Mindfulness has become a trendy topic. That’s ironic when you consider the concept has been around since, well… forever. We human beings, with these big brains of ours, can get lost dwelling on the past or dreading the future.

Mindfulness is the practice of returning your focus to the present. In a world of ever-increasing distractions, this can be difficult.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an effective and proven type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. DBT uses strategies like acceptance and emotional regulation. It also helps people rediscover the realm of mindfulness. To follow are some basics and some tips!

5 DBT Mindfulness Skills

1. Observe

It sounds simple but pro tip: It requires you to look up from your phone. Pay attention, become aware, and take notice.

2. Describe

Once you’re aware of what’s happening around you, there’s a new challenge. Can you describe what you see, hear, sense, touch, and feel?

3. Participate

This is the epitome of staying present. No matter what you’re doing, give it your full attention. And only do one thing at a time. Aim to stay fully focused on that single task.

4. Accept

Turn off your devices and practice observing without the need to judge. No likes or shares are necessary.

5. Evolve

Notice when something — big or small — isn’t working. Be ready and willing to try something else instead.

5 Ways to Apply DBT Mindfulness Skills in Your Everyday Life

1. Walking

This can include all the first 5 skills discussed above. Walk around in a state of mindfulness without feeling the need to do more than walk. Observe, describe, and participate — without judgment.

2. Eating

Savor the entire experience for what it truly is. The planning, shopping, cooking, eating, and even the clean-up. Activate your senses of touch, smell, and taste to gain a new and richer experience.

3. Breathing

We rarely stop and appreciate the fact that we are breathing all day long. Here are a couple of exercises to change that:

    • Timed Breathing: Inhale for a predetermined amount of time, say, six seconds. Hold that breath for six seconds. Then take six seconds to fully exhale.
    • Belly Breathing: Lie or sit somewhere with back support. Put both hands on your abdomen and aim all your focus on how your belly expands when you inhale.
    • Deep Breathing: Take long slow inhales throughout your nose. Match that with long slow exhales out through your mouth.

4. Experimenting

Here’s an example of what this might mean: Try living even one hour during which you perform every task with your “off” hand. This could include locking your door, writing a shopping list, scrolling on your phone, and so on. Take note of how focused you must be to be effective.

5. Appreciating

Pick out a favorite movie or song. Commit to re-watching the movie or re-listening to the song as if it were the first time. Challenge yourself to see or hear new aspects of this artwork. Imagine yourself in the study or on the movie set as it is being created.

Connecting With a DBT Therapist

If you’re like most people, the above suggestions sound great but they feel out of reach. After all, who has that kind of focus and patience in the age of smartphones and social media? Short answer: You do. The challenge is getting the guidance you need to reconnect to your mindful self.

Working with an expert in dialectical behavior therapy is a powerful way to enhance your mindfulness skills. DBT helps people find acceptance and gratitude right here in the present. If this sounds alluring to you, reach out today. We can get things started with a free consultation.