Hey everybody, today we're going to go over yet another DBT technique. And this is distraction, and how to create a distraction plan. Like I said, Today we're going to talk about distraction and creating a distraction plan. And as always, because this is part of DBT, I'm working from my handy dandy dialectical behavioral therapy workbook.
And I want to read from it for just a second because they talk about why distract? Like, why should we do this is the first place and that's why DBT is so amazing. So they say, think about all the pain you've already been through in your life. Think about all the people who hurt you physically, sexually, emotionally, and verbally.
Does it make sense to continue hurting yourself even more in the present? Does it make more sense to start healing yourself and your wounds? And I think it does, it makes a lot of sense that we don't need to keep hurting ourselves, we should take this time to work on ourselves and heal the wounds that have been created. And so one of the ways to do that is to distract ourselves from self destructive behavior. And they just call it self destructive behavior, because it could be any form of self harm, whether it's actually cutting or burning, or physically hurting ourselves to things that we do to kind of self sabotage. And they talk about some safer actions that you can use. There are tons they have pages and pages these so I encourage all of you to pick this up, because it's so helpful. But some of them we've talked about before like holding an ice cube, snapping a rubber band, taking a red marker and marking on yourself where you'd want to cut. Throwing pillows against the wall as hard as you can screaming into a pillow. write letters to people that you hate, or who hurt you. Cry, dig your nails into your arm without breaking the skin there, the list goes on and on and on. But all of these are alternatives and ways to distract when the urges to self harm get really strong.
The second way to distract is to distract with pleasurable activity.
So the ones I talked about before, are in the moment when you have the urges to self harm, you snap the rubber band, you write on yourself, you squeeze the ice cube, you do those things. But there are so many and this is an even longer list of pleasurable activities you can do to distract yourself and can text a friend, you can go eat your favorite ice cream, you can go to the movie theater, watch television, listen to the radio, watch a football game, go hiking, ride your bike, stretch your muscles, have sex, exercise, organize a party, there are tons of things and they're all very pleasurable sound really nice, like take a nap. And I love to take a nap. These are all ways to distract you in positive ways instead of turning into kind of that self destructive self harm behavior.
And it kind of gets us out of that negative spiral that self harm can pull us into and that's why that's why I love DBT.
The third way to distract is to distract by thinking about someone else. Do something nice for someone else volunteer. Take attention off yourself go to it says go to local store shopping center bookstore Park, you can sit and watch people walk by something that's kind of fun, and there's work for a lot of my clients is I'll tell them to go to a public place and to sit and make up stories about the people that they see. Oh, well, that girl Her name is Susan. She's from Wisconsin, but she moved to LA three years ago. And she's really making it you can make up anything you want.
It just takes your mind out of that negative thought process the where the triggers and the urges to self harm are intense, and it pulls you into a whole nother thing. It can be really fun and really distracting.
The fourth distraction technique is to distract your thoughts. Think about a time in your life when it was the best it's ever been a really fun holiday you had with your family, a vacation you took with your friends that weekend away with your boyfriend, remembering these times and all the happy little details can just take you out of it almost like what I just talked about sitting down and you know, thinking about someone else and making up pretend stories. It takes us out of our head. This instead of focusing on someone else just puts our attention into our own imagination, like pretending you're a superhero, what would your superpowers be? What would you do? I have imagining your wildest fantasies coming true. Or keep a great quote or mantra with you and you can pull that out and read it to yourself too.
Those are great in the moment when it's really hard to have the time to kind of spaced out for a while while you think about these things.
Having a mantra you say over and over could be a quick easy thing that you can pull from your memory and do without anybody knowing that you're doing it. The fifth distraction technique is to distract by leaving. I tell this to my clients all the time. If you have a lot of self harm tools around You in your home, and urges are getting really bad, get out of the house leave. If it's a bad situation, and someone is really causing you a lot of emotional disturbance, and you're feeling the triggers to self harm getting worse and worse, get out of there, I gotta go, oh my gosh, I forgot to feed my cat, oh, I have to wash my hair again, oh, my friend is supposed to come over, I totally forgot.
You can make up any excuses get out of there, there's no reason to have to stay in a harmful situation, whether even by yourself or with if you're with others. And by ourselves, I honestly find to be more more of a struggle for my clients. And so getting out of the house going to a populated area like I was talking about before and focusing on someone else can be a great distraction tool.
The sixth and final distraction tool is to distract with chores. I know a lot of you are like, but I hate chores. But it's a great way to pass the time to get your mind off of things.
You can mow the lawn, you can clean your bedroom, you can organize your closet, you can get rid of things and donate them to Goodwill, you can do all sorts of goodies, they have a whole list, Polish your shoes, polish your jewelry, clean the garage, wash the laundry, there are so many things that we can do, whether we want to do them or not, you could be a weird organizational freak like me, and you actually like doing that stuff. But it's not, it's still, no matter if you have people around. If you can't leave, if you don't drive yet, and you can't get out of the house. That's a nice way to distract when you're stuck at home.
So now we have all these distraction tools, all six options and a bunch of options under that. Now what do we do, we have to make our distraction plan.
And the best way that we can do that is to go through some items. Think of things that may work for you. We're going to it's a trial and error basis. But we're doing our best, right, we're going to create the best distraction plan that we can now and then we're going to find out what works and doesn't. And if it doesn't, we cross it out and we replace it with a new one.
Now, I would encourage all of you go get a three by five card, write down one from each category, at least there might be more that we can do in the moment. Keep that card with you all the time, put it in your wallet, put it in your purse, make sure you have it with you all the time. It could have your monitor on it. It could have ways to distract and things to think about. So to fantasize about what that person's doing or just pretend you're a superhero. All sorts of clues and tricks to help you distract in the moment. Now go put it together. What are you waiting for? Make sure you carry it with you all the time because we never know what will trigger us in my right.
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