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When to Act on Your Emotions

This post can be used on its own but I was designed to be the second stage in my previous post, The Only Emotions and Their Symptoms. Which can be found here:

The idea behind this DBT skill is that it's great to recognise what you are feeling but how to you know if you should act on the emotion or if your action is in proportion to the emotion.

This is something I know I can struggle with. A simple way to look at it is I know I have once cried because I couldn't express enough how much I love gravy. Lets be honest, that is not a proportional reaction to the emotion. At the same time, I have been willing to cut off family, scream and throw things in rage because someone has messed with one of my ritual behaviours. Again, lets face it, that's not proportional. Although there these are extreme examples, they are examples from my own life.

I am NOT saying that your emotions aren't valid, this is not what this is about. But if I acted this way all the time to every emotion people wouldn't be happy. It's my responsibility to try and help myself not their responsibility to deal with my behaviours. I hope that makes sense, yes be sad or angry when someone messes something that matters to you but screaming the house down might not to be the proportional response.

This is flow chart that DBT teaches us to use to work out whether or not we should act on our emotions and if we do, the action is proportional to the emotion.

Now I know you might look at this and think, damn this is a lengthy process Annie. But to you, I have two things to say. Good, because I know there has mean many things happen in my life when I've looked back and thought "if I stopped and thought for a second, I wouldn't have made the same decision". I'm sure if I have moments like that, you do too. Secondly, the more you practice this the quicker it becomes and the better you remember it. I still have to look at the process sometimes and really sit back and think to myself how I am going to move forward with this emotion and other times I can just rattle off the flow chart and think, yeah stop, this isn't effective to get how I feel across.

I hope this has helped or can offer some help to you as it is a challenging DBT skills which requires a lot of mindfulness but used correctly it can really help to for people to understand how you are feeling, for you and them to understand why you are feeling it and the best way to move forward and if it happens again in future. Good luck and much love to you all just trying to live your best life.


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