Life is full of challenges, from everyday stressors to major life events that shake us to our core. These challenges can test our ability to cope with difficult emotions and situations. Coping with life’s challenges can be overwhelming, but there are ways to help manage stress and find inner peace. One such way is through using dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) distress tolerance skills.
Distress tolerance skills are DBT skills that help individuals cope with intense and distressing emotions. They are essential for managing difficult situations and building resilience in the face of adversity. DBT is a type of therapy that emphasizes acceptance, mindfulness, and balance in order to better manage emotions and cope with life’s challenges. Here are a few DBT distress tolerance skills that can be helpful when navigating challenging times:
1. Radical acceptance: This skill involves accepting a situation as it is, without judgment or resistance. It’s about acknowledging that some things in life are out of our control and learning to accept what we cannot change. Radical acceptance does not mean endorsing or approving of the situation, but rather recognizing that it exists and accepting it as reality. This helps to reduce the distress that comes from fighting against reality and allows for a more rational response to the situation.
2. Self-soothing: Self-soothing involves finding ways to comfort and soothe oneself during difficult times. This can include engaging in activities that bring us joy, such as reading a book or watching a favorite TV show, taking a warm bath or shower, or spending time in nature. Self-soothing helps to reduce distress and promote feelings of well-being and relaxation.
3. Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment, without judgment or distraction. This skill helps to reduce stress and anxiety by promoting a state of calm and focus. It can be practiced through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply being aware of one’s surroundings.
4. Distract and cope: This skill involves finding healthier ways to cope with difficult emotions by distracting oneself from the situation at hand. This can include engaging in activities such as exercise, creative hobbies, or spending time with loved ones. Distracting oneself from distressing emotions allows for a break and can help to shift focus to more positive experiences.
5. Improve the moment: This skill involves finding ways to make the present moment more tolerable through small changes. For example, taking a moment to enjoy a warm cup of tea or lighting a scented candle can create a more pleasant experience in the moment. Improving the moment can help to reduce distress by creating a positive environment, even in difficult situations.
Life’s challenges can often feel overwhelming, but by practicing DBT distress tolerance skills, individuals can learn to manage difficult emotions and find inner peace. These skills can be practiced in therapy sessions or on one’s own and can be a valuable tool in navigating challenging times. With time and practice, individuals can develop resilience and healthy coping mechanisms that can be used throughout their lives.