Let’s face it — you can be a little bit impulsive. Your emotions come on intensely, and it can be difficult to then sit with the distress of upsets, (such as a conflict with a loved one or an issue at work), so you end up turning to habits that you know don’t serve you in the long run. You’ve experienced the consequences of this time and time again. And you want to change this. Yesterday.
Emotionally Sensitive people often (quite understandably!) turn to impulsive behaviors when the emotional pain feels too hard to bear – because it works (in the short term).
It makes sense that you’d repeat these unhealthy behaviors (like substance use, quitting a job or other commitment, lashing out, and self-harm) because acting on them provides a sense of desperately needed relief in the immediate.
But what you’re noticing is this behavior doesn’t take into account the whole picture. The consequences. The damage to your relationships, career, health, and reputation.
Distress tolerance is about learning to tolerate those really difficult, intensely emotional moments in ways that will honor both your short-term need to feel better and your longer-term goals for building a life worth living.
Learning and practicing DBT skills can help you get there.
Recognize and better understand your impulsive behaviors and have a proven toolbox of strategies and skills that can help reduce them significantly. We’ll go through effective strategies step-by-step.
Mindfulness skills are woven in throughout the curriculum while learning distress tolerance skills.
This module can help with the following…
Your Emotions Get So Overwhelming They’re Unbearable and…
- upsets quickly escalate to feeling like a crisis
- even small amounts of stress feel overwhelming
- you worry each time that the intense episode will last forever
Stressful Situations over which you have no control:
- leave you feeling powerless
- cause you to want to “check out,” or you actually do dissociate
You Often Feel Triggered and…
- find yourself avoiding, numbing, denying, or suppressing the trigger and emotions
- you try to make yourself feel better but often end up feeling worse
Tentative Syllabus for Distress Tolerance (subject to change)
Week 1: Distress Tolerance Orientation & Wise Mind
Week 2: Radical Acceptance
Week 3: Skillful Distracting vs. Avoidance (Wise Mind ACCEPTS)
Week 4: Fostering a Witness Mind (Observe, Describe, Participate)
Week 5: Describing (cont’d) & Self-Soothing Your Nervous System
Week 6: IMPROVE the Moment
Week 7: Pros & Cons, DBT Style
Week 8: Urge Surfing (and neuroscience nugget on neurons)
Week 9: Changing Your Mood Through Chemistry (TIP and Half-Smile)
Week 10: Coping Thoughts & Strategies
Week 11: Bridge Burning, DBT Style
Week 12: STOP Skill & Module Recap