LIFE AFTER BPD
DISTRESS TOLERANCE –(DISTRACTING – A.C.C.E.P.T.S)
Distress tolerance is about accepting reality, events as they happen, but this does not mean you approve of them. It is very important to observe the difference between acceptance and approval. Acceptance is an example of using non-judgmental stance and describing. This will help you to tolerate crisis and distress, reacting to it in a safer and more manageable manner.
- Distract with Activities – Go for a walk, go for a run, sing, swim, train the dog, watch videos on youtube, blog, watch films, watch TV, draw, paint, write poetry, play with photoshop, take pictures (The list goes on. Do what ever you need to do to distract you from the distress you are feeling. Be one-mindful in whatever you do).
- Distract with Contributing – Do nice for someone, help someone out. This will take your attention from your own pain and allow you to concentrate on concern for someone else.
- Distract with Comparisons – Some people think this works, others don’t, so you need to make your own mind up on this one. Compare yourself to how you were when you were in even more distress and observe how far you have come, and how much better you are dealing with things. Compare yourself to other people in the same situation and observe the way they are dealing with things. Watch dramas and documentaries and compare your situation with one that is much worse.
- Distract with Opposite Emotions – Whatever you are feeling, do something to promote the complete opposite emotion. If you are feeling down, watch a comedy and find yourself laughing out loud. If you are feeling manic, watch a drama that will make you cry. The theory is that promoting the opposite reaction shakes up your emotions and releases you from the emotion you have become trapped in.
- Distract by Pushing Away – Imagine yourself pushing the stressful situation away from yourself as hard as you can, and then building a wall around yourself. Imagine putting the emotional pain in a box, with a lock, on a shelf. When the thought tries to return, refuse to let it. Direct your concentration to other, more positive thoughts. Note: This method doesn’t resolve the problem, but it gives you temporary respite from the distress
- Distract with Other Thoughts – In an emergency situation, the quickest and simplest way to use this method is to count things; tiles, stairs, marks, stars – anything that you can concentrate on, and stop yourself from thinking of the stressful situation you are in. Where there is less urgency, you can use books, meditation, writing poetry; anything to keep your thoughts away from the emotional pain.
- Distract with Other Sensations – A strong sensation has the ability to jog your emotions and break the connection between yourself and your emotional pain – enough to allow you to then distract using the methods discussed above. Examples of strong sensations could be snapping an elastic band on your wrist, ice cubes on your skin, cold water, putting your head out of a moving car window in the wind (be careful with this!!!).