we feel burned out, exhausted and often resentful. DBT has an entire module called Distress Tolerance to better manage stress and tolerate painful events, urges, and emotions. Mindfulness is another module in DBT, which provides the foundation for all of the other DBT skills. Mindfulness creates awareness of ourselves and our environment around us and returns our focus to the present moment.
Mindfulness is the foundation of all of the DBT skills. As we practice mindfulness, we intentionally bring ourselves into the present moment and notice what is in the here-and-now. These skills are especially helpful to notice our emotions, sensations, thoughts and needs. Mindful eating can help reduce disordered eating and increase balanced, healthy practices. However, reducing disordered eating does not stop here. We must develop mindful habits around our eating behaviors as well. It is important to pay attention to our habits and our automatic response to internal cues and our environment.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” – Carl Rogers In my DBT practice, I come across many couples who feel that they are in joyless and unfulfilling marriages. Conversations in my office may revolve around complaints about lack of intimacy, ‘falling out of love’; not enough change, poor understanding of the others’ needs, and/or the other doing deliberate acts to cause marital conflict and continued unhappiness. The joy of thinking that they have found ‘The One’ is replaced by questions like, “What was I thinking?”, “I should have known better” and “Why did I marry you?”.