Mindfulness Exercise to Prepare for Difficult Conversations

To put it simply, boundaries are a way to understand how we relate to ourselves and other people. Individuals can have boundaries that range from rigid, to healthy, to porous, and oftentimes someone’s boundaries can be different depending on the context. For example, someone with healthy boundaries around their time may have rigid emotional boundaries. MyTherapistAid.com offers a comprehensive overview of the characteristics of each boundary type.

Stages of Change and Timelines

These interventions are great for exploring and processing through substance use. Using a metaphor for Stages of Change helps the client conceptualize where they are at in their recovery process, and it helps build trust between the therapist and the client. Using a timeline activity helps the client gain insight into patterns throughout their life so that they can better anticipate triggers and potential needs.

Remembering Important Dates

Remembering Important Dates: Acknowledging the important dates in loved ones’ lives can help you strengthen your relationships by showing them that you care about them. Important dates can include birthdays, anniversaries, difficult milestones, big job interviews, or a medical appointment. There are a lot of different ways to keep track of these dates, and finding a system that works for you can help you stay on top of important dates. Some ideas include using an online or paper calendar, creating reminders on one (or more) of your devices, or post-it notes around your house. It may also be helpful to think about how you want to acknowledge the date (e.g., sending a text, giving a gift, etc).

Navigating Difficult Relationships FAST

he acronym, FAST, comes from dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and it describes how to promote self-respect while navigating challenging relationship situations:

F – Fair, show fairness to yourself and the other person.

A – Apologize and take responsibility only when appropriate.

S – Stick to your values to preserve your sense of integrity

T – Truthful, be truthful and avoid bending the truth (e.g., exaggerating, acting helpless)

For more information, visit https://www.optimumperformanceinstitute.com/dbt-treatment/dbt-fast-skills-explained/

Gratitude During the Holidays

This year, holiday celebrations are likely different than in past years. In addition to acknowledging whatever emotions come up for you during the holidays this year, another helpful thing can be practicing gratitude. A growing body of research has shown that people who engage in gratitude practices (even during the COVID-19 pandemic) have higher wellbeing and vitality than those who do not. To get you started, the following website has a great list of ideas about ways to practice gratitude individually or with loved ones: https://daringtolivefully.com/gratitude-exercises

Creating Balance Meditation

This activity uses getting quiet and posing a question to oneself, “How can I be more balanced?” as well as using the imagery of balancing on a tree branch to create an embodied experience of balance.

Creating a Safe Place at Home

Choose a space in your home to dedicate to safety and calmness. This could be a room, or even a closet, corner, or a spot outside. Fill the space with things that make you feel safe and calm, so that you can take breaks there and feel more grounded. When thinking about things to include, it can be helpful to think about what textures, smells, imagery, sounds, lighting, or tastes help you feel safe, calm, and grounded

Communication

Passive, Aggressive, and Assertive Communication: Most of us use each of these styles of communication throughout our lives and in different relationships in our lives. Assertive communication is characterized by respect, confidence, firmness, fairness, and a relaxed demeanor. Review the table below to learn more about each of these communication styles. Reflect on which situations and which relationships you use each of these communication styles.

Breathing

Our minds and bodies are in constant communication, and our breathing patterns are one example of this. When we feel stressed, we often take shallow, quick breaths from our chest. When we feel safe and relaxed, we take longer, deeper breaths from our stomachs. Experiment with changing your breathing patterns and notice what happens in your body and mind. This can be a great way to manage stress and anxiety.

PLEASE Master

Reducing vulnerability to unpleasant emotions: While all emotions serve a function and have meaning, sometimes it can be helpful to find ways to protect ourselves from “spiraling” and feeling overwhelmed. The following acronym from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is used to help us remember ways to reduce our vulnerability to “spiraling:”