Crisis Surival Video Part 4

Part Four: Distract Skills -- Thoughts and Sensations


Thoughts
The next letter in "Accepts' is T. And T stands for thoughts. This one is the skill of distracting yourself from a crisis by focusing your mind on thoughts. 

Has anyone ever told you to count to ten when you're angry? The idea is that if you count to ten you won't yell or scream or do something you'll regret. Most of us have been told that at least once. Well, that's this skill. I know it sounds sort of silly and like not really an important skill but it can really work.  It's especially good in some situations. And the situations it's really the very best in is when your emotions are really intense and you're trying to keep yourself still.  In other words you are just trying to keep yourself from doing anything until the crisis passes.

Or you could start naming things.  Like if you're with your boss and he's being really really critical of you. You could be sitting there and in the back of your mind you could just be looking at him counting and naming the various things he has on. You could say, 'Tie, shirt, jacket, hands.'  Just about anything that occupies your mind is good when you are in an overwhelming crisis and you're trying to keep yourself from doing anything else.  You're trying to get your mind busy with something.

Thoughts, thoughts will work.  Sometimes you could use just the same thought over and over.  Because if your mind is empty, what do you think will happen? Crack! The crisis will go right into the middle of your mind. Take it from me, you'll never make it. So, what do you do? You focus your mind on a word. That can be any word.  All depends on what words work for you.

When we work with our clients we sometimes say breath in the word 'wise', breath out the word mind.  'Wise mind'.  What's good about that is you... you're trying to get into a wise mind.  When you're in a crisis the whole idea is to act wisely not unwisely. So you might try that.  Why don't you try it right now while you're listening?  Breath in 'wise'. Breath out 'mind'.

You're going to really want to make the mind go for a long time. Now the idea when you do this is try to become the words. So you want to just throw yourself into the words. You want to try to fill your whole mind, your entire self, up with the words. It's often hard to do at the beginning.  It's hard to keep your mind focused on one thought. If your mind gets distracted, you start thinking about something else, don't worry about it.  The minute you notice it just come back to the thought, or the counting, what you're doing. Just bring your mind back, start over again. 

If you practice this a lot it actually gets better.  You'll get really good at it.


Sensations
The last letter in the word 'Accepts' is S.  And S stands for sensations that will distract the mind. This is a fabulous skill.  It's really helpful if you are in extreme emotional pain or you have physical pain or you're overwhelmed with an urge to do something not in your best interest.
I sometimes tell people I work with, if they're really feeling overwhelmed or they have an urge to do something destructive, try a hot bath. Or, a cold shower.  Another thing people sometimes do especially if they have an intense desire to do something destructive and they don't want to do it but they feel like they're about to lose control, have you ever had that feeling? Like you really want to do something destructive, you really don't want to do something destructive and you're afraid you're losing control, and you're going to do it. Go to the refrigerator and open it up, get a piece of ice, hold it in your hand and keep it in your hand while it melts.

Take it from me, this will distract the mind.  And, it really works. I... I don't exactly know why that works so well - I've been kind of amazed.  I got people doing this and I figured, 'Ok, it was a so-so skill'.  But lots of people have told me it's the most effective thing they do.

What's important is that you distract your mind with the sensation that does not harm you.  The idea here is to make things better not worse.

Those are the Distracting Crisis Survival Skills. You can remember them by just going through A-C-C-E-P-T-S.

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