Acting the Opposite

depression, dbt, anxiety

Charlie the Rescue Dog needs to act the opposite.

This is one of my favorite skills to use when feeling depressed. It can be fun and allows us to step outside the depressive cycle of behavior even if the feeling of depression is still present. 

Acting the opposite is pretty much what the phrase implies. If we feel like being alone, we join up with others. If we feel like staying in the house all day, we open the front door and walk outside. If we feel like eating a bag of donuts, we eat yogurt instead.

The powerful thing about acting the opposite is that it can lead to a new pattern of behavior that creates tension between our depression and our activity. As we engage more and more in opposite behaviors, our depression may decrease as these opposite behaviors not only provide more meaning and hope, but they provide purpose as well.

One thing to remember: acting the opposite does not have the intention of changing our depressed mood, rather the purpose is to allow us to continue to engage in life, with some added benefits thrown in as extras. We become mindful of our feelings, accept them, and then act in a way that is opposite to the strong emotions.

It is also important to note that this is not mean that we are disingenuous with ourselves and others about our emotional or mental state. This is about being honest with ourselves and others about how we are feeling or thinking, and purposely choosing to act in a way that promotes purpose and well being.

Thanks for reading, and be well.


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