"The Under-Regulation Reset" – Part 1

By Alice Boyes, PhD. | Uncategorized

Quite a few of the clients I see for problems like depression, anxiety, or low self esteem, have lost (or never had) confidence in committing to consistently doing a particular behaviour in a particular circumstance, independent of the emotions they are experiencing when the time to do that behaviour rolls around.

I’ve written previously about how, when people start taking committed action, “stuff” in the form of difficult thoughts, memories, physical sensations, emotions, or behavioural impulses, has a tendency to pop up.

People end up fighting with the stuff, get overwhelmed, and get derailed from their path.

Behavioural Exeriment

Commit to eating a raisin at the same time each day for 2 weeks.

Pick whatever time you like, but you’ll need to organize yourself to have access to raisins at that time and have a way of reminding yourself to do it.

If you forget one day, practice course correcting (getting back on track) rather than giving up.

Why?

If you are currently under regulating yourself then some of the “stuff” that pops up when you start taking steps in a valued life direction is likely to be anxiety about taking committed action itself. For example, you might get memories and emotions related to past failure experiences.

This experiment will provide you with an opportunity to test this and to have the experience of successfully surfing through (rather than fighting with) whatever “stuff” appears for you.

By picking a commitment as intrinsically meaningless and simple as eating one raisin, you’ll get a chance to experience and observe the parts of your stuff that are just about making a behavioural commitment.

Try to observe whatever “stuff” (memories, thoughts, emotions, images, behavioural impulses, physical sensations) pops up from some psychological distance.

Let the thoughts, emotions etc pop up and naturally pass on their own without you intefering with them or trying to push them out.

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