Happy New Year! As I reflect on the past year I see joyful memories; moments where I was full of gratitude and situations that evoked feelings of anger, anxiety and loss.
Over the past 3 months I have been in an uncomfortable situation. After much reflection, I canceled my engagement to my ex-fiancé, canceled the wedding (yes the invitations were mailed out!) and ended the relationship indefinitely. It was a wise decision and I am at peace. With that said, I wanted to share a DBT skill that helped me to cope. When I was suffering from anorexia and bulimia I would run away from my feelings through restriction, bingeing and purging and over-exercise. In recovery I practice being mindful.
MINDFULNESS OF CURRENT EMOTION
- Experience your emotion – observe your feeling, experience it as a wave coming and going.
- Practice mindfulness of emotional body sensations – notice your body sensations, experience the sensations fully.
- Remember: You are not your emotion – remember times when you felt differently, you do not need to ACT on your emotion
- Don’t judge your emotion – radically accept it as part of you, practice willingness to experience the emotion.
Accepting that I am NOT MY EMOTION and that I don’t need to ACT ON MY EMOTION leads me to freedom. At times when I had the urge to purge I rode the wave of my anxiety instead; when I wanted to skip a meal I rode the wave of feeling uncomfortable.
There was time in my life where this type of life issue would lead to a relapse. The ED thought of “I can just restrict, purge or over-exercise instead of feeling the distress” would take over. In recovery you need to learn to feel and experience the tough emotions. Riding the wave helps to regulate emotions. To live is to feel.
We can recover one day at a time.