How to feel grounded in a crazy world

I’ve struggled a lot with my mental health over the years. After struggling for a really long time in my late teens and early 20s, I’ve now been on the same prescription cocktail for several years now. My longest lasting relationship is my therapist and I would probably never leave the east coast because of her. I struggled for years trying to find “a magic pill” to make my minor problems (which seemed like huge emotional hurtles) go away. I then found Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and I found a logical way of dealing with my illogical problems without making myself feel invalidated or “crazy.” 

In times like these, when things seem so out of control and crazy, I like to fall back on some basic DBT skills to cope with all the insanity. These are very difficult times for everyone right now, but especially hard for people of color and people affected by covid-19. Using these skills may help you feel more grounded. Please read this link for more detailed information, but below is my interpretation of the essential DBT skills. 

  1. Mindfulness
    • Mindfulness is essentially living in the moment. Don’t worry about what could happen in the future, just focus on how you can help yourself in the next 5 minuets.  
  2. Distress Tolerance
    • DBT has a “Do What Works” policy for distress tolerance (obviously without harming yourself). Let it out, scream, cry, smash something! Your emotions are temporary and you will get past this. 
  3. Interpersonal Effectiveness
    • One of my favorite worksheets from this section is called “D.E.A.R. M.A.N.” and it’s about how to ask for things you need in a way that will get you what you want. 
  4. Emotional Regulation 
    • This is the hardest. This skill focuses on regulating your internal emotions by learning where they come from, validating that they are a real emotion coming from a real place, and then learning to get past it and let that feeling go. 

More reading on DBT:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy on Psychology Today , Mind Well NYC, Overview of DBT on Psych Central