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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:50 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:13 am
Posts: 687
Hello all,
Many, many people have asked about techniques to manage moods and emotions. Our addictions and compulsions were our quick fix, to manage. The learning process to mature emotional management is not quick or easy, but necessary if you want to eliminate addiction from your life, create a life worth living, have pride in yourself and have true control.

The lessons on urge control have you turn to your values and it begins the process of emotional management, until that time unless we come up with something on our own many of us keep slipping, are depressed and frustrated with ourselves when we don't manage well. I know I was. This comes from the work shop, it is not meant as a permanent solution, but one idea on how to start addressing emotions, until you find a way of your own.

Scaffolding a temporary support
....are support techniques for mood management, tools and techniques that help us manage our lives when we are in crisis. What we can actually do to help ourselves when we are beginning to be out of emotional balance. There are many such tools available from different sources: self help books, different therapies, self-help websites. These become most effective when we personalize them.

What follows is a method which I developed to help me manage my emotions as I was dealing with the crumbling pillars in my life. This can be used as part of an action plan for mood management and related post traumatic type symptoms....Please bear in mind that it is designed for those without any known associated mental health issues. Please note that the following technique should not replace your therapist's advice.

The 4 A s' Method

The 4 A s' Method is essentially a series of questions to raise emotional awareness, assist in regulating emotions and to bring reason to bear to the body/mind response of unbalanced or overwhelming emotions. Once you have familiarized yourself with the questions try testing it out with a run through, but I suggest that you do it when you are not experiencing extreme or overwhelming emotions.

The 4 A's method

Acknowledge what you feel...
What do I notice in my body?
What do I notice in my thinking?
What do I notice in my emotions /feelings?

Accept what you are feeling...
It's ok to feel this - I accept the way I feel.
Is it safe for me to choose to feel it? If so I will feel it.
I can limit how long I want to feel it for. It's my choice!
5 secs - 5 mins- 5 hours - or 5 days!
Accept it with words: Try an affirmation like this:
“Even though I feel sad, angry, stressed...I am okay!”
Sometimes it's not safe to feel and accept an emotion, ( for example if the emotion is leading you to behave against your values) if this is the case - for whatever reason, find a way to step out of the situation or step out of the emotion by seeking help. It is important to note that if you are unsafe you must take steps to protect yourself

Ask yourself What's going on here?
Is it simply a stress reaction?
Or have I drawn conclusions about a situation? Is it reasonable and healthy for me to make those conclusions now?
What is my system telling me?
Is it intuitive?
Is there something misaligned? With myself? With someone else?
Has a boundary been transgressed by me by another? Whose responsibility is that?
Do I have to deal with it now? How long have I got to deal with it? Can I deal with it later? (Make a note- make a plan)
Ask yourself: How do I want to be different?

Adapt current beliefs, behaviors, language, to meet the outcomes of 'how do I want to be different?'
What little thing can I adapt to change my emotional state? It may only require a 1% change.
Do I need to adapt anything in order to resolve the mental/ emotional /physical imbalance? Can I adapt a belief, behaviour or my language, in a way that will benefit me? (for example If you feel may have an internal story running in your head that you are useless and not worth bothering with, that you are unlovable ... a change in focus and belief may help to shift the way you are feeling - “ this is about his lack of remembering not my lack of worth”...

What can I actively do? (When I am in healthy balance make a list of self supporting activities…
Developing a Support System
Am I safe? If not what can I do to make myself safe? Do it!
By answering those questions for myself I was most often able to shift my own mood into a more positive one and I was also able to manage the emotional overwhelm that came from the post traumatic type symptoms

Memory Joggers
Sometimes when we are extremely stressed, in crisis or emotionally overwhelmed it can be useful to have a memory jogger to remind us what to do — I wrote my “4 A's” on the back of old business cards.
Another memory jogger I had was “Stop, Look and Listen” I would say it to myself when I recognized that my emotional state was getting out of hand. It became shorthand for a technique to help me get back on track:
Stop Look and listen
Stop engaging in activities which promote depression/ negativity for you (These will be different for each of us) this requires brutal honesty with ourselves…and requires us to actively stop choosing to feel an emotion for a given period of time. It's a positive form of dissociation or compartmentalizing.
Look at the different domains of your life-(the pillars) what areas can you derive value from? Do an activity which nurtures a positive value...physically do it, rather than just thinking about doing it !
Listen to your positive self. What would you advise yourself to do if you were your best friend or your own coach?
Activity A:
Take a moment to consider what the main pillars of your life are?
Which pillars are currently unstable or crumbling?
Which pillars are in need of repair or attention?
Which are strong and stable?
Activity B
Run through.... the 4 A's method when you are not in emotional imbalance.
Make a record of the 4 A's method so that it's available to you when you might need it (stick it on the side of the freezer or save to your PC.... Then try using it when you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed.
What could you alter or adapt in the method to make it work better for you?

Less of me, more of that:)

"When everything else is stripped away the essential is reveled." B.K.S. Iyengar

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