IMPROVE the moment

Today what I feel like would be would super helpful to help you through the rest of your week is a DBT skill!!!
I went back through my binder and God picked a skill that He wanted me to share about.

For those who don’t know, DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. DBT provides you with skills to help you get your intensity level from a 10 down to a manageable level so you are able to work through the trigger. For example, when I am at school and a teacher assigns a huge homework assignment. The homework assignment being assigned would be the trigger. The urge would be me wanting to cut myself. What DBT does is helps me calm down so the urge to cut isn’t taking over my whole body. I am able to use one of the skills to calm down and figure out how to handle the trigger. Once I am calm I can start to brainstorm how I am going to get this homework assignment done.

The skill God wanted me to share with you is called “IMPROVE”. This skill comes from the Distress Tolerance Skills portion of DBT. There is also an Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness and Core Mindfulness portion of DBT Skills.
The IMPROVE skills helps you to improve the moment you are in. Each letter in IMPROVE stands for something that you can do to help you.
I = Imagery
M = Meaning
P = Prayer
R = Relaxation
O = One things in the moment
V = brief Vacation
E = Encouragement

With Imagery:
The whole point of imagery is to imagine something relaxing. Something that actually worked for me with the skill is when you are stressed or triggered you imagine a secret room within yourself, seeing how it is decorated. Go into the room whenever you feel very triggered. Close the door on anything that can hurt you. Imagine everything going well. Imagine coping well. The point of imagery is to make a happy place. Allow yourself to go to your happy place.

With meaning:
Find or create some purpose, meaning or value in the pain.
This one can be very hard. I feel like there’s a reason for everything. It took me a long time to find some purpose or meaning in the sexual abuse I went through. In the end what I learned is first and for most I need to be careful with my boundaries with men. I need to have my eyes more open to warning signs. I learned that I can’t trust everyone. I learned I need to be way more careful with how I live my life. I never asked him to abuse me. I did participate to an extent but it was messed up. It can be really hard to find any purpose or meaning from something that was so awful, but I feel like when you are able to, you actually find some freedom. Another example would be my EX. It was a hard one but one of the biggest things that I take out of that relationship is that going through all the stuff with my EX made me the women I am today.
If this is a hard one to wrap your mind around, start small with your memory’s of pain. Start with the time you weren’t invited to sit with everyone at the lunch table instead of your story of sexual abuse.

With prayer:
Prayer in general really helps and brings freedom. Sometimes in the moments of extreme stress all we can do is pray. All we can do is give everything that is before us to God. It’s not our burden to carry, its His.
Let go, Let God

With relaxation:
Try muscle relaxing by tensing and relaxing each large muscle group starting with your hands and arms, going to the top of your head, and then working down. Take a hot bath, drink something hot, massage your neck and scalp, your calves and feet. Breathe deeply, half-smile. Whatever helps you relax. What ever your go to way to relax is try that.
I have had to learn a lot of ways to relax that can fit into all parts of my day. Some times I only have two minutes to relax so I have to find something kind of instant.

With One thing in the moment:
Focus you entire attention on just what you are doing right now. Keep yourself in the very moment you are in; put your mind in the present. Focus your entire attention on physical sensations that accompany non-mental tasks (e.g. walking, doing dishes, cleaning). Be aware of how your body moves during each task.
Letting go of your thoughts and focus what your body is doing at every moment. You can get really lost and forget what caused you to be so upset.

With a brief Vacation:
Give yourself a brief Vacation. Get into bed and pull the covers up over your head for 20 minutes. Go for a drive. Take a blanket to the park and sit on the blanket for the afternoon.
You want to be careful that this doesn’t turn into procrastination. It is okay to take a break from life and just get away from it all. It is okay to be done and need some time to recharge. Just make sure the recharge time isn’t taking away from priorities in your life.

With encouragement:
Repeat over and over “I can stand it. It wont last forever. I can do this. This to shall pass.” Sometimes its mind over matter. Just telling yourself you can do it and then forcing yourself to actually do it. I know you can do it, sometimes its just convincing yourself that you can do it.

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