If you are working to overcome self-destructive (dysregulated) behavior, you deserve to understand how your chosen method for addressing the behavior actually works. You also deserve to know whether that method is backed by evidence.
This post is part of a series designed to provide research-backed explanations of:
A quick review: Dysregulated behaviors may seem to “turn off” unpleasant emotions and urges in the short-term, but the emotions/urges (and related pressure) usually return with even greater intensity. In contrast, mindfulness practice involves intentional awareness of and attention to the current moment (including emotions and urges). Therefore:
Today’s post focuses on a third way mindfulness can address dysregulated behavior. (It also includes yet another metaphor to add to the mix.) As always, these descriptions are oversimplified due to space limitations, but they provide a general idea.
I want to again stress that overcoming dysregulated behavior can feel excruciating and near-impossible. Explanations in these posts are based on results from clinical research and clinical experience. Thus, all information is based on the practice of mindfulness:
Therefore, if you want to work toward overcoming dysregulated behavior and are interested in mindfulness practice, I encourage you to seek out a mental-health professional who (a) conducts treatment that includes a mindfulness component, or (b) is willing to integrate mindfulness into the treatment she/he provides.
I am not saying that mindfulness practice cannot provide benefits on its own – or that moving past dysregulated behavior is impossible without the help of a professional. However, moving past dysregulated behavior is extremely difficult even in the best of circumstances, so I would encourage you seek out the support and expertise that can help increase your odds of success.
Next month’s post will continue to discuss methods through which mindfulness can address dysregulated behavior, and subsequent posts will (a) provide more-specific details about mindfulness practice, and (b) explore additional topics related to overcoming dysregulated behavior and moving toward a more-fulfilling life. Until then, remember that if you struggle with dysregulated behavior: