Distress Tolerance skills are used when we are unable, unwilling, or it would be
inappropriate to change a situation. It's important to use the right
skills at the right time. In order to change a situation or emotion, we
would use Emotion Regulation skills.
Distress Tolerance skills are used
to help us cope and survive during a crisis, and helps us tolerate short term or
long term pain (physical or emotional pain).
Acceptance means being
willing to experience a situation as it is, rather than how we want it to be.
Not to be willing (wilfulness) means trying to impose our will on a situation.
A willingness to accept things as they are, not as we think they should be.
Repeatedly 'turning the
mind'. To be in the actual situation you are in, rather than the situation
you think you're in, or think you should be in. Your mind is always going
to give you other ideas, interpretations, reminding you of old strategies.
Each time your mind wanders and you notice these other thoughts and images,
simply bring your attention back to this moment. Not judging the situation
to be good, or bad, or in any way. Simply bringing your attention back to
this moment, this situation, and being effective in this situation.
You may need to 'turn your
mind' many many times in a short space of time.
What Radical Acceptance is
Not judging the situation to
Not giving permission for
the situation to go on forever
Not giving up your options
It can help
to use memory aids to remind us of how we can help ourselves during distressing
Vacation – take some time out of the situation, 'me' time, or imagining
yourself on an idyllic beautiful holiday
Encouragement – positive and calming self talk
Wise Mind ACCEPTS
(see distraction ideas below)
– helping others
– comparing self with (better) self
E Emotions –
generate different emotions by watching movie/tv, listening to music etc
away – thinking about or putting our attention onto something else
- new thoughts. E.g. counting, playing 10 (10 colours in room,
10 musical instruments, 10 fruits, 10 Bond films etc)
– use seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching senses
helps us feel better by diverting our attention away from the distressing
thoughts. It works even better if you choose something that will really grab
your attention and keep you absorbed in that activity. Different things work
for different people. It’s worth trying and practising many of those listed,
and more that you think of yourself, a few times each before giving up on it.