There’s no question: the last few years have been challenging. We’ve experienced the worst global pandemic in modern history. We’ve seen empty store shelves and lived under the threat of a worldwide recession. We’ve faced soaring inflation at home and the outbreak of brutal warfare abroad.
It’s a lot to deal with. It’s enough to make even the most grounded person feel anxious and overwhelmed. And that can take a tremendous toll on your physical health, your emotional well-being, and even your job performance.
But there is an answer, though it may come from a seemingly unlikely source. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) isn’t just a treatment applied by trained therapies from behind the closed doors of a counselor’s office. It’s not only a technique to be reserved for times of acute emotional distress or psychological crisis.
It is a set of skills that anyone can learn; a set of skills that can be applied to most every aspect of life, from dealing with difficult emotions to enhancing your relationships and work life. We’ll show you how.
At its core, the purpose of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is simple but powerful. DBT enables practitioners to become more conscious of both their thoughts and their emotions and to learn to process these thoughts and feelings in healthy and more productive ways.
The efficacy of DBT derives from the fact that we humans are driven and shaped by narrative and, in particular, by the inner monologues that crowd our minds every moment of every day. Often, however, we are scarcely aware of this inner monologue, hardly cognizant of what we are saying to ourselves in the quietest corners of our minds.
And yet this self-talk shapes how we perceive the world, the people around us, and ourselves. When this self-talk is negative, it can lead to depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, a loss of motivation, and a deterioration of functioning, whether at home or at work.
DBT was originally developed to help practitioners recognize, challenge, and replace these negative inner monologues with more affirming, realistic, and beneficial ones. Often, this is done in dialogue with a therapist or counselor, but it can also be done independently, such as through the use of thought journals, meditation, and related mindfulness tools.
Far and away one of the most effective DBT techniques is meditation. Meditation allows practitioners to quiet their minds and, consequently, to silence the inner monologue with its often negative self-talk. There are a variety of techniques used in meditation, from rhythmic breathing to chanting to guided imagery. What each technique has in common, though, is the centrality of restoring calm and clarity to body, mind, and spirit.
This is essential for regulating emotions, particularly in times of crisis or intense stress. As you learn to get quiet and still, you will become better able to identify precisely what it is that is causing you distress. You will learn to hear the inner voice that may have become so toxic to your physical and mental well-being.
And because the act of meditation has helped you to find your emotional center, to regain your calm, you can determine, rationally, how to respond to these negative thoughts and emotions. This is because meditation helps to increase the practitioner’s distress tolerance, their ability to recognize, endure, and respond in a healthy way to life’s inevitable stressors.
In other words, you’re no longer going to be driven from pillar to post by thoughts and feelings you neither understand nor control. You will know your own mind and how to channel it in a productive and affirming way.
Learning to be more mindful through practices such as daily meditation helps you take charge of your emotions and enhance your overall well-being. But these aren’t the only benefits. Changing your daily routine to include such DBT-based techniques can also help you be more effective at work.
For instance, meditation and mindfulness are designed to clarify your perspective, helping you to better understand your wants, your needs, and your fears. This is essential if you’re seeking to set, and achieve, actionable goals in your career. Simply put, if you want to thrive in your work life, you need a clear vision of success and a workable strategy for achieving it. That includes the ability to recognize and challenge the negative thoughts and perceptions that may be standing in your way.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) deploys ancient techniques to achieve modern excellence. Founded upon the premise that our inner monologues shape how we live and move through the world, how we see ourselves and others, DBT is designed to empower practitioners. The goal, ultimately, is to help practitioners become more conscious and more mindful. In doing so, they gain the calm confidence they need to be healthy, happy, and successful in their personal and professional lives alike.
About the Author
Miles Oliver is an independent writer with a background in business and a passion for tech, psychology, news, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.