How to Deal with Negative Emotions – Distress Tolerance
I’ve talked about dialectical behavior therapy or DBT as the best treatment for borderline personality disorder. But modified forms of DBT can be helpful for other conditions like bipolar disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Today I’m going to teach you one of the many techniques that is used with DBT to be able to manage your emotions. It’s called distress tolerance. Distress tolerance is the skill of being able to accept the emotion that you’re feeling without resorting to coping behaviors that make your situation and overall condition worse.
Mindful Acceptance Template
Recognize and allow the emotion
Try to think of a more intense form of your emotion. Examples instead of sad, maybe you are distraught or crushed. Instead of mad, you are disgusted or appalled, instead of afraid you are worried, terrified or crazed
Then say I am feeling [emotion], It’s ok, I can allow myself to feel this. . I’m not bad because I have this feeling and I can allow myself to have it. I’m going to make space for it. I do not need to be afraid of it because I’m not going to [do some drastic or destructive action]. I can control myself. So I don’t need to get rid of this feeling.
Watch the Emotion:
Let me watch this [emotion] and see what it does. While I’m watching it, I’m going to call it what it is. [name the emotion(s)]. I don’t have to get caught up in it. Where do I notice the emotion in my body? I notice it in [body part]. I feel [sensation from the impact of the emotion]. But it’s just an emotion, nothing more and nothing less.
I am not my emotions. I simply watch my emotions.
My [emotion] is like an ocean wave. I’m not going struggle and fight the wave. I’m going to go with it and float with it. I may even ride the wave to shore.
I’m going to turn my attention back to what I am doing now. First I’m going to notice what’s going on with all five senses. What can I feel or touch, what do I hear? What do I see in front of me. What do I smell? What do I taste?
I’m going to turn my attention to my breaths. My breath is my anchor for the present moment. I take note of how I inhale and then how I exhale.
When the emotion comes back
When the emotion returns, I say, that’s ok. That’s what emotions do, they come and they go. I’m going to watch it again. I will let it sit in the room with me. Or I may float up and down with it again like the ocean wave.
Disclaimer: All of the information on this channel is for educational purposes and not intended to be specific/personal medical advice from me to you. Watching the videos or getting answers to comments/question, does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. If you have your own doctor, perhaps these videos can help prepare you for your discussion with your doctor.