DBT Skills: Opposite Action and Emotion Regulation
Opposite Action is an emotion regulation skill from dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) that helps us regulate our emotions with our behavior. If you’d like to support my channel, please see links below ⬇️⬇️
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This is huge!
I can't tell you how many times I've been in a stressful situation and I've caught myself thinking about what "I ought" to do in real-time and yet not been able to do it.
This new knowledge allows me to understand that if I act on what FEELS RIGHT in the moment (act on urge), I will only INTENSITY my problems.
For years I have been operating out of the false pretence that acting on the urge will ultimately make me FEEL BETTER. I have always known logically that acting on such urges is destructive, yet I feel it has always been tagged internally as a "solution".
Now when I first become aware of any present stress/discomfort, I will:
0. Begin taking slow, deep breaths
1. Ask myself if I want to alleviate or intensify these feelings
2. Clarify the urge – what do I strongly want to do? (or NOT do?)
3. Take opposite action, understanding it may not feel comfortable doing so but it's a direct path to feeling peaceful again.
I feel confident that opposite action is effective in practice when used however I would like to add that for best accuracy in executing this in real-time, I believe it is important to implement it as part of wider theme of introducing delayed gratification for the client. Many of us have conditioned ourselves to give in to our urges and do what's easy (comfortable).
We must get back in the habit of acting anyway in the face of discomfort & really start to form/strengthen new neural connections over time in our brain through repetition so that it our ability to manage stress and disempowering emotions in our lives get to as high of a level as needed to effectively combat whatever day-to-day stuff is going for the client.
Catch things early and staying on top of situations. Do your best to prevent falling deep into the negative feedback loop of thoughts/actions as taking opposite action may become harder the deeper you go.
It should be noted that neural connections prune over time so we should be mindful to keep some level of maintenance going in this respect if we want to stay "emotionally fit" if you will. Secondly people's situations change and as such we may find we could do with levelling up our delayed gratification "muscles" a bit more such as if a promotion at work where at first you were happy but the new roles/responsibilities/hours/whatever has you in a bit deeper than you can cope with. If you get used to effectively dealing with stronger levels of discomfort away from work it should carry over as well as strengthen your sense of identity that you are able to overcome difficulties which will help you out on a subconscious level too.
Some difficult yet beneficial things I do to level up are:
Talking to strangers/opposite sex in public
Going to sleep/wake up early
Making a fool out of myself
Eat healthy, and eat a lot
Sleep on floor occasionally (good for back)
I'll do random smaller things such as saying "yes" to being offered hot sauce when I don't actually want it or get a friend to tell me what to say to a stranger to keep it fun/interesting.
It goes without saying that you must do things you dislike otherwise it defeats the purpose.
I think it's important also to anticipate (visualise) & celebrate your wins/goals which can help give you that extra boost of motivation in the right direction when it comes time to need to do something but really don't want to.
I'm now nerdily looking forward to implementing some opposite action over the next week because I know I'm gonna need it in my work next week. Expecting it to be tough but very worthwhile.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” -hebrews 13:2
finding your videos has been heaven sent. thank you for making these
Thank you. Very helpful. I feel very anxious today. I was thinking to go home, straight away and scroll facebook. Now i am thinking that i will rake leaves
Yes what I need to hear. Ty
Finally! A practical DBT presentation. Thank you. This has given me hope for the future. L
Very useful information that everyone should learn.
This was extremely helpful! Thank you so much!
thank you so much for the wonderful videos
Thank you. Your videos have helped me so much.
Explained so well useful for children
Omg I like your channel 🥳🥳🥳
So what if our anxiety is outside of our control? For ex: waiting for grades? How do we opposite act? 📉
Current “moods”: anger, depresso & ded (dead inside)
I feel so awkward at identifying feelings. Cuz I feel dead inside, so is that a feeling?
I think that defusion is very helpful for emotions
Thank You x
Thank you SO much for creating these videos, I am using them as a companion to teach CBT to my teen. God bless!! 🙏
great video spread the message
This is called "acceptable clinical gaslighting."
I like the pace and the language of this video. Nothing too technical, no DBT jargon, no psychological babble. Just straightforward basic advice about what to do and why it works. Good work.
I love the professional production value of this video. I definitely will share with my patients. If it is of help to anyone reading this, my channel has 37 videos of ALL the DBT skills, reviewing each one in detail. Please feel free to use it as a resource in your treatment!
one way to induce a panic attack – expose an anxious person to more of what makes them anxious
For more on Opposite Action please check out my video on Behavioral Activation , a type of opposite action that helps lift depression https://youtu.be/KFmn2G1asbg. And it there are any other topics you'd like me to cover, or you have any questions, please let me know in the comments!
Shared this video just now with my client – great animation and clear explanation look forward to seeing your other work – thank you.
Showed this video to my DBT class! Thanks for making it!