Free Worksheets from Mind and Emotions

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The Cost of Avoiding Emotions

assessing YouR avoiDanCe stRategies
Using the following worksheet, list the difficult feelings you try to avoid, your short-term avoidance strategies, and the long-term consequences in your life. Do this for each of the types of avoidance that you employ on a regular basis. Below, we’ve provided a sample worksheet that combines responses from several people with typical avoidance experiences.

Mind and Emotions

avoidance Consequences Worksheet
types of avoidance situational:
avoidance of certain people, places, things, or activities

Bad feeling i want to avoid Feeling closed-in, trapped by people Guilt about divorce Intimidated by people watching me Guilt and depression about growing apart from my wife Fears of injury and disaster Worry about kids getting hurt Fear of criticism and scrutiny by others Fear of failure or inadequacy Afraid of getting robbed or raped Fatigue, exhaustion Excitement, rapid pulse and breathing Sexual arousal, which feels like panic Depressed and lonely

short-term avoidance strategy Stay out of crowded elevators, subways Avoid my son No eye contact or public speaking Distracting sexual fantasies Push the mental images away Constant ritualized prayer Perfectionism, overdoing everything Procrastination, can’t get started on papers Purse stocked with cell phone, whistle, and mace Never exert myself Downplay every success, stay negative Don’t go on dates Bingeing on food

long-term consequences Can’t work downtown Becoming strangers to each other People think I’m antisocial and shifty Never deal with the relationship Getting even more fearful Distracted and alienating my kids Exhausted, criticized for perfectionism Flunking out and depressed Maced my neighbor by mistake, lawsuit Garden and marriage dying People ignore or avoid me Loneliness

Cognitive:
avoidance of certain thoughts, images, or memories

protective:
avoidance of risk through checking, cleaning, perfectionism, procrastination, or carrying lucky charms, a cell phone, mace, and so on

somatic:
avoidance of internal feelings like fast heart rate, palpitations, being out of breath, overheated, tired, excited, sexually aroused

Overweight, depressed, seeking stronger, more and lonely tolerable emotions, Boredom, guilt, and Drink too much, then DUIs, poverty numbness, alcohol, drugs, drive and gamble bingeing on food, gambling, shame risk taking, video games, Anxious about nearly Get lost in computer Girlfriend left me pornography, and so on everything gaming, eBay, porn

substitution:

The Cost of Avoiding Emotions

avoidance Consequences Worksheet
types of avoidance situational:
avoidance of certain people, places, things, or activities

Bad feeling i want to avoid

short-term avoidance strategy

long-term consequences

Cognitive:
avoidance of certain thoughts, images, or memories

protective:
avoidance of risk through checking, cleaning, perfectionism, procrastination, or carrying lucky charms, a cell phone, mace, and so on

somatic:
avoidance of internal feelings like fast heart rate, palpitations, being out of breath, overheated, tired, excited, sexually aroused

substitution:
seeking stronger, more tolerable emotions, numbness, alcohol, drugs, bingeing on food, gambling, risk taking, video games, pornography, and so on

Values in Action

The worksheet below was filled out by Phil, a fifty-four-year-old technical writer for a software company, who’s been feeling depressed, anxious, and guilty. Phil has been married to Anna for fifteen years, and they’ve both put on weight and aren’t feeling very interested in each other sexually or otherwise these days. Phil’s dad died two years ago and Phil was the executor of his dad’s will. He borrowed $4,000 from the estate without telling his two brothers and hasn’t paid it back, and he feels guilty about it. On top of all this, he was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but he hasn’t managed to get on top of checking his blood sugar and changing his diet.

phil’s values Clarification Worksheet
Domain Intimate relationships Parenting Education and learning Friends and social life Physical self-care and health Family of origin Spirituality Community life and citizenship Recreation and leisure Work and career Other: Other: X X X X X X X X X Staying healthy Integrity not important somewhat important very important X value Love for Anna

Mind and Emotions

values Clarification Worksheet
Domain Intimate relationships Parenting Education and learning Friends and social life not important somewhat important very important value

Physical self-care and health Family of origin

Spirituality

Community life and citizenship Recreation and leisure

Work and career

Other:

Other:

Values in Action

Keeping a values in aCtion log
Use the following log to work on your most important two or three domains from the previous exercise over the next ten weeks. In the first column, write your most important domains and the core value you identified for each. Then, in the second column, write your intentions: the things that you’d be doing if you could get past all the painful thoughts and feelings that keep you from acting 100 percent according to your values. Avoid vague, general intentions like “Be more loving” or “Stay calm.” For the purposes of this exercise, describe small, discreet, measurable actions:

• • • •

What you will do exactly: actions and words Whom you will do this with Where and in what situation you will do it When you will do it

Next, visualize yourself doing each of your intentions. Close your eyes and really imagine what it would be like, using all your senses: see yourself and any other people, watch what you do, hear the sounds, smell the smells, feel temperature and textures. Imagine what will be running through your mind and what will be happening in your body. Concentrate on the thoughts and feelings that will be barriers and tend to stop you from following through on your intention. When you have a good sense of the typical barriers to each intention, write them in the “Barriers” column. Finally, commit to putting your values and intentions into action. Use the log to record the number of times you acted on each of your intentions each week. At the end of ten weeks, you’ll have a record of how you did. Here’s a blank worksheet for your use, followed by an example filled out by Phil. We recommend that you continue using the log for other values and intentions in the future, so make several copies and leave the version in the book blank for future use.

Mind and Emotions

values in action log
most important domains and values Domain: value: intentions (in detail: who, what, when, where, how) Barriers number of times i acted on my intention during week number … (feelings and thoughts that keep 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 me from acting on my intentions)

10

Domain: value:

Domain: value:

Values in Action

values in action log
most important domains and values Domain: Intimate Relationships value: Love for Anna intentions (in detail: who, what, when, where, how) Hug Anna when I get home from work. Compliment her appearance or something I appreciate. Barriers number of times i acted on my intention during week number … (feelings and thoughts that keep 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 me from acting on my intentions) Too depressed. 4 4 2 5 4 4 2 1 0

10

3

Resentful of her weight gain.

1

2

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

Domain: Check blood sugar Physical daily. self-care and health No more morning donut. value: Surviving my diabetes Domain: Family of origin value: Integrity

Anxious, depressed, 5 don’t want to know.

4

5

3

1

1

0

0

7

6

Feeling depressed, 4 “I need a treat. One won’t hurt.” Make a salad and Hungry, don’t want 5 veg for dinner. to take the time. Figure principal and interest on my loan from Dad’s estate. Sell coins and railroad collection on eBay. Send money to my brothers. Guilty, rather not 1 even think about it. “I’m greedy.” Feeling of loss. “I love this stuff.” Ashamed, embarrassed. 0

4

4

3

2

0

0

2

5

6

4

3

2

2

0

0

2

5

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

2

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1