Annette Pasternak's very first stop skin picking coaching client, Carly talks about her journey and the strategies that have been most helpful to her in the long-term. Number one is logging, tracking her picking daily. She uses different methods of monitoring picking, from the SkinPick app to a simple calendar tracking method.
Tracking daily skin picking activity is a mindful practice that can help in a number of ways.
A mindful practice
What do we mean by mindful practice? Mindfulness is the process of being present in the moment, aware of thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can help you separate of the behavior of skin picking from your identity and objectively evaluate where you are and where you want to be.
We think we know a lot about our habits, but tracking them provide revealing insights. In the early stages of treatment, identifying habits, triggers, and behaviors related to skin picking helps to formulate a treatment plan consistent with your goals. Think of tracking as a way to investigate how the skin picking disorder affects your life.
As your awareness of your habits increased, you can make decisions about how you would like to change.
Tracking picking behavior and recognizing patterns allows you to take steps to control it. For example, let's say you recognize that the compulsion to pick increases following being around certain people because it leads to stress. Then, you can experiment with different skills. You may decide to avoid those people or spend less time with them to see what happens. By tracking, you can determine if there is a difference. In addition, if you have to be around those people, you can experiment with with different coping skills before, during, and after to see if those have any effect.
Tracking picking and the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that accompany it also allows for objective evaluation. For example, if by tracking your habits you learn that you spend 12 hours per week picking, one of your treatment goals may be to find ways to decrease it. Then, when you implement strategies and track your time, you may find out you decrease to 9 hours per week. Without tracking, you may feel like you have not decreased enough, but with tracking, you can note your progress and celebrate success no matter how small.
There are many reasons tracking picking behavior can help during treatment. Not everyone stops picking completely, but tracking can help you on your way to feeling like you can control the behavior.