Distress Tolerance

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by an emotion and as a result, acted on that emotion, only to regret it later? I know I have. We’ve all experienced a moment when we've responded with an emotionally-charged text or email, later wishing we had never pressed send.
When your child is struggling with intense emotions, it can be challenging to help them feel calm and in control. Intense emotions often escalate quickly, making it difficult to use problem-solving skills during a challenging situation. Parents, and individuals working with children, often forget that the developing mind doesn’t process as quickly as an adult brain, thus making it hard to self-soothe and regulate strong feelings.
The holiday season can bring up a plethora of emotions for all of us and these emotions can be positive, negative, and everything in between. All these emotions, combined with seasonal triggers, can make for some very overwhelming thoughts and can leave us prone to mood swings and emotional dysregulation. While people mean well this time of year, hearing "Happy Holidays!" over and over again can feel a bit invalidating or can invoke feelings like sadness or disappointment if life hasn’t felt so happy lately.
Test anxiety and the pressure to perform academically or professionally can be detrimental to one's self-esteem. Even some of the most brilliant people can struggle with managing their emotions when it comes to high-pressured situations like presentations, taking tests or speaking in front of others. If your child is showing signs of anxiety around school or if you are feeling overwhelmed about work, the tools in this post will be helpful.
Radical acceptance is a skill we teach in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that aims to help you move from anger and pain to acceptance of the realities of life. It is the key to feeling more in control of your emotions. We all face situations in life that interfere with our mental health and overall happiness and learning how to radically accept them can make a profound difference in your life.
Many of us deal with stress and frustration multiple times each day. From delays on the subway to friendship or family drama, these events can interfere with your mood and create more emotional dysregulation if they are pushed away or ignored. During these times, the IMPROVE skill, developed by Marsha Linehan, can be used to reduce the intensity of their emotions in any kind of situation and feel more in control of their lives.
For most of us, smartphones have become extensions of our hands. We rely on them for so much: to connect us to friends and family, to check the time, to manage our busy schedules, and if you’re in DBT therapy, to call your therapist for skills coaching. Our phones can be assets to our day, and they can also be distractions, leading us down a path of time-wasting and mindlessness. They can be reminders of all the stress in our lives, all the to-dos, and can be vehicles of jealousy and “FOMO” when on social media.
In light of the contentious 2016 Presidential election, no matter which candidate you voted for, many people are feeling burnt out, sad, defeated and depressed. There is an apparent rift in our country, which trickles down to challenges in our own circles of friends and family. Social media is swarming with articles and arguments. People are being de-friended on the Internet and in real life. Some teenagers are being bullied across the country for their political beliefs. Many people are feeling unsafe. Some people are feeling happy.

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily stressors of everyday life.   We all have experienced the feelings of being stressed and overwhelmed or...