If you have interacted with the world of mental health care, it is likely that you have come across the concepts of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This particular therapeutic approach is multifacted and includes an abundance of principles. One particular concept is Opposite Action (or Opposite to Emotional Action). In simplest terms, it means that to alleviate a particular distressing emotional state, you sometimes need to do something that would generate an opposing emotion.
Or as one of my favorite people described it recently: “When you feel like shit about yourself, do something for someone else.”
This statement has resonated with me recently. When we are in emotional and psycholgoical distress, we feel isolated. The world becomes increasingly small and our interaction with it decreases. We turn inward. To some degree, this is helpful. We often need time and space to address our own pain. But often, what develops to help us help ourselves becomes harmful. Inward focus and isolation can become our prison.
Our way out may be through a paradox – through Opposite Action (“When you feel like shit about yourself, do something for someone else.”).
By refocusing our energy outward, we can begin to bring some healing to ourselves. Research on well-being, mental health, and happiness time and time again points to the benefit of giving to others. It shows that people who consistently help others experience less depression, greater sense of calm and connection to others, and better overall health.
For the next couple months, Life in Balance and the clinicans at Wilder Therapy & Wellness are focusing on the mental health benefits of giving to others. We will bring you article and videos highlighting the power of paying it forward. In addition, we will turn the spotlight on local and national organizations that embrace the notion.
Also, during this time, we will be living the concept ourselves. Throughout the months, we will be starting several “Pay it Forward” campaigns and engaging in acts of kindness and service to others. So stay tuned to Life in Balance for updates and ways to join us.