Balancing Doing Mind & Being Mind

DBT Self Help - Letting Go

Mindfulness skills are the foundation of all Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills training. The problems addressed by core mindfulness skills are knowing who you are, where you are going in your life, and the inability to control what goes on in your mind. Mindfulness encourages you to live in the moment by focusing on the present. 

Beyond Emotion Mind, Wise Mind, and Rational Mind, DBT also describes Doing Mind and Being Mind. Doing mind lines up with rational mind and being mind with emotion mind. 

Doing mind is ambitious, goal oriented, and discriminating. In this state of mind you view thoughts as facts and are focused on problem solving. 

Being mind is curious and oriented in the present moment. In this state of mind you view your thoughts as sensations and are focused on the beauty of each moment rather than your goals. 

The synthesis of doing mind and being mind is, of course, wise mind. In wise mind, you both let go of having to achieve your goals while working wholeheartedly to achieve them. Being in wise mind can enhance your awareness while you are participating in activities. 

Ways to Practice Balancing Doing Mind and Being Mind

  • Find quotes or readings that make you want to practice mindfulness in your daily life. Place these quotes in places where you will notice them throughout your day.
  • Set alarms on your phone or watch to randomly remind yourself to be mindful. Apps like Yapp can set these notifications for you.
  • Choose one routine activity that you do everyday during which to practice mindfulness. Focus on the action you’re performing rather than your thoughts. 
  • Use the mantra “just this one moment, just this one task” when you are feeling overwhelmed to remind yourself that you only have to do one thing in this moment. Take it moment by moment. 
  • Notice regular events in your daily life, no matter how small. Notice the feeling of the water on your hands when you wash dishes, the constant sound of the refrigerator, or the taste of your morning coffee for example.
  • When relaxing, stay aware of what needs to be done next while not letting that knowledge overcome you.
  • Practice willingness to do what is needed and immerse yourself in that task.
  • Practice this three-minute wise mind exercise to slow down doing mind
    • Adopt a “wide-awake” posture to bring yourself into the present moment. Ask your wise mind what you’re experiencing, thinking, and feeling in this moment. Say “okay, this is how it is right now.”
    • Settle into wise mind and focus on your breath. Let your breathing anchor you to the present moment.
    • Once you have gathered yourself, expand your awareness to your entire body. When you are ready, resume your activities acting from wise mind in each moment.

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