Updated: Sep 30, 2019
These are two of the main concepts that are core to my approach in working with others here in my private practice. Now, these tools are not the only ones I use and not everyone benefits from them initially, especially if they are dealing with a challenge that requires other techniques to help them gain immediate relief from overwhelming emotions, but even with such individuals, I often help develop their ability to regulate their emotions by eventually introducing these two concepts to help ensure the sustainability of their successes and prevent similar, future challenges.
The first, knowing your prime set of values, helps to ensure that the life that you live, regardless of your challenges, is meaningful - that is knowing what is important to you so that when you look back on your life, you will see that even given the challenges, you were able to take committed actions that you are now happy with. These prime values are (or some might say your core values) the beliefs, rules and ideals that you've been doing since day one along with a few others that you picked up as you move through life that give you a direction. They are your lighthouse in the midst of a storm that ensured that you made it to shore.
The second are the mindfulness practices that help to release you from your automatic responses, thoughts, and emotions allowing you the ability to be aware of these responses and to be able to de-fuse from them so that you can actually make a conscious choice as to which direction you will move in or in how you will respond. There are multiple ways to make mindfulness part of your daily routine, I even have a playlist of videos and articles to help you develop this concept out further. I have found these to be that important and I not only use these approaches in my practice with others, but in my own life as well.
The two work best in tandem with each other - one helps to address and reshape your automatic thoughts (knowing your values) the other helps to raise your ability to “see” the thoughts and emotions as they occur so that you can choose a different course of action. While just having one or the other is useful, the combination of the two working together, I have found, is a very powerful combination in which the lump sum is greater than the sum of each tool individually.