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17: Why Doing Nice Things for Yourself Matters

Do you have a hard time doing nice things for yourself? The DBT skill called Accumulating Positive Events in the Short-Term is all about doing small, regular self-care. Putting effort into building positive emotions on a regular basis helps build emotional resilience so you won’t get as thrown when hard things happen.

Many folks believe that they have to “earn” doing something nice for themselves or that they don’t deserve to do things just for pleasure. If this is the case for you, it might be surprisingly hard to take time to engage in regular pleasurable activities.

This skill won’t change things overnight – that’s why it’s called accumulating! Slowly, though, you can build up your emotional resilience which can act as a buffer when life gets challenging.

Show Highlights:

  • Abuse or neglect as a child can make it hard to believe you deserve self-care 
  • Sometimes doing nice things for yourself can bring up a lot of emotions
  • For some people, feeling positive emotions can be scary
  • There might be a phobia to feeling good, joyful or peaceful
  • The impact of small, positive things accumulate over time
  • Do at least one pleasant event a day
  • Let go of worry thoughts while doing your pleasant event
  • It’s not just what you do, but how you do it
  • Ask yourself “What do I like?”
  • Think about things that engage your 5 senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, sound
  • Creativity, nature and hobbies are also areas to think about for your pleasant event but the possibilities are endless
  • Make sure you are doing things you actually like 
  • Putting your pleasant event on your to-do list helps make it non-negotiable 
  • Being patient when this skill

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To learn more about DBT and therapy in general, read our blog.

Links & Resources:

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition