We’ve all been there—a tidal wave of negative emotions is crashing over you. Your distress meter is high and you are sent into emotion mind—your thoughts and behaviors are controlled by your emotions. Your eating disorder voice is gaining momentum. How can I escape? How can I make these emotions stop?
Distress tolerance skills are aids to use when your distress is excessive and you don’t want to make the situation worse! When you feel sad over a break-up, but you know that skipping lunch will only make recovery harder. When you feel angry at your friend, but you know that a cruel text may end the relationship. When you desperately want to purge, but you know it will make your stomach hurt and fill you with shame.
One of my favorite DBT skills is Distress Tolerance: SELF-SOOTHE. Self-soothing are ways we can comfort, nurture and be kind to ourselves. You can use the following 6 senses: Vision, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch and Movement to put your skills into categories. Here are some of my favorites:
Vision: Pictures of my nephews, sky full of stars, colorful trees, snow falling.
Hearing: Waves crashing, rain, calming music, fan humming.
Touch: My favorite sweats, fluffy blanket, massage, hugs.
Taste: Chocolate chip mint ice cream, hot chocolate, gummy bears, mint.
Smell: Freshly brewed coffee, pumpkin spice, lavender, evergreen, nature.
Movement: Rocking in a rocking chair or hammock, stretching, yoga, walking.
Instead of being self-destructive, engage in ways that increase comfort and pleasure. I suggest you make a “self-soothe” card of your favorite ways to self-soothe. You can also create a self-soothe kit (a shoe box or basket will work!).
We can recover one day at a time.