Emotional Regulation 10: Building Mastery

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The best way to boost your self esteem and get some happy chemicals running around in your brain is the final segment of the P.L.E.A.S.E. MASTER acronym discussed in the previous post: Building Mastery.

This means finding a skill or hobby that you find enjoyable that you can use to challenge yourself and create positive experiences in your life. It can be as simple as going for a short walk each day or as complicated as dabbling in quantum mechanics, or necromancy. The point is to increase the positive experiences in your life so that when you find yourself struggling you can look back on fond memories, and have something to look forward to when your mood improves. Here are some tips and tricks to building mastery

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Plan on doing at least one thing each day to build a sense of accomplishment. For me, its best to choose activities that don’t rely on outside praise for validation, I must provide the validation myself and this way I train myself to manage my own positive self esteem.

Plan for success; choose something difficult and/or challenging, but not impossible. You can climb a hill for now, climb a bigger hill later, and eventually maybe climb the mountain, but don’t start with the mountain, or you may fall into a trap of failure, which is the opposite of what we’re going for here.

Gearing for Success – Gearing for Success

Gradually increase the difficulty over time. Or, if the task is too difficult, try breaking it down further and build from there.

Build positive experiences. For the short term, do pleasant things in the moment. Smell the flowers, listen to the birds, sip your tea or coffee, watch the sunset, laugh at a joke.

Pleasant events prompt pleasant emotions so indulge in the little things as often as you can. Take your time. Breathe.

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For the long term, make changes in your life so that positive events will occur more often; build a life worth living. Attend to relationships and share positive experiences with the people you love. Make space in your home and your day for creative indulgences, like an adult colouring book or poetry writing. It doesn’t matter if you’re any good, you don’t have to show off your work to anyone but yourself.

Be mindful of positive experiences. Focus your attention to positive events and then refocus when your mind wanders. Remind yourself in the moment of what is positive and it will eventually become a reflex

Be unmindful of worries; distract yourself from thinking about when the positive experience will end, or whether or not you deserve the positive experience, or how much more might be expected of you.

Expectations are a bitch, and when it comes to failing perceived expectations we are our own worst enemy. It’s no good to judge yourself unfairly for failing to reach expectations that are too high for reality. Check in with you expectations and root out their source. Then trim them down to something manageable and train yourself to celebrate the small successes.

If someone else is giving you grief for failing their expectations that’s on them, not you.

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