How to Use the DBT Skill of Mindfulness in Your Everyday Life
By Jeanette Lorandini
Sometimes, the skill of mindfulness seems like something that only a Zen master living on a remote mountain hilltop could ever successfully achieve. This mindset gives off a false image that mindfulness in unachievable—but it is.
The dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) skill of mindfulness can be used by anybody, any day, at any time.
However, even if you know some mindfulness skills, it can be hard to know just how to use them best.
The trick is being willing to practice these techniques and to incorporate them into your everyday life.
Here’s how mindfulness DBT exercises can support your mental health.
Focus on One Mindfulness Skill at a Time
First, it helps to keep things simple. There are many mindfulness skills that you can use—deep breathing techniques, meditation, body scanning, etc. However, trying to do all of these at once is overwhelming.
It’s challenging to master one skill if you are trying to tackle all of them at the same time. Instead, it helps to choose only one skill to work on.
For example, breathing techniques are an excellent place to start. Once you feel that you have gained a certain level of competency at a particular skill, move on to the next one.
This approach might seem like a slow process. However, developing DBT mindfulness skills shouldn’t be a rushed process; it’s a lifelong journey.
Use the Skill of Mindfulness on Your Commute
Wait, really?! Again, this approach shatters old myths about what mindfulness ought to be. Often, people think of mindfulness as something you do in a retreat or for long periods.
However, mindfulness is most useful during your everyday life. And who hasn’t spent hours in a traffic jam or stuck crowded into a stuffed train? These are the moments when mindfulness can help you stay present, focused, and calm.
For example, let’s say you’re stuck in traffic. On the one hand, you could feel frustrated about being trapped in your car on the freeway, going nowhere. On the other hand, you could start doing a deep breathing exercise, and soon you feel less stressed and more capable of handling the situation.
Try Mindfulness at Work
The workplace is also where you spend a lot of your time. Yet, it can also be an opportunity for practicing mindfulness, including:
- Staying present while in the elevator
- Doing a walking meditation during lunch to get out of the office and outdoors
- Practicing breathing exercises during a meeting
- Keeping your favorite affirmation or quote at your desk
- Pausing for a moment to express gratitude towards yourself
- Take a quick break between tasks to do a body scan
The other great thing about a mindfulness practice is that you don’t need a lot of time to do it. Just a quick mindfulness break will benefit you tremendously.
Stay Mindful at Home
The home should be a place of sanctuary. It ought to be where you can relax, unwind, and feel the least stressed. But that isn’t always the case in the modern home.
Instead, there are kids to nurture, meals to cook, bills to pay, and the ever-present intrusion of screens and technology. Consider these ideas for implementing mindfulness at home:
- Carve out space in your home that’s just for you; even it’s a corner of a room. Have some cushions, a scented candle, or other materials to help you with your practice.
- Wake up a little earlier than everyone else and enjoy the quiet solitude.
- Get outside. Even if you are in the suburbs or the big city, you can find nature in even the most developed places.
- Have a no-screen time and also a no-screen zone in your home where phones and other devices are not allowed.
The DBT mindfulness skills are all about developing a healthy lifestyle that helps you stay centered and balanced. Even when life tries to tip you over, with mindfulness and dialectical behavioral therapy, you can recover quickly.
Please contact me today to learn more about how to improve your life with mindfulness or visit my page about dialectical behavioral therapy.