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Session

1

Goping with
emotions
Stop and Step Back

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Take a Breath

W

Observe

Pull tsack: Put in some
Perspective

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Fractice what works

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Don't act immediately, Pause.

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ffake a tsreath

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Notice your'breath as you breathe in and out.

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Sbserve
What am I thinking and feeling?
What are the words that my mind is saying?
Is this fact or opinion? Helpful or unhelpful?
Where is my focus of attention?
What metaphor could I use? (mountain, tunnel, playground bully,
thought train, beach ball, passengers on the bus)

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Pu[t Back: trut

im s@rrle Fen"spectIve

See the situatlon as an outside observer.

Wlat would a fly on the wall

see?

Is there another way of looking at it? What's'the helicopter view'?
What would someone else see and make of it?
What advice would I give to someone else?
What meaning am I giving this event for me to react in this way?
How important is it right now, and will it be important in 6 months?
Is my reaction in proportion to the actual event?

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Practlce what worlrc
Do what works, what is most helpful.
Play to your Principles and Values.
Will it be effective and appropriate?
Is it in proportion to the event?
Is it in keeping with my values and principles?
What will be the consequences of my action?

What is best for me and most helpful for this situation?

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Adapted from Ciarrochi & Eailey 2OOB (1)

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Life is a series of breaths, Breathing is vital, essential, and more important than
any other body function. You can go without food for weeks, go without water for
days, but you cannot go without breathing for more than a few minutes.
Therefore, it is important to learn to be aware of our breathing, to brealhe
mindfully.

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our breath is with us always. Normally, our lungs absorb oxygen from the air,
and it is transported around the body in our blood to keep the cells alive and to
keep all our body functions working.

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When we're distressed, the body's alarm system activates the adrenaline response. This causes
us to breathe fast and shallow, We use our chest muscles instead of the diaphragm, causing us
to experience unpleasant physical sensations.

Mindful breathing is simply a calm, non-judging awareness, allowing thoughts and feelings to
come and go without getting caught up in them.

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Thoughts will come into your mind, and that is okay, because that's just what the human
mind does. Simply notice those thoughts, then bring your attention back to your
breath i ng.

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Likewise, you uan notice sounds, physical feelings, and emotions, and again, just bring
your attention back to your breathing.

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You do not have to follow those thoughts or feelings, nor judge yourself for having them,
nor analyse them in any way. It is okay for the thoughts to be there. Just notice those
thoughts, and let them drift on by, bringing your attention back to your breathing.

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Whenever you notice that your attention has drifted off and is becoming caught up in
thoughts or feelings, simply note that the attention has drifted, and then gengy bring the
attention back to your breathing.

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Imagine that you have a balloon in your tummy. Every time you breathe in, the balloon
Each time you breathe out, the balloon deflates. Notice the sensations in your
abdomen as the balloon inflates and deflates. Your abdomen rising with the in-breath,
and falling with the out-breath.

inflates.

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Sit comfortably, with your eyes closed and your spine reasonably straight.
Bring your attention to your breathing,

It is okay and natural for thoughts to enter your awareness, and for your attention to follow
them. No matter how many times this happens, just keep bringing your attention back to your
breathing.

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a focers fo,r'a;tteffif{ora a.nd reduces dJsfressing physicaX

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Session 2
Coping with
emotions

EMOTION NEGULATICIN HAfrIDOI'T 3
(Emotion Regulaiion lVorksheets 2*2c', pp. ZlS-27B\

What Hrnotlons Do for You

EMOT|ONIS MOTIVATE (AND OHGAN|ZE) US FOR ACTTON

Emotions motivate our behavior. Emotions prepare us for action.
The action urge of specific emotions is often "hard-wired,'in biology.
Emotions save time in getting us to act in important situations.
Emotions can be especially important when we don't have time to think things through.

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Strong emotions help us overcome obstacles-in our minds and in the environment.
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EMOTTONS COMMUNTCATE TO (AND TNFLUENCE) OTHERS

Facial expressions are hard-wired aspects of emotions.
Facial expressions communicate faster than words.
Our body language and voice tone can also be hard-wired.
Like it or not, they also communicate our emotions to others.

when it is important io communicate to others, or send them a rnessage,
it can be very hard to change our emotions.

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Whether we intend it or not, our communication of emotions influences others.

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EMOTIONS COMMUNICATE TO OURSELVES

o Emotional reactions can give us important information about a situation.

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Emotions can be signals or alarms that something is happening.

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Gut feelings can be like intuition-a response to something important about the situation.
This can be helpful if our emotions get us to check out the facts.

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o Caution: Sometimes we treat emotions as if they are facts about the world: The stronger
the emotion, the stronger our belief that the emotion is based on fact. (Examples: ',lf I feel
unsure, I am incompetent," "lf I get lonely when left alone, I shouldn't be left alone," "lf I feel
confident about something, it is right," "lf l'm afraid, there must be danger," "l love him, so

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he must be OK.")

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lf we assume that our emotions represent facts about the world, we may use them to justify
our thoughts or our acttons. This can be trouble if our emotions get us to ignore the facts.

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:
From DBirSkr/is kaning Handouts and Wa*sheets. Second Edr?ion. by Marsha M. Linehan.
Copyright 20I5 by Marsha kl. Linehan. permission
lo photocopy or download ancj print this handout is granted to purchasers of this bookloi personal use or tor use with clients.

210

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During times of stress we can be affected by powerful
emotions, Our strong emotions reinforce our opinions, which in
turn, intensify our emotions and generate a powerful response.
This can lead to impulsive actions which result in unhelpful
longer term conseguences and this maintains the vicious cycle.

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EMOTIOI\l

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If we are having a poweful or extreme emotional response to
something, it can be helpful to ask ourselves whether what we
are thinking is FACT or OPINION.

OPIilIOru

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Evidence to support its truth
Undisputed

Driven by rational thought (head)

.

Based upon a belief or personal view

Varies according to individuals'
knowledge, experience, culture, belief
systems etc
Driven by and reinforced by emotion

(heart)

,

Individuals can have many varied opinions about the same event or situation, If someone we
know walked past us without saying hello, we might think, "they deliberately ignored me", "She's
being snooty and rude" "They didn't want to talk to me because they don't like me" and so on.
This might lead us to feel upset, and react in ways that are unhelpful.
The only fact is that the person walked past; anything else is opinion, our own personal
interpretation of the event. The reality may be that they did not see us.
Realising that many thoughts are-opinion rather than fact makes it less likely that we will be
distressed by them, and more able to make wise and calm decisions about the best action to

take.

"
"

[f it is a fact, then we can make choices about what we can or cannot do.
If it is an opinion, we can recognise that our opinion is based on emotion. We can then
look at the facts

- what we do know

about the situation.

when you notice yourself getting emotional, ask yourself: Am I reacting to

a

FACT oT OPINION?
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Marsha Linehan (2) described the concept of \ilise Mind as the balanced part of
us that comprises our inner knowledge and intuition, This is the part of our

mind where thoughts driven by distressing emotions and more rational
thoughts come together. It is the part of our mind we'know'as an inner
truth, opinions are driven by emotion mind, Reasonable mind is better able
to see the facts. Asking ourselves what 'wise mind' might make of this
situation will help us to stand back and see the bigger picture. This will help
us to respond in more helpful and effective ways,

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on factual evidence. What would be more
interpretations of events. What went through my reasonable and rational? What am I thinking I should
mind? What disturbed me? What is it that is making do? What advice would I give to a friend, or what would
me feel this way? What am I reacting to? What's a caring friend say to me? Is this really as important as
the worst thing about that, or the worst thing that it seems? What evidence is there about what I think is
could happen? What do I want to do or to happen? likely to happen? I've felt this way before and I've got
Based on and driven by our opinions and personal

Based

What am I feeling?

through it.

Ulflse Milrrd
STOPP! Take a breath. What does Wise Mind make of thts? What's the bigger picture? What will the
consequences of my reaction be? (short and long term) What is the best response to this situation for me and
for others and the situation? What will be most helpful and effective, all things considered?

M.d;itu

lww:ll]l#lu$Gir,li

J;iM*trOM!:

itl#qilt*krdr#@M&.

Appendix

1

HOMEWORK SHEET
Skill?

Write the name of the skill to be practiced

Read the handout, and if you can, discuss

When?

When did you use this

skill?

What happened, what you did,

it with another person

Day, time, where, who was there

in what way

ReSults? How using the skill affected You - your thoughts, feelings,

Review

behaviours.

Could you have done something differently?
What, how? What will b-e different next tlme?

What will help you remember to use this skill?

@ Michelle Ayres &

CarolVivyan. The Decider 2011


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