Acting opposite of how you feel

If you remember my post on 5 Tips to Deal With Uncomfortable Emotions, I introduced an acronym called ARTSY.

  • Acknowledge the fear 
  • Research the topic 
  • Talk to someone 
  • Shift your perspective
  • You got this

Today, we will discuss a technique that I learned rom Dialectical Behavioral Therapy that helps you to shift your perspective.

Opposite action is exactly how it sounds.  It means to act the opposite of how you feel in a given moment.  

I’m sure you’ve done this before and not even realized it.  I, myself, did this before I knew it was a thing!  I remember pumping myself up to get tasks complete, even though I was afraid or uncomfortable!  

Whatever emotion that you have, do something that is the exact opposite. An example, instead of being fearful about public speaking, focusing on what you came to do and what you are able to do.  

A lot of times people fear public speaking because they do not think that they have anything valuable to say.  That is often contrary from the truth.  When it comes to using “opposite action”, you remind yourself:  “I am well versed in this topic,” “have something of value to say to others,” and “others want to hear what I have to say.” 

Can you imagine telling yourself that versus focusing on the fear?  The “shift of perspective”, will decrease your anxiety.  

So, anytime that I get in front of a group, I remind myself of these three things, and it helps me get through the presentation! 

This is a wonderful skill to use in many situations

  • Dating someone new 
  • Job interview 
  • Exercising before or after work 
  • Waiting for results of the presidential election 
  • Trying a new recipe 
  • Choosing to create a budget and stick to it 
  • Disciplining your child 
  • Someone cuts you off during a staff meeting 

These are some situations that might cause you to feel negative or uncomfortable emotions. But you do not have to act the way that you feel. 

I often have to remind myself of this.  So, I’m not exempt from using this technique myself.  

You can choose to think about a different thought, and your emotions will follow. 

Remember, you are in control of your emotions; they are NOT in control of you. 

Is there a situation in which you could choose the opposite action? 

If you are interested in learning more about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, you can check out these worksheets. 

Please note:  I recommend speaking with a licensed therapist about this.  Any information that I provide is not a substitute for seeing your own therapist.  

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