We are carrying on today with the teachings of emotional regulation because when you have BPD that is the most important part of any DBT teaching. But this week we will be looking at how the body affects the mind and vice-versa. You see, the body and the mind are not just in the same human shell, they are directly liked with the health of one deeply affecting the other. So an ill mind might make an ill body and an ill body might affect the mind. If you can learn to understand this connection a little more you should be able to gain better control over those all-important emotions…
Don’t worry, this isn’t a talk about being overweight or being a smoker is bad for the body because I myself are both those things. While I am not the best to my own body, what I am is polite to it and I always say P.L.E.A.S.E. This is not just me being polite out loud, it is an acronym you should remember…
PL – This part of the acronym often gets confused and most people feel it is all about losing weight, but that is not true. It is about making sure your physical body is healthy and happy. You can be 30 stone and still be happy and healthy even if it in the short term. Are you happy with your weight regardless of what it is? Then tick this one off your list! Or if you feel you would be happy losing some weight or maybe you need to try and make that your target rather than your own mental health.
E – Sure, we all know that eating healthier is a good thing, but once again if you are happy with yourself tick this check off your list! What one person thinks is eating healthily isn’t what someone else would. The general rule of thumb when it comes to this is to eat anything you wish in moderation. Yes, it’s a fact that you can lose weight and still eat the foods you love. It’s about doing so in moderation with foods you know are good for you as well.
A – While the acronym talks about cutting drugs out of your life you should also consider alcohol, smoking and other stimulates like coffee and tea. Again, do so in moderation and only if you are happy to do so. If taking drugs makes you happy then go ahead, but if you feel they are becoming a problem in your life do try and cut them out of it or at least cut the amount you use them down.
S – Most people already know that there is a direct link between poor sleep patterns and poor mental health. But did you know it is more about the quality of the sleep you get rather than the percentage of it? You can sleep just 4 hours a day and still feel 100% ready to face the day ahead. By simply having a set bedtime and maintaining a steady sleep schedule will solve most peoples issues, but if this doesn’t you should talk to your doctor about it. Yes, sleep really is that important.
E – Relax! This is not about going out for a 10K run, it is about going for a short walk, or whatever you can manage. Just a small amount of exercise in some shape or form can drastically improve your mental health. Play a bit of Pokemon go or something else that gets you out of the house, do whatever you can as this will exercise the mind as well as the body.
While practising these teachings isn’t going to cure your BPD overnight, it will change your mindset in the long term to the point that you might feel much more in control than you currently do. Just do a few of the things above is a good start and if you can’t do any of them still don’t be hard on yourself. No-one ever said making people with BPD feel better is easy, but it is more than possible.
This Week’s Homework: At some time this week I would like you to sit down and do a small jigsaw puzzle. Maybe one that is 50 pieces or more in size. Try and finish it as soon as you can and once the last bit is about to be placed into the puzzle consider how that achievement is making you feel. Those slight waves of satisfaction and enjoyment over the simplest of things. It’s not so much the act of doing the puzzle that your mind and body are finding rewarding, it is the act of being polite to your brain and giving it some time to think and rest.