Now that you’ve learned some healthy and effective ways to distract yourself when you become overwhelmed by painful emotions, you’ll need to learn new ways to help soothe yourself (Johnson, 1985; Linehan, 1993b).
Remember, these next skills will give you the second step in your plan to distract, relax, and cope.
The activities in this section will help you relax. Then, later in this book, you’ll learn specific skills to cope with problematic situations. These will include emotion regulation skills, mindfulness skills, and interpersonal effectiveness skills. Learning to relax and soothe yourself is very important for many reasons. When you’re relaxed, your body feels better. It also functions in a healthier way. In a state of relaxation, your heart beats more slowly and your blood pressure is reduced.
Your body is no longer in a state of constant emergency, preparing to either confront a stressful situation or run away from it. As a result, it’s easier for your brain to think of healthier ways to cope with your problems. Included here are some simple relaxation and soothing activities that utilize your five senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch. These activities are meant to bring you a small amount of peace in your life. So if one of these activities doesn’t help you feel relaxed, or makes you feel worse, don’t do it. Try something else.
And remember, each one of us is different. For example, some people will become more relaxed by listening to music and others will find that taking a hot bubble bath works for them. As you explore this list, think about what works best for you and be willing to try something new if it sounds exciting.
Distress Tolerance Skills:
- DISTRESS TOLERANCE SKILLS
- RADICAL ACCEPTANCE
- DISTRACT YOURSELF FROM SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIORS
- DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH PLEASURABLE ACTIVITIES
- DISTRACT YOURSELF BY PAYING ATTENTION TO SOMEONE ELSE
- DISTRACT YOUR THOUGHTS
- DISTRACT YOURSELF BY LEAVING
- DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH TASKS AND CHORES
- DISTRACT YOURSELF BY COUNTING
- CREATE YOUR DISTRACTION PLAN
- RELAX AND SOOTHE YOURSELF
- Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Smell
- Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Touch
- Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Taste
- Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Hearing
- Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Vision
- Self-Soothing – CREATE A RELAXATION PLAN
Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills:
- Advanced Distress Tolerance Skills: Improve the Moment
- SAFE-PLACE VISUALIZATION
- CUE-CONTROLLED RELAXATION
- REDISCOVER YOUR VALUES
- SELF-ENCOURAGING COPING THOUGHTS
- TAKE A TIME-OUT
- LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
- IDENTIFY YOUR HIGHER POWER
- ADVANCED RADICAL ACCEPTANCE