Some of the things in the handouts from Dr. H that I’m reading are skills for dealing with situations of stress.
The first is to just observe. Observe the experience you are having without interacting with it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? As an emotional person, I can tell you that it is one of the most difficult things to ask of yourself-to be somewhat detached, but without being cold. To observe is to just be aware of what is happening to you and around you.
The next is to describe. To put words to the experience. To state a fact about what you are feeling. To acknowledge it. Then you put it into words. Simply state to yourself what is going on. You do this without getting all caught up in it.
After you have done the observe and describe, then you may participate. To quote the handout: “Become one with your experience, completely forgetting yourself.” When you allow yourself to participate, do only what is necessary, don’t over or under do it. Be as Goldilocks to the situation.
I am to practice changing harmful situations, changing my harmful reactions to situations and (the hardest of all) accepting myself and the situation as they are. That’s asking a lot, seeing as how I don’t accept myself as I am. I look at myself and I see a lot of room for improvement. I see a lot that needs to be changed about me. I look at myself and I am disappointed.
Over the last few years, I have done nothing but disappoint myself and let myself down time after time. I recently found pictures of myself that I took about 8 years ago. I weigh at least 20 pounds more than I did at that time. And that’s all I see. I don’t see the fact and triumph of the 50 pounds I have lost to date. I only see my failure to continue losing weight. I only see that I have, once again, gotten in my own way in life. I am holding myself back from being what I think I should be right now.
The skills in the handout continue with how to actually deal with the experiences and the situations. You have to be non-judgmental about it. That seems like a practical impossibility in this day and age. We are brought up to be judgmental of ourselves and others. You have to separate your opinions from the fact. Also extremely difficult as so many people view their opinions as fact. You have to acknowledge what is helpful and what is harmful without actually judging it.
“Do one thing at a time.” Don’t multitask. Multitasking means you are not actually paying attention to what you are doing. It may sound very simple to just do one thing at a time. Heck, my ideas of relaxing usually involve doing two things at a time. I’m either walking or otherwise working out AND listening to music, or I’m eating and reading a book, or eating and watching tv.
You have to do things effectively. You have to focus your attention and your efforts on what actually works. Don’t use words like fair/unfair, right/wrong, should/should not. You have to treat the situation as it needs to be treated. Don’t treat it or approach it as if it were the situation you WISH you were in. You must keep your eye on the objective, letting go of vengeance, useless anger, and righteousness. These things only hurt you and don’t work. They are not effective.