I want to explain one of my favorite distress tolerance skills. It is sometimes difficult to come home after a long day at work and realize I still have to do dishes, or laundry, walk the dog, shower and respond to emails, and ask my husband how his day was. Before I know it my distress is in full swing, and now nothing is going to get done. The idea behind distress tolerance isn’t to completely get rid of the distress. Naturally, that to do list is going to be stressful. With a distress tolerance skill, it will help lessen the level of distress so that the tasks at hand can be completed while maintaining sanity. I use TIPP most often, it is used when emotional arousal is high and the brain is struggling to process information. TIPP stands for:
T = Temperature
Using something cold to decrease heart rate automatically such as splashing your face with water, or holding ice cubes in your hand.
I = Intense exercise
Increasing your heart rate for a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) is a way to again, automatically change the body’s reaction.
P = Paced breathing
Slow your breathing and breathe in for 4 and out for 6-8 seconds. Do this for a couple minutes to bring down emotional arousal.
P = Progressive muscle relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is based upon the simple practice of tensing, or tightening, one muscle group at a time followed by a relaxation phase with release of the tension