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Living Fully and New

There are new beginnings! Even when life feels like it is in a rut, new beginnings are also there. Each day has new beginnings, this newsletter has new beginnings, and even our life stresses have new beginnings. It is healthy to learn to live each day, even each minute, as a new, fresh opportunity to experience life. One image is that of a new gift, which is wrapped and can be opened, filling us with expectancy and curiosity.


Yet for as hopeful and positive those words are, the reality of life is that it often feels old and we think that we already know what is going to happen. Some of this is wisdom as we learn from what we have already experienced. However, some of this is old life experience robbing us of the new joys of discovery. Mental health, as opposed to mental hurt, can be characterized by the ability to flexibly use our mind in ways that help us live meaningful lives according to our values.


One evidence-based therapy model that describes this is from 3rd-wave CBT, called DNA-V. As you read about DNA-V, think about which modes you tend to go into the most. Again, many people are healthiest when they can switch between modes as needed. One common sign of poor mental health is when adults overly use the “A-Advisor.” Read below to see if you think that might be you.


The “D” in DNA-V stands for “Discoverer.” The discoverer (D) brain skill helps us to broaden our abilities and make new connections. We use our discoverer brain when we try new things, build our strengths, and jump into an experience (even before you are confident). The noticer brain skill helps us to be aware of signals. It helps us to watch our thoughts and feelings while also being aware of our bodies. By stepping back and noticing, we can then decide what to respond to (and what to let go of). The advisor brain skill is our self-talk. We all have an inner voice who is talking to us and giving us tips and tricks. Unfortunately, it can also be pretty judgy, make negative predictions, and be guilt-inducing. When healthy, we listen to the helpful tips from our advisor and defuse from the unhelpful tips. We also learn to know what is helpful and unhelpful.


But what’s the point of having