Oh boy. The holidays are here.
You are not sure whether you have been anticipating this moment all year, or dreading it.
Or maybe a bit of both.
Nevertheless, here they are again – upon us for yet another season, and once again before we are ready for them to come. So now the question becomes not “where can I hide?” but rather “what am I going to do differently this year?”
That is what we are going to discuss in this month’s blog series “Turning Holiday Woes into Holiday Wonders.”
For our series, you have been my inspiration, because each one of the woes I have selected is one I have heard you share with me in private session year after year, right around this time.
You have told me that sometimes it feels simply impossible to locate the fine line between treating yourself to holiday goodies and maintaining your physical health and nutrition.
And you have confided that you sometimes – often – find it incredibly difficult to release a whole past year’s worth of errors and triumphs only to discover an entirely new, sparkling fresh year sweeping down on you before you have had any time to prepare for its arrival.
So this month, we will examine strategies to turn each of these woes into wonders, one week at a time. To do this, we will revisit one of my favorite therapeutic approaches for recovery and life – Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT for short.
DBT is a wonderful pathway to effective daily living authored by Dr. Marsha Linehan. The focus and goal of DBT work is to stay centered, present, open, and willing to do our best in every moment.
The teaching tools that DBT uses include mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. Each tool builds upon and integrates with the others, and when used together can produce a centered, balanced, present-focused approach to daily life during the holidays and at every moment of the year.
So before we begin our “woes to wonders” adventure together, let’s just take a quick review of each of the four key DBT tools we will be using:
- Mindfulness training equips us to take back control over our mind’s thoughts and our reactions to those thoughts
- Emotion Regulation teaches us to name and experience our emotions without allowing them to overtake us
- Distress Tolerance cultivates our ability to stay present and focused for each moment of our lives regardless of what the day may bring
- Interpersonal Effectiveness helps us to develop assertiveness skills to ask for what we want and need in safe, healthy, and affirming ways
It is easy to see how each of these tools becomes particularly essential during the heightened energy and emotion the holiday season ushers in. During the next few weeks, we will look at how to apply each of these skills to transform a traditional holiday woe into a true source of delight and wonder.
If you are finding that you are struggling this holiday season to find the wonder in the midst of the woes, Southlake Counseling can help. Our compassionate and skilled staff has more than two decades of experience with guiding individuals in how to effectively use the DBT principles of mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. Learn more by visiting us at www.southlakecounseling.com.
Be Well – and happy holidays!