Identifying Emotions
Skills for Changing Emotional Responses
ABC Skills
Mindfulness Of Emotion

OPEN BOOK! See Emotion Regulation Handout 3 (What Emotions Do For You)

Question: What are the 3 MAIN things emotions DO for us?

1. Emotions Motivate us for Action

2. Emotions Communicate and Influence Others

3. Emotions Communicate to US


 OPEN BOOK! See Emotion Regulation Handout 7 (Changing Emotional Responses)

QUESTION: Name the 3 Skills we learned that help us change our emotional responses!

Check The Facts

Opposite Action

Problem Solving


OPEN BOOK! See Emotion Regulation Handout 14 (Reducing Vulnerability to Emotion Mind - Building a Life Worth Living)

QUESTION: Name the 3 skills that A.B.C. stand for!

A - Accumulate Positive Emotions

B - Build Mastery

C - Cope Ahead of time for Emotional Situations 


OPEN BOOK! See Emotion Regulation Handout 20 (Taking Care of Your Mind by Taking Care of Your Body)

QUESTION: What do the letters in PLEASE stand for?

PL - Treat Physical Illness

E - Balance Eating

A - Avoid Mood Altering Substances

S - Balance Sleep

E - Get Exercise 


OPEN BOOK! See Emotion Regulation Handout 22 (Mindfulness of Current Emotions: Letting Go of Suffering)

QUESTION: What are the 4 "steps" of practicing mindfulness of current emotion?

- Observe your Emotion

- Practice Mindfulness of Body Sensation

- Remember you are NOT your emotion

- Practice loving your emotion 


What does it MEAN when the DBT binder says that "our emotions communicate to others whether we mean to or not"? HOW do our emotions do that for us? 

Body Language

Facial Expressions 


WHAT emotion WOULD fit these facts?

- There is a REAL threat to your life, health, or safety (OR of someone you care for)


(A genuine threat to life/health/safety is when FEAR would FIT THE FACTS)


Watch the following video. Which ABC skill are the father and child practicing in the video?

B - Building Mastery 


Adults need between ___ - ___ hours of sleep in a row each night in order to avoid developing mental and physical health problems. 

7 - 9 hours. 

(Too much OR too little sleep causes significant issues with mood, metabolism, anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, immunity, memory, chronic pain, just to name a few!)


True or False: Mindfulness of Emotion says we should try to BLOCK OUT and PUSH AWAY any feelings that we don't like. 


(Mindfulness of Emotion says to ALLOW our feelings to come and go, neither pushing them away NOR clinging onto them)


Are these Emotion MYTHS or Emotion FACTS?  

Some people are just "angry people", it's who they are. So if I feel angry, I have to act angry, otherwise I'm being "fake". 


(We may not get to decide how we feel, but we DO get to decide how we ACT. Our choices are OUR responsibility. ALL people experience all emotions, no one is defined by any one feeling. It is our values and our choices that make us who we are.)


If your emotion (or its intensity or duration) does NOT fit the facts, what skill should you do?

For example: You feel fear and have urges to run away, but there is NO actual threat to your life/health or safety. 

Opposite Action


Jane has a job interview coming up, which she really wants. But she's terrified that she'll freeze up and not know what to say when they start asking questions. 

Which ABC skill is the MOST effective to help Jane be ready for the interview next week?


(Jane can look up common interview questions, write down her answers on flash cards, and practice them out loud. She would imagine herself going through the interview and using different DBT skills to help her handle possible hiccups. And she can ask a friend or therapist role play with her.)


True or False? Most people don't need to worry about their blood sugar. Eating at the same times, 3 times per day doesn't matter unless you have diabetes. 


(Eating consistently to maintain stable blood sugar is extremely important for mental and physical health. "Grazing" all day OR skipping meals is proven to have serious short and long term side effects on sleep, weight, memory, mood, and impulsivity. It can even contribute to causing Type II Diabetes in some people!)


How do we practice being mindful of the body sensations?

"Notice ______ in the body you feel the emotion"

"______the sensation as fully as you can"

"Observe how long it takes for the emotion to go _______"





Name the emotion that can be triggered by BOTH smelling rotten food OR watching someone steal candy from a baby 

ANSWER: Disgust 

(We can feel physical disgust AND emotional disgust)


Suzy Q is at her friends house, she has a new dog, Suzy feels FEAR and and urge to RUN. She Checks the Facts and realizes the fear is UNJUSTIFIED. The puppy is licking her, she is not allergic, and her friend is smiling at her encouragingly. 

Which skill makes more sense here: Opposite Action or Problem Solving? HOW would she do that skill?


(Suzy would PLAY with the puppy)


Joe is very busy guy, but he still makes time each day to MINDFULLY enjoy eating his after-dinner chocolate chip cookie and milk on the porch without ANY distractions. 

Which ABC skill is this?

Accumulating Positive Emotions SHORT term


True or False? The only way to get significant mental and physical health benefits from exercise is if it makes you sweat and you do it for over an hour. 


(It may not give you 6 pack abs, but research shows that taking long walks each day (or LOTS of short walks throughout the day) can be as beneficial as doing high intensity exercises a few days a week. If you like high intensity work outs, studies show that just 20 minutes 3+ days per week will lead to noticeable positive changes in mood, sleep, metabolism, heart rate, and even sexual health!)


"Observe your emotion like it's a _____ , just coming and going.

Imagine you are _______ on that emotion."



 True or False?

There are NO bad/stupid emotions. ALL emotions, including painful emotions, are normal and necessary. 


(Every single emotion is completely normal, all people will feel all emotions periodically. Including grief, anxiety, anger, and jealousy.)


Suzy Q is at her friends house and she has a new cat. Suzy feels FEAR and an urge to run away. Suzy Checks the Facts and realizes her FEAR is JUSTIFIED. Suzy is extremely allergic to cats and forgot to take her allergy medication today. 

Which skill makes more sense, Opposite Action or Problem Solving? HOW would she do that skill? 


(Suzy would identify the possible solutions: tell her friend she cannot stay in the house OR explain that she needs to go home and take her medication before they can hang out.)  


Suzy Q values raising healthy, happy, active children. She decided to start saving $20 per paycheck, so that by next summer she'll have enough money to buy a bike for herself and each of her children so they can make after-dinner family bike rides a summertime tradition! 

Which ABC skill is this?

Accumulate Positive Emotions LONG term 


How many hours before bed do we need to stop drinking caffiene to make sure it doesn't keep us awake? 

ANSWER: 5 hours

Avoid caffeine (coffee, energy drinks, Excedrin, tea, etc) at least 5 hours before you want to go to bed 


Name at least 2 of the 4 ways we can practice LOVING our emotions 

RESPECT your emotion

Do NOT JUDGE your emotion

Practice WILLINGNESS to feel the emotion

Radically ACCEPT that you're feeling the emotion

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