How to reduce emotional distress? Tips to follow | Health - Hindustan Times

How to reduce emotional distress? Tips to follow

By, Delhi
Dec 24, 2023 04:46 PM IST

From radical acceptance to self-soothing skills, here are a few ways to reduce emotional distress.

Often, we feel overburdened with stress. This can happen due to a lot of reasons – from anxiety at work to family conflicts to the fear of abandonment from past experiences. With the holiday season here, emotional distress can accelerate with family, relatives and their difficult questions around. "Distress tolerance skills can be helpful to practice on times of stress and overwhelm. DBT is a therapy style that focuses a lot on distress tolerance and can be helpful for those that experience heightened emotional distress a lot," wrote Psychologist Bec McWilliam as she shared a few tips on how to manage emotional distress.

How to reduce emotional distress? Tips to follow(Unsplash)
How to reduce emotional distress? Tips to follow(Unsplash)

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What is distress tolerance?

Psychologist Bec McWilliam explained distress tolerance as the capability of a person to take control of their responses, reactions, words and actions in times of extreme anxiety and stress. People with good distress tolerance can manage themselves in difficult situations and calm themselves without ending up saying or doing things that they will regret later. However, people with low distress tolerance may have a difficult time managing such situations.

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Here are a few distress tolerance skills that can help us:

Radical acceptance: This is the sense of accepting things the way they are. The mistake we often make in difficult situations is trying to figure out how to fix things to make it better. But sometimes just accepting things the way they are, can take away the pressure of trying to fix things to fit our idea of normal.

Self-soothing: When the body feels threatened in certain situations, we should learn to soothe ourselves. Hugging something soft or smelling a scent that provides us with comfort or taking a long bath can wear off the stress from the body and let the nervous system know that we are in a safe space.

TIPP skill: Changing the body's temperature, doing some intense exercises, paced breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help us to feel better and distract ourselves from stressful situations.

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