Sarah’s Case – Step 3 Refocus
This blog is a continuation of Sarah’s case working through feelings of depression and anxiety using a technique called the Four Step Method. Feel free to look at our previous 3 blogs on Sarah’s case for a history of her story.
Sarah has suffered from forms of anxiety and depression. Until now, she has learned to recognize the signs and symptoms, call them what they are (Relabel) and then change her perception of the importance of the deceptive messages her brain is sending her (Reframe). For example, she recognizes tiredness, body aches, and negative thoughts and Relabels them as depression. Next Reframes it by realizing this is why she was feeling like she hated herself…it is the depression and not her.
Sarah is ready for Step 3 - to Refocus: “Direct your attention toward an activity or mental process that is productive – even while the false and deceptive urges, thoughts, impulses and sensations are still present and bothering you” (Schwartz & Gladding, 2011)
Refocus is an important step for Sarah for many reasons:
· It is designed to reduce or eliminate destructive uses of her time while encouraging wholesome, constructive behaviors.
· Sarah will gain confidence through experience that she can continue on with her day no matter the circumstances of her sensations
· Sarah will learn that she has choices that can positively impact her life, despite her feelings
· These result in a sense of empowerment to make healthy choices on your own behalf
In order to Refocus, after her relabeling and reframing, Sarah actively places her attention on an activity that is healthy, constructive and beneficial for her – even though deceptive thoughts, impulses, cravings are present and may be urging otherwise. A sample activity list:
• Go for a walk – focus on your feet striking the ground (ex: mindful walking)
• Go for a walk – notice the scenery and environment (ex: feel the wind on your skin, notice the color of the trees, grass, birds, etc)
• Exercise alone or with others (something with strategy is better)
o Lift weights
o Go for a run, swim, hike, bike
o Play basketball, tennis, soccer, etc.
o Class: yoga, spinning, Pilates, etc.
• Play a game like Sudoku, Solitaire, a crossword puzzle, etc
• If you are at work, Refocus on what you need to accomplish that day
• Watch a wholesome or educational TV show or movie
• Spend time with someone (friend, co-worker, family member)
• Spend time with your pet
• Call someone
• Cook a healthy meal
• Pursue a hobby you enjoy (knitting, train models, etc)
• Learn a new skill, sport or game
It is important that this list be kept handy, as Sarah learned deceptive brain messages can arise at any time. She found that the Regulate and Refocus was especially beneficial for anxiety attacks.
Join us for the next blog as we bring the 4 steps together when Sarah learns about Step 4: Revalue.
Also for more information on this treatment method or for any questions, feel free to visit our contact page on our website http://www.tendingsouls.org/contact-us/
Schwartz, Jeffrey M. & Gladding, Rebecca (2011). You are not your brain. New York: Penguin.
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