woman practicing please skills dbt

How to Use the PLEASE Skill to Improve Your Life

Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people regulate their feelings, make healthy behavioral decisions, and become less vulnerable to emotional disruptions. One of the top ways that licensed DBT therapists help patients accomplish these goals is through the PLEASE skill.

With the PLEASE skill, patients learn to take care of the body’s most essential physical needs. Then, people are better able to adjust to emotional events in life and make better decisions. In DBT, PLEASE is an acronym that helps people remember each aspect of the skill. Whether you are in DBT or not, the PLEASE skill may help you live a fuller life.

(Note: Please do not make changes to your diet, exercise, or physical health routine without first consulting a qualified health provider. The information in this article is only meant as general examples, not specific health advice.)

P and L are for Physical Illness

Research points to a strong connection between the body and the mind. Sometimes, this makes it so that physical illness clouds a person’s emotions and makes it more difficult to have healthy behavioral patterns. When you treat physical conditions, you relieve some of this pressure and allow yourself to think more clearly.

Depending on your unique health situation, taking care of physical illness may take many different forms. For example, it may be as simple as setting a daily reminder to take your medications on time. For others, the process may involve talking to a doctor about symptoms and undergoing some testing. Whatever you put into taking care of physical illnesses, you will be rewarded with the clarity you need to regulate your emotions.

E is for Eating

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of caring for your physical health. Sometimes, mental health disorders make it difficult for people to muster up the energy to eat during the day. Conversely, these disorders can cause binge eating or emotional eating. However, the PLEASE skill exists to remind patients to strive for balance in their eating habits.

It’s important to note that a balanced diet does not include fad or crash diets. In fact, extreme measures can make physical and mental health worse. Rather than taking on a crash diet, most people should consider making small changes one at a time. These changes include adding one more serving of fruit or vegetables, eating out less often, or cutting down on sweets.

A is for Altering

The A in PLEASE reminds people to avoid mind-altering substances such as:

  • Medications prescribed to others
  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Illegal Drugs
  • Caffeine

These substances change the way the mind works, which can leave users more vulnerable to emotional problems. It can be difficult to quit using some of these mind-altering substances. If you have trouble quitting on your own, therapy may be able to help.

S is for Sleep

The S in PLEASE reminds people to get plenty of restful sleep. While healthy sleep is one of the most important factors in physical health, it’s often the first thing to go when people experience mental or emotional disruptions. It’s important to pay attention to your sleeping patterns and avoid getting too much or too little sleep.

Some tips can help you establish a routine and get the sleep you need:

  • Avoid naps or limit them to 30 minutes
  • Do not stare at a screen for at least 30 minutes before bed
  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time daily
  • Have a healthy evening routine
  • Optimize your bedroom for the perfect sleeping environment

Furthermore, using the PLEASE skill can help. For example, avoiding mind-altering substances helps many people get better sleep. Also, the final piece of the PLEASE skill can help with sleep.

E is for Exercise

Getting regular exercise is the last part of the PLEASE skill. Many scientific studies show that regular exercise can help treat certain physical conditions, improve mental health, and increase sleep health. If you add regular exercise to your routine, you can regulate your emotions with more ease.

Remember that healthy exercise if different for every person. Adding a walk to your daily routine can help, or you may need more stringent exercise to get the benefits. Be sure to consult your doctor to decide what’s right for you.

When you practice the PLEASE skill, you take care of your body and put yourself in a better place to take care of your mental health. You can learn more about PLEASE and other DBT skills by scheduling an appointment with one of our licensed therapists.

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