This article was published on July 22, 2022.
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I heard this great presentation by Dr. Lois Choi-Kain on YouTube and think that you may find the notes I made from her talk helpful. I have organized my notes and created mnemonics—that is all the credit I can claim.
Here is a link to the video: Dr. Lois Choi-Kain Shares Strategies to Successfully Manage Emotions
This video is so densely packed with pearls of wisdom that I listened to it more than once.
Disclaimer: Dr. Choi-Kain has NOT looked at or approved this article and is not responsible for its contents or any errors that it may have.
Lesson 1: Snowballs
Snowball 1: Emotional dysregulation is a snowball
When negative emotion occurs, if we don’t react appropriately, this can:
– Lead to more Strong emotions.
– Make it even harder for us to react appropriately
– Make us more sensitive and more reactive.
It is hard to reverse this snowball effect.
Snowball 2: But, emotional regulation is also a snowball
We can become more and more resilient to stress.
Snowball 3: Sensitivity
Borderline personality disorder can also be thought of as a problem of interpersonal sensitivity. Negative interactions with others can also be a snowball. We become sensitized to these kinds of interactions.
Stop!: The first step in emotional regulation is to stop and not react immediately.
Stillness: Do nothing. Don’t feed into emotional dysregulation, whether you are a patient, family member, or clinician.
Space: to think
Tolerating and accepting what happens.
Stock: Take stock by thinking about what is going on. Recognize that you are snowballing.
Stretched: Recognize how stretched you are.
Signals: When you become irritable, depressed, withdrawn, and so on, these may be signals that you have taken on too much.
Seeing the big picture:
That you may need to do something different
Planning your next move forward.
Start with something achievable. We have to have realistic expectations about our ability to cope with negative emotions. We should acknowledge that this is hard but also realize that it is worth doing.
Self-care: Sleeping enough, eating in a healthy way, moderating use of substances, taking care of physical illness, and feeling a sense of mastery and control.
Structure: in our days
Space: for relationships, for different things we want to do, to think.
Separate: It may be helpful to separate ourselves from the stress by going to a different physical location; for example, going for a walk.
Steadiness: Practice getting a feeling of steadiness.
Stay on track
Stay ahead of the emotional problems.
Lesson 2: Surviving pain with less suffering
“Acceptance of painful realities is the road to surviving pain with less suffering‘
“Shouldn’t be so”
Sources of negative emotions: Sadness may be understandable but if we don’t process what is happening, it gets mixed up with a lot of other emotions and it becomes very difficult to be aware of where those other negative emotions are coming from.
Lesson 3: “Uncertainty is both uncomfortable and essential”
If we accept that we don’t know, this may allow us to learn something new.
We can be more flexible.
Lesson 4: Extremity is reactive and clarity is achieved
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