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  • Jeff Brenneman

I don’t wanna be mindful!

Today, I’m sitting here not wanting to be mindful.

You ever find yourself in that place? I know it would be helpful to really tune in to the situation as it is. I know it would help me feel more centered. I know it would help me to feel a little better.


AND, I am having a really hard time finding the willingness inside me to just pay attention. To show up and really notice what is going on. So, I’m writing. And now there’s a little bit of me that is slightly willing to check in with what is going on right now.

So, I’m going to go with that little piece and see if it gets bigger.


Right now I am noticing that I’m tired, and I have the urge to get up and go home. I don’t need to do anything with that urge, just notice it. And I notice there are multiple things in my life currently that are absolutely not in my control, and that is a little scary.



Ok, gonna use a few more DBT skills here.


Let’s see what Check the Facts does for me (checking to see if my emotion fits the facts of my situation) Emotion Regulation worksheet 5 in the Linehan handouts and worksheets book.


Emotion name : Fear Intensity: 0-100 Before: 60 After: 5 (maybe aftereffects of the emotion)


Prompting event: I don’t want to be mindful. Had the urge to leave the office and head home. Had thoughts about there being too many things in my life right now I have no control over. All of that happened in a matter of seconds.


Extreme thinking? Too many is probably an extreme and is definitely a judgment.

Interpretations? ‘Too many’ is an interpretation. I’m also thinking that it is unacceptable to have those things I am not in control of right now. Another interpretation is that I ‘should’ have control over more things than I currently do, which is definitely not factual.


Other interpretations? I’m a human being and I don’t have control because we human beings actually control very little. Maybe my brain is assuming things to try to protect me and maybe I don’t really need protection from them.


Rewrite: Had the thought ‘I don’t want to be mindful.’ Had an urge to leave the office that I did not act on. Had the thought, ‘there are too many things in my life right now that I have no control over.’


At this point in the worksheet I’m noticing that my body sensations have changed. I had a buzzy sort of feeling right around my heart that has calmed down noticeably. It’s not gone, and it has diminished quite a bit.


Threat? Yes, I’m assuming a threat. As I look inside right now, there’s a sense that having things I am not in control of means that things will go badly (another judgment right there.) Means that things will not go as I would like them to go. Another thing that worries me is that I will somehow be left by people, that having things out of my control means that people will go on their merry way and leave me behind. Ugh. Don’t like that. Don’t like that I’m afraid of that. So, there’s another judgment and if I let that hang around I’ll likely feel worse and probably have the urges to avoid come back and possibly get stronger. So, I’m going to note those as thoughts and rewrite that part as well.

Rewrite: I had the thought, ’things will go badly if I don’t feel in control.’ I had the thought,’ people will leave me if I am not in control.’ Ok, that feels a bit better.

Back to the worksheet

Catastrophe: Someone will leave because I don’t have control of everything. Writing that looks kind of ridiculous at this point. Do people actually leave because I don’t have control of everything? That seems highly unlikely. And, what if someone does leave for that reason? I would use distress tolerance skills to manage the intensity of the emotions and the judgments. I would talk with people on my team and in my personal support system about my pain and I would walk through it one step at a time. I could handle it if the catastrophe happens. I don’t want it to, AND I could deal with it. And I probably don’t want someone in my life who is only around because I seem to have control of everything.


My emotion does not fit the facts, at least not the intensity. Fear fits the facts when there is a threat to life of me or someone I care about, a threat to health, or a threat to well-being. The threat to my well being that I was imagining based on a sense that I do not have control was manufactured by my brain and it does not serve me well right now.


Here’s the actual facts of my situation:

I am currently sitting in my office going through the check the facts worksheet. I am safe in my office. There are no current threats to my well being. I have access to everything I need to meet my basic needs and I have access to emotional support if I reach out for it. I do not have control over anything other than what I do. I think that is accurate.

My fear has come way down, probably just experiencing the aftereffects of the emotion at this point. And I have a sense that some space has opened up inside.

And now I have a session to conduct.

Hope this helped, and if it didn’t, come back another day for something else that might.



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