By Trafalgar’s Editorial Team
This Content is Created By Aneisa Maley, B.A, M.A
Hi there, my name’s Aneisa and I am a counsellor at Trafalgar Residence. And today I’m going to be introducing you to a DBT skill known as the self-reflection thermometer.
So this is a fairly easy skill to use, but it is something that can be very helpful long term if we decide to be consistent with it.
So what you want to do is get yourself a printout of a thermometer or even just get a blank piece of paper and create a number line from zero to 10.
Now, we all know that feeling when we get so upset or out of control that we feel like, just as I said, we have no control over our emotions, over our actions and over our feelings.
Perhaps for some people that might be an eight after an eight, we feel like we can’t apply the skills that we’ve learned because it’s too far gone.
What we want to do is notice what does our body feel like in this state? What does our mind feel like in this state? But furthermore, we want to really be aware of what our body feels like at baseline.
Perhaps your baseline is a zero. What do you feel like when you’re just sitting around chilling at home without a care in the world? What does feeling emotionally stable feel like to you? What does your body feel like? What are the thoughts in your mind?
Write them down. Next, we want to reflect on what builds up to the point of an eight. If the eight indeed is the point of no return for you.
It may be different for everyone, but as you reflect on each number of the number line, perhaps you got more activated when you have less time to yourself or when things are loud around you, noticing what it feels like in your mind, as well as in your body as you progressively get more upset.
And as you work your way up the number line. This is something we can do to allow ourselves to flag when we become distressed and when we become upset.
If we can flag these moments and notice these bodily sensations as well as thought patterns, hopefully we can employ some self care tips and some positive activities before it gets to that point.
We can call a friend, a therapist. We can engage in a positive activity to bring us back down to zero or whatever your baseline is to allow ourselves to simply be calm, present and cool and collected.
What we don’t want to happen is for us to be climbing this number line or thermometer every single day without self-awareness of how we got to the edge.
A lot of the times we find ourselves being activated again and again with no recollection of how we got there. This skill allows us to really tune in to the signals that our body is sending us.
Often times activation as a check engine light. It’s a moment in which you need to reflect on your body and on your mind and say, hmm, what’s going on underneath the hood?
What actually made me that upset?
Constantly being aware of what number you’re at. Can allow you to preventively start becoming as activated as frequently, but more over it can help you become more self aware and more in tune with your body and your mood. Hope this helps. Thank you.