Mindfulness: the Major Mood-Lifter

by Jade S

MINDFULNESS.  The big topic.  Thank you to Doctor Cheryl Rezek for finally forcing me to bring this up.  I'm not sure I completely understand it yet, nor am I capable of it all the time.  It is difficult to define something so abstract, but I must overcome my fears of my inadequacies and write about the biggest benefit I have found in my toolbox of recovery tools for Borderline and other problems.  I admit, I have been neglectful by not mentioning it sooner. 

I give Marsha Linehan the credit for my first in-depth understanding of what "mindfulness" is, although I had in fact been practicing it for years in the form of prayer.  We all have our ways to be mindful, I believe, and some people find spirituality an influential aspect of their mindfulness abilities and skills.  You see, being mindful is a skill, and once refined, it can stop BPD right in its tracks (sometimes). 

Marsha Linehan, in her Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Text, describes minfulness skills first, and there is an important reason for this.  I believe as her book descirbes, that mindfulness is the rock that the rest of recovery from BPD is built upon.  Mindfulness, awareness, concentration (sometimes concentration on nothing, which I will talk about in later blogs), thought, and vigilance are some ways to describe mindfulness.  Some of us are very vigilant from our anxiety problems already so we may be a step ahead! smiley  It is paying attention to our thoughts, our feelings, our body language, our heart rate, our levels of anxiety or depression or happiness or sadness, in a detached, objective way.  This is completely separate from disassociation, which can be an unhealthy behavior. 

I participated in a depression group once that used the image of a stop sign.  It is stopping immediately in your tracks, and taking inventory of yourself and the state you are in.  Marsha Linehan compares it closely with Zen Buddhism, which is why I have found a pocket-size copy of the Dhammapada to be very helpful to read when I need to calm down and be mindful. 

There are many ways to learn mindfulness skills, just on the internet.  You can look up meditation skills, practices, etc. which will often teach you ways of using your breath and your body and mind to gain control over your thoughts which, as borderlines know, can be all over the place. 

I don't want to make this blog too long, so keep reading! There will be much more on mindfulness skills to come!

Comments

Hi Jade

This is a fascinating post. I have a friend with BPD and I have come across Mindfulness as a concept in group sessions where people have highly recommended it. I'm a very anxious, panicky, hypervigilant person. I'm a workaholic and I don't do downtime or relaxation. I'm constantly planning my next article, or next meeting, or a new blog, and I really am looking forward very much to your future posts about Mindfulness, which sounds like an amazing tool.

I really hope you are feeling much less depressed and much better soon.  All the best,

Ian

You've hit the ball out the park! Incerdbile!
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