In DBT class we discussed opposite action. When we feel an emotion an action comes with it. For some of us that action is destructive and acting on it reinforces a negative behaviour. For example, whenever I used to get angry I would scream and yell. When I began to use opposite action, instead of yelling I speak calmly but with a firm tone. It is the opposite of what the emotion wants me to do, but I have made a Wise Mind decision to behave in the opposite. This supports my brain in strengthening the pathways that support positive coping.
Today I found out something I wish I hadn’t (it’s not the end of the world, but it’s not what I wanted). I began to mope on the couch, my body feeling slow and heavy and smiling felt like too much effort. I cried a little and got some love from B before he left for work. I had the urge to sit on the couch all day, listening to sad music, watching lame tv and just give into the horrible feeling. I knew though that this was not an option! I decided to use opposite action! I got off the couch, did my hair and makeup, ran an errand and got myself my favourite cold drink at Starbucks.
I started feeling better the moment I left that house and I haven’t gone back down the road of sadness since. If I did though I will show myself compassion because I am allowed to feel upset, I just can’t let it ruin my day and my life.
Opposite action is up there on My Favourite DBT Skills list. I think many of you may already use this skill you just don’t have a name for it.