::Distress Tolerance Handout::
Guidelines for Accepting Reality: Observing-Your-Breath Exercises

Distress Tolerance Skills are used to help with life-threatening and impulsive behaviors that tend to act from emotions in ways that make matters worse.

OBSERVING YOUR BREATH:
Focus your attention on your breath, coming in and out. Observe your breathing as a way to center yourself in your wise mind. Observe your breathing as a way to take hold of your mind, dropping off nonacceptance and fighting reality.

1. Deep breathing
Lie on your back. Breathe evenly and gently, focusing your attention on the movement of your stomach. As you begin to breath in, allow your stomach to rise in order to bring air into the lower half of your lungs. As the upper halves of your lungs begin to fill with air, your chest begins to rise and your stomach begins to lower. Don’t tire yourself. Continue for 10 breaths. The exhalation will be longer than the inhalation.

2. Measuring your breath by your footsteps
Walk slowly in a yard, along a sidewalk, or on a path. Breath normally. Determine the length of your breath, the exhalation and the inhalation, by the number of your footsteps. Continue for a few minutes. Begin to lengthen your exhalation by one step. Do not force a longer inhalation. Let it be natural. Watch your inhalation carefully to see where there is a desire to lengthen it. Continue for 10 breaths.

Now lengthen the exhalation by one more footstep. Watch to see whether the inhalation also lengthens by one step or not. Only lengthen the inhalation when you feel that it will give delight. After 20 breaths, return your breath to normal. About 5 minutes later, you can begin the practice of lengthened breaths again. When you feel the least bit tired, return to normal. After several sessions of the practice of lengthed breath, your exhalation and inhalation will grow equal in length. Do not practice long, equal breaths for more than 10 to 20 breaths before returning to normal.

3. Counting your breath
Sit cross-legged on the floor (sit in the half of full lotus position if you know how); or sit in a chair with your feet on the floor; or kneel; or lie flat on the floor; or take a walk. As you inhale, be aware that “I am inhaling, 1.” When you exhale, be aware that “I am exhaling, 1.” Remember to breathe from the stomach. When beginning the second inhalation, be aware that “I am inhaling, 2.” And slowly exhaling, be aware that “I am exhaling, 2.” Continue up through 10. After you reached 10, return to 1. Whenever you lose count, return to 1.

4. Following your breath while listening to music.
Listen to a piece of music. Breathe long, light, and even breaths. Follow your breath; be the master of it while remaining aware of the movement and sentiments of the music. Do not get lost in the music, but continue to be the master of your breath and yourself.

5. Follow your breath while carrying on a conversation

Breath long, light, and even breaths. Follow your breath while listening to a friend’s words and to your own replies. Continue as with the music.

6. Breathing to quiet the mind and body
Sit cross-legged on the floor (sit in half or full lotus position if you know how); or sit in a chair with your feet on the floor; or kneel; or lie flat on the flat. Half-smile. Follow your breath. When your mind and body are quiet, continue to inhale and exhale very lightly; be aware that “I am breathing in and making the breath and body light and peaceful. I am exhaling and making the breath and body light and peaceful.” Continue for three breaths, giving rise to the thought, “I am breathing in while my body and mind are at peace. I am breathing out while my body and mind are at peace.”

Maintain this thought in awareness from 5 to 30 minutes, according to your ability and the time available to you. The beginning and end of the practice should be relaxed and gentle. When you want to stop, gently massage the muscles in your legs before returning to a normal sitting position. Wait a moment before standing up.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation - Audio & Instructions

                         ::Willingness over willfulness::

WILLINGNESS

Cultivate a WILLING response to each situation.
- Willingness is DOING JUST WHAT IS NEEDED in each situation, in an unpretentious way. It is focusing on effectiveness.
- Willingness is listening very carefully to your WISE MIND, acting from your inner self.
- Willingness is ALLOWING into awareness your connection to the universe – to the earth, to the floor you are standing on, to the chair you are sitting on, to the person you are talking to.

WILLFULNESS
Replace WILLFULNESS with WILLINGNESS
- Willfulness is SITTING ON YOUR HANDS when action is needed, refusing to make changes that are needed.
- Willfulness is GIVING UP.
- Willfulness is the OPPOSITE of “DOING WHAT WORKS,” being effective.
- Willfulness is trying to FIX every situation.
- Willfulness is REFUSING TO TOLERATE the moment.
Hosting by WebRing.