Distress is a naturally unpleasant experience. It is designed to make us avoid that situation or run away altogether. Sometimes though, our distress reaction does match the circumstances we’re in. If you find your distressed in situations where this may not be appropriate or in ways that are impacting your life and work, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy might be for you.
Part of DBT is the process of “distress tolerance”. This learning how to accept discomfort and difficult emotions, without aligning with them. We can’t change every situation. So learning to manage or cope through situations of crisis or challenge can help us tolerate short term or long term pain. In doing so, we can prevent engaging in short term, impulsive “fixes” like substance use or self destructive behaviour.
There are a number of skills that make this important skill possible. These might include crisis survival techniques, sensory body awareness or reality acceptance. Ultimately, the goal is to help you stop, recognise the situation and carefully consider your reaction.
If learning to control your actions, behaviours and thoughts in challenging situations is something that might help you, DBT is a great place to begin learning these skills.