I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Building Positive Experiences with Miss Mamie

I have been taking a dialectical behavior therapy class for about four months now and I only started to understand some of the principles of the emotional regulation section just a few days ago.  I was sitting in my family's TV room, when I became aware that I wanted a cup of tea.  I imagined how good the hot cup of tea would feel in my hands, and how calming it would be to breath in the scents of lavender and vanilla. Unfortunately, my black and white thinking almost prevented me from enjoying a cup of tea, because I recognized that I was wanting to do an activity that is self-soothing and I was already feeling good.  But then, I had an epiphany-to help my emotions stay regulated, I should do self-soothing activities throughout the day, even if I am already feeling soothed!  In dialectical behavior therapy this is called "building positive experiences."  One of the goals of DBT is to learn how to regulate one's emotions, so that one stays in a positive frame of mind for longer periods of time.  It makes sense then that a way to stay in a positive space is by doing positive and pleasing things on a regular basis.  Doing small activities everyday that will help promote or keep one happy and calm is also called self-care and I encourage everyone to do at least one item of self-care a day.

Here are some simple things that I enjoy doing to help me stay serene:

  • Drinking hot tea or coffee
  • Savoring a sweet treat, like ice cream
  • Taking a long, hot shower or bath
  • Getting a massage
  • Coloring
  • Listening to music
  • Playing the piano
  • Cutting out coupons
  • Making a college
  • Petting my cat or dog
  • Watching a cheesy movie
  • Chopping vegetables

About a year ago, a friend and I were walking around downtown Marietta and we stopped inside a cupcake store, called Miss Mamie's, and we shared two cupcakes.  Little did I know at the time that I was using a DBT skill by creating a pleasurable moment.
Miss Mamie's is a cute bakery with very feminine energy.  I ordered a lemon cupcake, because it was so pretty.
Isn't it gorgeous?  It was light and I loved it, but it didn't have quite as much lemon flavor as I was expecting.  My friend definitely got the better cupcake.
S'mores -
A Chocolate Cupcake with a Marshmallow Filling topped with Chocolate Buttercream, a graham wedge and a hershey bar.  Oh my god, this cupcake was divine!  Just look at that ooey, gooey, goodness!
I liked how the cupcakes were served on little china plates.  They were cheery and made the desert seem special.  For a good time, I recommend eating at Miss Mamie's and I also recommend making a good time, anytime - life's a lot more pleasant that way.

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Action Step: Send Love And Move On

So how do you really stop yourself from comparing yourself to others? Here’s an action step that you can take. When you notice yourself comparing yourself to someone else, stop yourself, and take a moment to just send them and yourself love. Just send them love and send yourself some love and move on. That’s it.  This technique does three important things. First, it stops you from comparing yourself and puts your attention on something else. Second, it acknoweldges an important truth, that we are all one and we all need love. Third, it gives you what you really need, a sense that you are loved and you are okay, no matter how you compare to anyone else.


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