Describe Your Emotions worksheet

Sometimes our ability to process emotions while still engaging in logical processing of information may not be as developed as we would like. This can contribute to problems such as saying or doing things when we are angry, frightened or sad that we might later wish we had said or done differently. The Describe Your Emotions worksheet, adapted from a tool in the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by McKay, Brantley, Wood & Marra, is a tool you can use to train yourself over time to build stronger communication pathways between emotional processing centres and other information processing centres in your brain.

Radio National program on Borderline Personality Disorder

The All in the Mind program on ABC’s Radio National recently aired a good segment on effective treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Treatment is out there, and it works. To listen to the program, or read the transcript, follow the link here: Borderline personality disorder—what works?

On the program Catherine Bennett, formerly diagnosed with BPD, says the following:

BPD is not a choice, but recovery is. And like any mental illness, no one ever chooses to have a mental illness, but fighting for recovery, having a life worth living, that’s a choice. And making that choice is the first step.

If you would like to know more about BPD, you may also like to read Life on the Line – what is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Do you feel wise?

Have you ever noticed that many people are emotionist? This is a made-up word I am using here to refer to people being prejudiced against certain emotions. Some emotions are treated as acceptable – or even admirable – while others are treated as “bad” or “wrong”. Happiness is generally seen as something positive to aspire to, while anger, jealousy, fear and many times sadness are treated as though they are feelings that healthy people should not have. They are treated as feelings that you should eliminate as quickly as possible and it is even suggested that people should try to prevent them occurring in the first place.
Sad man crying in rain

Well, that is baloney. Every emotion exists for a reason. Continue reading

Motivation experiment days 19-21

On day 19 of my experiment with drawing every day and observing the effects on my motivation I again found myself without ideas for what to draw. Part of my commitment to this exercise from the outset had been that the important thing was to draw something each day, not to draw something “good” or “interesting” every day. So for day 19 I settled with drawing out a pattern in curving lines without too much thought, then adding a little colour:

Abstract swirling lines

Motivation experiment day 19 – drawn 9/05/2014

This was done very quickly. I didn’t like the result at all, but I’d stuck with my commitment to draw and was happy enough with that.
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Motivation experiment days 16-18: the joys of imperfection

On day 16 of my exercise in daily drawing I experienced a drop in my intrinsic motivation. After a few days of easily producing drawings I liked by tracing pictures, going back to drawing from my imagination meant struggling again with ideas for what to draw.

Drawing of a skull

Motivation experiment day 16 – drawn 6/05/2014

Having been involved in some planning for a pirate-themed birthday party, the idea of drawing a skull came to mind.
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Motivation experiment – days 9-12

Come day nine of my experiment in daily drawing I was now beginning to really enjoy drawing each day. On this occasion I started by scribbling a few lines and this quickly sparked the idea to draw an owl, which quickly developed into the below drawing:

Owl on a branch at night

Motivation experiment day 9 – drawn 29/04/2014

I took a similar approach on day 10 – not thinking for long at all about what to draw, just starting with doodling lines that I then developed into this angry face. Seeing that I could quite quickly go from no idea to a fairly simple drawing that had something about it I liked increased my interest in drawing even further.

Close up of angry man's eyes

Motivation experiment day 10 – drawn 30/04/2014

On day 11 I had a general concept in mind before I sat down to draw – I wanted to develop something with a sense of space and distance, so drew this canyon with a tiny figure in the distance:

Man standing at the opening of a canyon

Motivation experiment day 11 – drawn 1/05/2014

On day 12 I felt inspired before starting to draw something like the owl from day nine. I quickly settled on the thought of drawing a whale, but couldn’t bring to mind what a whale actually looks like So I did a google search for a picture of a whale, and found this at

… which I traced and developed into this:

Blue whale blowing bubbles under water

Motivation experiment day 12 – drawn 2/05/2014

Tracing sort of felt like cheating … but I learned a lot by drawing that way and quite liked the result.