6 Amazing Distress Tolerance Skills

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distress tolerance skills
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Managing stress is an arduous task. Stress pops up in the middle of a perfect life. It can create emotional, physical, or mental crises.

One must be handy with the ‘stress tool kit’ for limiting the degrading stress or epitome of distress. To build your cooling mechanism, try out distress tolerance skills.

Distress tolerance skills are a toolkit that comprises techniques that you can practice whenever stress attacks.

Before we leap to our distress tolerance skills and learn about them, we must recognize what distress is and when we need to take out the distress toolkit.

How Stress Transforms Into Distress

Distress or Discharging stress is different from stress.

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Distress means when you are all exhausted and on the verge of giving up. It snatches your motivation and, you might feel not to go ahead with your daily routine even.

Physical, mental or, emotional melting is very much a part of distress. Slowly and gradually, stress piles on to transform into distress.

To have a better insight of symptoms and how to cope with distress. Click here.

DBT And Distress Tolerance Skills.

Marsha M. Linehan gives us Dialectical behavior therapy. DBT distress tolerance skills are a modified approach of CBT

  • DBT or dialectal behavior therapy commonly works to increase awareness about the triggers that persuade reactions.
  •  It also helps in assessing the coping skills to get out the distress.
  • It helps in regulating emotions and thoughts in painful situations.

Dialectical behavior therapy DBT works in borderline personality disorder. DBT skills help in improving mental health and self-harm thoughts.

What Are Distress Tolerance Skills?

Dialectical behavior therapy DBT consists of distress tolerance DBT skills develop to soothe a person. When you are feeling overwhelmed or caught in any self-harm act, these skills help you to manage. Mainly distress tolerance skills work on three links of behavioral chain that are

1. Know yourself inside out.

2. Check your thoughts, emotions, and stress levels.

3. Try to locate its root cause and change your behavior.

Distress tolerance techniques include

1st Skill: TIPP

2nd Skill: Self-soothing techniques

3rd Skill: STOP

4th Skill: Pros and Cons

5th Skill: IMPROVE

6th Skill: Radical acceptance

1st Skill: TIPP or Temperature, Intense Exercise, Paced Breathin and, Paired muscle relaxation.

If you are looking for some quick fixes to avoid those self-harm thoughts, TIPP will help you. It is among the distress tolerance skill that will help you to cool down in seconds.

distress tolerance skills
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Let’s understand TIPP in brief.

1. Temperature

The very first move is to control your increased temperature. Whenever you are under stress, your thoughts and emotions juggle up and also increases your body temperature.

In such situations, your body’s cooling system works harder but, the result is disappointing.

Water is at your rescue to manage the temperature. Sip cold water, and you can also splash some cold water to get quick relief.

2. Intense Exercise

Your increased energies need some let-out to make you feel easy.

The best thing one can do is to practice intense exercises to deviate your mind.

But what are you planning to do when you are in distress? Run from desk to desk? Jumping ropes at your seminar?

Intense exercise needs to be office, school, or party-friendly. Not much but, you can try high jumps or brisk walking next time whenever you are distressed.

3. Paced Breathing

Distress increases your blood pressure, and paced breathing, keeps a check on it.

In paced breathing person needs to inhale profusely, counting up to 3, hold your breath for a second, and release.

Rhythmic breathing maintains body temperature and lowers blood pressure which reduces further chances of health deterioration. It also helps you whenever you are in emotional pain.

4. Paired Muscle Relaxation

Stress not only builds up in your mind but also makes your body and muscles stiff. It increases pressure in muscles and makes you feel more stress physically.

How can you relax your muscles? You can self soothe in three steps try, this with your limbs

1. Stretch your arms muscles, hold them till you count 5, release, and relax.

2. Stretch your legs, hold and relax.

3. Raise your shoulders, bring them near your ear hold, them till you count 5. Now drop your shoulders. It will relax your neck and shoulder muscles.

Try not to create extra pressure on your muscles.

2nd skill: Self-Soothing Skills

It is not easy to think of an exercise or activity when you are in an emotional crisis. But your senses can help you through.

The next on the list of distress tolerance skills are self-soothing using your five senses as your distress tolerance toolkit.

1. Focus Your Sight On Something Else.

Use your eyes to focus on your surroundings. Start counting the number of lights, fans, or even tables and chairs to divert your focus.

With deviated mind, your agitation will soothe in seconds.

2. Hear Your Favorite Song

What you hear is very powerful in determining your mood. If you ever encounter distress, focusing on sounds in your surroundings.

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Image from Shutterstock

Focus on sound in ambiance it, could birds sing outside or put on your earphones and turn on the radio.

Have a soothing playlist on your phone.

3. Eat Something

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Image from Shutterstock

To suppress that surging distress volcano, keep some toffee or chewing gums in your pocket. Food uplifts your mood and makes you feel better.

4. Smell The Fragrances Around

Next on the self-soothing list is your nose. Whatever comes to your nose, whether good or bad smell, focuses on it.

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Image from Shutterstock

Focus on your room freshener or any other smell that comes to your nose.

5. Feel What Is In Your Hands

Concentrate on what is in your hand to self-soothe yourself. If you are holding a file, try to feel it. Run your fingers on your file and try to feel its texture.

If you are standing touch, and feel the texture of your clothes.

6. Move Around The Area.

Apart from using your five senses, you can pace up your movement. Whether to get out of emotional turbulence or to release tension in muscles, move your body.

Hike around your office or tune in to your favorite song and move your hands and legs.

3rd Skill: STOP or Don’t React. Take some time, Observe Around And Proceed With A Wise Mind.

distress tolerance skills
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It is the easiest to practice distress tolerance skills.

S-stop tells a person to wait and not to move ahead with a stressful mind or whenever you feel emotional pain.

T-take time to react allows you to cool down or if you find any situation intimidating, take a step back.

O-observe here means focusing on what is your feeling? What exactly, this emotion is? What is its root cause?

P-Proceed in a composed manner. This last step of proceeding is preceded by looking at your emotions, mental and physical state. Then control your emotions add making a wise move.

4th Skill: Pros And Cons

It could not be easy to make wise choices, especially when you are not in a perfect frame of mind. Still, dialectal behavior therapy DBT suggests another technique that is Pros and cons.

Before reacting, it is beneficial to make a list of the Pros and cons of your behavior.

Do mind mapping to analyze the Pros of your behavior. It helps in deciding what to do next.

5th skill: IMPROVE Or Imagine, Meaning, Prayer, Relaxation, One Thing In The Moment, Vacation, And Encouragement

1. Imagine

When you have freedom in your thoughts, imagine you are out of a difficult situation.

Imagine something positive. Whatever is stressing, you have overcome that situation. I

2. Meaning

Situations are lessoning you try to find something good in a state of affairs. Try to find out meaningful takeaways so you can see situations as opportunities.

3. Prayer

Praying brings in solace. It calms your nerves. Just surrender your hardships to God and the universe and let the angel spirit be your guide.

4. Relaxation

Relax your mind, body, and soul. Distress makes you feel heavy and physically exhausted.

Try out some relaxing exercises to regain your lost energies.

5. One Thing In The Moment.

Calm down and focus on a thing instead of working out different works. Channelize your energies in that task.

6. Vacation

Plan a trip it, can also be a small road trip or stay on vacation as long as you want.

De-stress yourself and prepare for new challenges ahead.

7. Encouragement

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It’s the perfect time to encourage yourself to use encouraging affirmations.

I can do this. I am capable of facing challenges.

6th Skill: Radical Acceptance

The hardest thing is to accept. Radical acceptance is to know your negative feeling, accepting, furthermore dealing with them.

Predominantly, we run from reality. Face up to your feelings releases all build-up.

Radical acceptance is a technique of accepting what you are feeling in the moment. If you are afraid of your presentation, you need to accept it and start some positive self-talk.

Distress Tolerance Skills – The Final Word

DBT Distress tolerance skills are helpful in borderline personality disorder. It employs a set of skills to cope with a stressful situation. It improves mental health and, the skills are outrightly supportive if you want some quick fixes for distress.

These skills make use of distraction. It increases your tolerance.

To read more interesting articles, click here.

Infographic That Explains Why Are Emotion Regulation Skills Important
Icy Health

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Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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