Feeling like you are drowning in anxiety? Try DBT Distress Tolerance skill: TIPP

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

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