Increasing Your Positive Emotions - DBT Skill

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Oftentimes when we are stuck in negative thoughts, especially people who struggle with depression, we don't even realize when we have pleasant moments or we feel we don't deserve them. We are often passive unwilling volunteers in things that can help our well-being. We may be enjoying a movie and discount positive feelings because we are so use to the negative ones of anger, frustration, boredom or sadness.


Taking time to schedule one treat or break for yourself daily can reprogram this. It can also go a long way in preserving your emotional stability. Making sure you experience and notice pleasant moments regularly can also improve your mood overtime and increase feelings of satisfaction in other areas of your life, including work. That's why the ER skill of increasing your positive emotions is focused on incorporating pleasant moments into your life.

What Are Pleasant Moments?


Pleasant moments are any activity that will increase joy and serenity in your life. They are also mental breaks for you to clear your head from the pressures of daily life. Taking a walk around your neighborhood or mediating can be counted as a pleasant moment. Soothing yourself with a nice hot bath is also a good example. Pleasant moments regulate your emotions, which is why they are in the ER category of DBT. They help change up the scenery in your monotonous days and give you just enough serotonin and calming effects to get you through the day. The unfortunate thing is that some people may not think they deserve a pleasant moment until they reach a certain goal in life or until all the work is done. Some people with emotion dysregulation problems also suffer from self-hate and this makes them treat themselves like the naughty kid who doesn't deserve any treats.


How to Have Pleasant Moments



It's really simple for some people to say they are going to take a 15 minute refreshing walk or go to a restaurant they really enjoy at lunch. Also, for some people, that 15 minute walk is the highlight of their day and during that restaurant visit they savored every bite of their favorite thing on the menu. People with depression or EDD however may not remember to plan something nice for themselves, and if they do, that 15 minute walk might feel like a tortuous marathon, and they might not even notice the flavors in the food at the restaurant because they are so focused on the waitress who gave them the evil eye or if their partner will answer their calls.


All this means that people with EDD have problems registering the present moment and acknowledging the good experiences in life. So the first step towards having a pleasant moment is to focus on gratitude. Think about how lovely and peaceful and even rare that moment may be for lots of people. There's billions of people all over the world. Think about how lucky some people may find you. Eating at a restaurant may be run of the mill for you but that's royalty for people in areas that don't even have fresh running water. Taking a walk may seem boring at first, but think of how happy your body is going to be and how you can go outside without fearing for your life. How right now in this very moment you are free to move about as you please. Really dwell on the moment. Feel the freedom move through you.


Can you think of at least three pleasant moment ideas right now? There are in fact endless amounts of "smell the roses"scenarios. Keep reading, we'll give you a bunch to get started!


Can Everyone Experience Pleasant Moments?


Many people may believe they need to have a friend by their sides at all times to experience joy out of life or they need to have the right numbers in the bank account. This just isn't the case. While people can add to our joy of experiencing the fun in life and lavish vacations get a lot of likes on Instagram, there are simple things you can start doing today to get the most out of life. Keep in mind that pleasant moments help you over time so this isn't a quick fix. You might not feel like you got super giddy over journal writing, cooking a yummy meal, or taking yourself to the movies today. But as you keep going and power through you are going to find things that you once thought were boring or that you fell out of love doing fulfilling again.


List of Pleasant Moments


Before I list the pleasant moments, I need to say that some people may confuse bad habits with pleasant moments. Though maladaptive behaviors are typical coping techniques of many people you see around you, leading an unhealthy lifestyle of smoking, binge drinking and eating junk food causes stress on the body and mind. These toxic behaviors actually causes boredom because your body gets use to unnatural high amounts of stimulants. Learning to just be and let the urges for these bad habits pass over you could be important if you really want to reap the benefits of life's simple pleasures in the long run. During a pleasant moment notice the way the activity makes you feel and your thoughts. Below are a list of some things that brighten our day. Note the ones you will try for yourself this week or even today.

  • Sit on a public bench or by a window and practice people watching

  • Watch a family show or comedy

  • Listen to uplifting music

  • Enjoy a bubble bath with some classical music

  • Bake sweet-smelling cakes or cookies

  • Try new recipes and taste your creations

  • Start painting or drawing something

  • Try a new online virtual world or game

  • Drink tea and sit outside

  • Drink tea while reading

  • Look through Pinterest DIYs

  • Window shop

  • Learn a new skill

  • Challenge yourself to complete something with a timer

  • Learn a new religion

  • Talk to a neighbor

  • Talk to family or invite them over for dinner

  • Take candid pictures of strangers

  • Smile at everyone you pass

  • Visit a friend

  • Volunteer at a shelter or vet

  • Donate to the food bank

  • Start a YouTube channel or blog

  • Rearrange your room

  • Make a vision board

  • Play an interactive game online

  • Plan to save for a trip to a place you've never been before

  • Sleep or take a nap

  • Watch whatever's playing at the movies

  • Buy something special for yourself on the internet

  • Get outside even if to just sit on the porch

  • Text some old or new friends

  • Join an online chat group

  • Join a social community group

  • Get a haircut

  • Take up tennis or a social sport

  • Take up a tai chai or dance class

  • Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure

  • Give yourself a facial mask

  • Join an internet dating service

  • Create a podcast

  • Go swimming or jogging to raise your dopamine and release endorphins (natural pain-killers)

  • Make a list of ten celebrities you'd like to hook up with and describe why

  • Make a list of your favorite movies and describe why

  • Dwell on something amazing that happened to you

  • Go to a library

  • Take your laptop to a cafe

  • Take self portraits or photographs of your pet or nature

  • Write a loving letter to yourself

  • Make a rule: every time someone says something nice, write it on a sticky note collection near your bed

  • Look at the positives of a negative circumstance

  • If something bad happened write out all the lessons you've learned from it/and how you plan to make it make you a better person

  • Listen to a positive affirmation audio

  • Listen to a motivational speech

  • Re-read or re-watch your favorite book/movie

  • Write a story about the craziest, funniest, or sexiest thing you've ever experienced

  • Read a love poem as if it's written to you

  • Fantasize about your crush or just touch yourself to sexy music

  • Collect magazines and make a meaningful collage from snippets

  • Planning for a major life goal

  • Visualizing an alternative universe

  • Writing something creative like a poem, song, or a plot for a book

  • Leaving online reviews of things you've purchases or places you've been

  • Researching on a different culture

  • Exercising to upbeat music

  • Playing games on your phone or computer

  • Sing to karaoke music and pretend you're a performer on stage

  • Make journal entries strictly on all the positive experiences you've had

  • Write a sweet friendship-letter to someone you appreciate

  • Visualize a major goal coming through

  • Meditate to a spiritual being or in a place you find inspiring

  • Pray for someone you love and/or yourself

  • Light incense and smudge your house

  • Get fresh and lather yourself in something sweet-smelling

  • Look up the latest news on your zodiac sign

  • Read a self improvement book

  • Challenge yourself to develop a new habit for 21 days and see if it will stick

  • Join a Reddit forum and talk to people with shared interests or who could need a friend.

  • Give advise on a subject of interest

  • Share information that will help others

  • Apply to fun gigs and see what happens

  • Go out for ice cream

  • Get a massage

  • Organize an event

  • Confront a fear and treat yourself

  • Visit your favorite websites

  • Tidy your house while listening to a podcast on an interesting topic

  • Cook while listening to an audio book

  • Go for a drive or hop onto the bus or train without no particular destination

  • Watch a lively documentary about less fortunate but happy people

  • Visit a sauna or a tanning bed

  • Put on makeup or a nice outfit