Drowning in Stress? Try DBT Distress Tolerance Techniques to Stay Afloat

Stress has become an all-too-common aspect of our modern lives. With demanding work schedules, financial burdens, personal relationships, and the constant pressure to meet societal expectations, it’s no wonder that many of us feel like we’re drowning in stress. But there is hope. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) offers a set of distress tolerance techniques that can help us stay afloat amidst the overwhelming waves of stress.

DBT is a therapy approach developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan, initially designed to treat individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder. However, its set of distress tolerance techniques has proven effective for a wide range of mental health issues, including stress management.

Here are some DBT distress tolerance techniques that can serve as a life jacket when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

1. Distract yourself: When stress starts to consume your thoughts, it’s crucial to find healthy distractions. Engage in activities that divert your attention away from stressful thoughts, such as reading a book, listening to music, taking a walk, or even watching a movie. By focusing on something different, you give yourself a temporary break from stress.

2. Self-soothe: Sometimes, the best remedy for stress is taking care of yourself. Engage in activities that promote relaxation and comfort. This could include taking a warm bath, practicing deep breathing exercises, using aromatherapy, or indulging in a favorite hobby. Self-soothing activities can help calm your nervous system and stabilize your emotions.

3. Improve the moment: In stressful situations, it’s essential to find ways to improve the present moment. This could involve using positive affirmations, visualization techniques, or engaging your senses in enjoyable experiences. By actively seeking out ways to improve the moment, you reduce the intensity of stress and gain a sense of control over your emotions.

4. Radical acceptance: One of the key concepts in DBT is radical acceptance, which means fully accepting reality as it is without judgment. It involves acknowledging and understanding that stress is a part of life, and resisting or fighting against it only amplifies our suffering. By practicing radical acceptance, we can reduce our resistance to stress and focus our energy on finding adaptive ways to cope.

5. Mindfulness: Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can greatly reduce stress levels. Mindfulness involves bringing your attention to the present moment, without judgment or attachment to thoughts and emotions. Practice meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply take a moment to observe your surroundings. Mindfulness helps cultivate a sense of calm and clarity, allowing you to better navigate stressful situations with a focused and grounded mindset.

6. Build a support network: It’s crucial to have a support system that you can rely on during times of stress. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals who can offer support, guidance, and a listening ear. Having someone who understands and validates your struggles can be incredibly comforting and help alleviate stress.

Remember, implementing distress tolerance techniques takes practice. It may not always be easy, and it’s okay to reach out for professional help if needed. But by incorporating these DBT techniques into your life, you can start to feel more empowered and better equipped to stay afloat amidst the storm of stress. Don’t let stress drag you down. Try DBT’s distress tolerance techniques and give yourself the lifeline you deserve.