Saturday, August 11, 2012

Impulsivity & Extreme Thoughts

Slowing Down Impulsiveness

When a question or comment upsets you, wait at least five seconds before responding and repeat “calm down” in your mind several times first.

When you feel a strong impulse, remind yourself that taking action at those times usually results in bad outcomes.Use feelings of regret as helpers.

Carry round a card with the following questions to ask yourself.

  1. How important is doing this action to me?
  2. What will be the physical/emotional consequences (both long & short term)for doing this?
  3. How will I feel tomorrow if I don't give in to my impulse now?
Discuss with your therapist any new, big plans you might have for your life before taking action.
Practice breathing exercises often.

Try to delay the time before you do impulsive behaviour,start with 10-15 minutes resisting the urge (depending on the impulsive activity) and gradually increase the time by using healthy coping skills such as distraction (reading,making a collage,taking a shower,watching a DVD...).By the end hopefully you will give up completely.

Remind yourself why you want to give up this behaviour by carrying the answer to the questions in this post  on a card in your wallet. Bad Coping Skills

Coping Statements
Here are a few,more can be found here Crisis Skills
  • I do not like these urges but they will go away,I have to do my best to wait and distract myself.
  • I want to do something impulsive but I need to remember that it is not something that I need.
  • This is a feeling/urge I do not have to act on it.
  • I will feel good about myself for getting through this instead of regretting my impulsive action(s) and being upset.
Healthier Activities 
 Some people may need excitement in their lives and changing jobs,watching a thriller,completing a degree,entering a marathon...may not be enough.Here is a list of activities which should be done only when appropriate safety precautions & training is complete,they still carry risks but are legal and precautions can be taken.
  • Extreme sports
  • Rock climbing
  • Hot air balloon
  • Skateboarding
  • Scuba-diving
  • Rugby/other adult sports team
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Learning to fly a plane
  • Snowboarding/Skiing
  • Water skiing
  • Car Racing
  • High-Rope Courses

Cooling Down Extreme Thoughts

When you have an extreme  thought, ask yourself how a friend may look at the same issue differently.

 When your thoughts are strong and extreme, ask yourself how you may view the triggering event six months down the road and notice the difference.

Remember that extreme words and phrases such as always, never, can’t stand it, awful, and horrible are almost always inaccurate. Try to find the shades of gray.

Transference Focused Therapy,DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) ,STEPPS(System Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving) and Schema Focused Therapy can help with borderline thinking problems such as splitting,paranoia,dissociation...

A great exercise you can do yourself for extreme thoughts/cognitive distortions can be found here

wikimedia commons

Borderline Personality Disorder For Dummies
By Charles H. Elliott, Laura L. Smith

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