One of the cornerstones of DBT skills is reducing vulnerability to the emotional mind and ultimately improving regulation to prioritize positive emotions. The ABC PLEASE skill is designed to help you bolster emotional resilience so that you can bounce back from negative emotions more quickly and completely. Give these a try in your day to day life to build your own protective barrier for when things go awry.
A: Accumulating positive experiences. We gather experiences throughout life, and by taking a moment from time to time to pick up a positive experience, you can better keep your mood up and prevent major upset when negative situations present themselves. Make a goal to create short-term and long-term experiences that make a life that you feel is worth living. Then, when disaster strikes, you’ll have a surplus of positive experiences to soften the negative.
B: Building mastery. While we normally think of productivity as something that drains us, we often forget that practice, study and general improvement of skills can make us feel competent and help us effectively stand up against hopelessness and helplessness.
C: Cope ahead. Imagine a situation before it happens so you are prepared to face it head on. By allowing yourself to preemptively cope with the emotions associated with that difficult situation, the real event has less impact and is easier to recover from.
PL: Treat Physical Illness. Our bodies are what carry us from day to day, and when we experience pain or illness, it occupies a significant space in our heads. Making regular doctor visits and addressing our ailments frees up that space.
E: Eat a balanced diet. Calm, balanced emotions start with a calm, balanced body that is satisfied and set to a neutral state. Too much and too little can set us off balance, and it’s up to you to find your sweet spot.
A: Avoid mood altering drugs. Although it can feel good in the short term, most mood altering drugs cause more instability than balance. They can also reduce coping skills in the long term.
S: Sleep. It may sound simple, but a consistent sleep schedule is a major boon to coping and can alleviate the frustrations associated with exhaustion and insomnia. Build a routine around your sleep schedule, and you may find yourself handling things more comfortably.
E: Exercise regularly. It has the power to prevent a variety of different physical ailments and ultimately reduce emotional vulnerability. Physical fitness also reduces stress and allows the body and brain to regulate more effectively.