Or, try our Distress Tolerance Interactive Skill Guide 👇



Stop! Don’t react. Just freeze. Remember, you are in control of your emotions.

Take a step back

Take a step back from the situation. Give yourself some time and space to relax and think about how to deal with the crisis.


Observe what’s happening around you and in your body. Stick to the facts.

proceed mindfully

Proceed mindfully. What are your goals in this situation? Ask your Wise Mind how to deal effectively with the situation. When you’re calm, in control, and have a clear view of the situation, you’re more effective at dealing with the crisis.

Pros & Cons


Use this skill when you have a decision to make.

Use this skill when you have crisis urges. “Crisis urges” are urges to engage in behaviors that tend to offer immediate relief but make the situation worse in the long run (for example: giving up, giving in, avoiding, escaping, or numbing out).

1. If you’ve already completed a Pros & Cons, find it and review it!

2.If you don’t have it on hand get a piece of paper and make a 4-square table like the one shown below👇

3. List the pros and cons of acting on your crisis urge, and the pros and cons of tolerating your distress (acting skillfully)

4. Besides each item, note if there are long-term and/or short-term consequences.

Pros of Acting on your Urge


Cons of Acting on your Urge


Pros of Resisting your Urge (with DBT Skills)


Cons of Resisting your Urge (with DBT Skills)


Review this list over and over to avoid engaging in future crisis behaviors.



Use these skills when you need to reduce emotional distress fast!*

Repeat or try different TIP skills as necessary👇

Tipping the Temperature

1. Fill a bowl, or the sink, with cold water. Ice water is best, but cold water will work. Alternatively, use an ice pack.

2. Bend at the waist and submerge your face in the water for AT LEAST 30 seconds.

*NOTE: If you have a heart condition or are taking a beta-blocker for high blood pressure, consult with a health care provider before trying this skill.

Intense exercise

Engage in intense exercise for 5 to 15 minutes. Jumping jacks are great if you're in a confined space. Or, just follow this video.

*Intense exercise will increase heart rate. Consult your health care provider before using these skills if you have a heart or medical condition, a lowered base heart rate due to medications, take a beta-blocker, are allergic to cold, or have an eating disorder.

Paced Breathing

1. The goal is to exhale longer than you inhale. For example, inhaling for a count of 4, exhaling for a count of 6.
2. Set a 2-minute timer on your phone.
3. Start the timer and inhale deeply into your belly and then exhale more slowly. 

Paired Muscle Relaxation

1. Start at either the very top of your body, like your forehead, or at the bottom, with your toes. Tighten up your muscles group by group, first tensing the muscles as hard as you can and then releasing.
2. As you release, silently say the word “relax,” and let go of the tension. 
3. Practice this exercise for a few minutes or up to 45 minutes.


Use these skills to distract yourself from what's stressing you out in the moment.


Pick an highly engaging activity that will keep your attention away from what's stressing you out! For example:
- Watch a favorite show
- play a video game or do a puzzle
- clean up a room or an area of your home
- hang out with a friend or someone in your family
- read a book


Focus on helping someone else out. For example:
- Help a friend or family member with a project
- Donate items you no longer need
- Surprising a co-worker with a coffee
- Send a “thinking of you” text to someone you care about


Cultivate a sense of gratitude by doing one of the following:
- remind yourself how fortunate you are in some areas of your life
- Remember the progress you have made in an area of your life (even when more progress is needed)
- Think about others who may be dealing with similar issues and connect with a sense of common humanity. 


Active opposite emotions from what you're feeling right now. For example:
- If you're feeling down, listen to uplifting music
- If you're feeling anxious, listen to relaxing music
- If you're feeling scared, watch a comedy show

Pushing Away

Give yourself a break from your thoughts, picture yourself doing it:
- Build an imaginary wall of bricks between your and your problems
- Take a picture of your current situation and put it in a box that you can place on the shelf
- Image your thoughts on a piece of paper that you fold into a paper airplane and send off into the wind


Take your mind off your problems by putting other thoughts into your mind:
- Count backward from 100
- Say the alphabet backward
- Count all the shades of a certain color in the room
- Repeat a mantra or the words to your favorite song in your head


Embrace sensations that are different than what you're feeling right now. Or, pick any intense distraction sensation to embrace:
- If you're feeling hot, take a cold shower
- If you're feeling cold, take a hot shower
- Cut open a lemon or lime and take a bite
- Hold an ice cube in your hand


Employ your five senses to soothe yourself.

Observe things that are pleasing and comforting to look at. Take in the beauty of nature, watch a sunset, walk through a park, or notice flowers. You can light a candle and watch the flame or look at an art book.


Find something to look at that is brings you a feeling of relaxation. This could be a photograph, a video, or images from one of your favorite artists. It could be something you hold in your hand, or something on the horizon.


Listen to sounds that feel soothing to you. The sound of water flowing through a stream or waves of the ocean. Listen to your favorite artist or play a musical instrument. Or play a guided meditation.


Find smells you enjoy. The smells of nature, or fresh baked cookies. Burn a scented candle. Take a bath with your favorite soaps or put on your favorite body lotion.


Eat your favorite food or make a soothing cup of tea. Have a piece of dark chocolate or chew some gum. Whatever you choose, focus on really tasting the food one item at a time.


Engaging in sensations of touch that are comforting. Put on your favorite robe or sweatshirt. Pet your dog or cat. Sink into a comfy chair. Take a warm bath, or curl up in your favorite blanket.

IMPROVE the Moment

These skills are helpful when overwhelmed or when a difficult situation may be long-lasting. With IMPROVE the moment we can replace immediate negative events with more positive ones, improving the quality of the present moment.


Use imagery to imagine a relax- ing scene. Imagine your “happy place.” This can be someplace you’ve visited or a place you’ve read about in books or magazines. It can be someplace real or fictional. The goal is to imagine a place where you feel protected and calm. Imagine that the next few days, weeks, and months could turn out fine, without any crisis. Imagine coping well in this space.


 Find the lesson or meaning in the pain. No matter how bad the situation is, ask yourself, “What is the meaning of this situation?” “How am I going to grow from this situation?” “What am I going to learn from this situation?” What does this crisis tell you about what’s important to you? In what way does this crisis remind you of your most important values? 


Get in touch with your own wise mind for guidance and strength to get through the crisis. Perhaps there’s a mantra or scripture that you repeat to yourself to feel grounded. Whether religious or not, you can also repeat a lyric or poem to ground yourself in the present moment, to help you connect with something greater than yourself.


With relaxation, we aim to make whatever difficult situation we’re in less painful. Take a few minutes to practice paced breathing, ensuring that your exhalation is longer than your inhalation. You can also take a calming shower or bath, drink your favorite tea, cozy up with a book, or practice mindful stretching.

One thing in the moment

Our goal is to focus all our attention on just one thing in the moment, rather than mindlessly reacting to a crisis. Pour your attention into whatever activity you’re currently engaged in. If you’re cleaning your room, focus on nothing but that activity, noticing what it feels like to pick up clothes off the floor or make your bed, fold by fold. If your mind wanders, you can say to yourself, “I am only doing this one thing right now.” Whatever the activity is, focus your full attention on that.


Give yourself a brief vacation. A vacation can be something short or long. You may take the day off work and go to the park or see a movie. Or you may crawl into bed for the next twenty minutes and read a book. You want to ensure that whatever you do isn’t so time-consuming that it gets in the way of important responsibilities.


Be a cheerleader to yourself or a compassionate coach. Remind yourself, “This will pass,” “It’s going to be okay,” “You have gotten through hard things,” and “You can do this!”

Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance is accepting reality as it is, all the way, meaning with our mind, heart, and body. It's when we stop fighting reality, stop responding with destructive behaviors when things aren’t going as we want them to, and let go of bitterness. Radical acceptance allows us to move out of suffering to experience ordinary pain. Remember Pain X Non Acceptance = Suffering.

How to Practice Radical Acceptance

1. Notice that you’re not accepting reality, often accompanied by thoughts like: “Why me?” “Things should be different.” 

2. Remind yourself that reality is just as it is  (Ex: “It happened.”)

3. Remember that there are causes for this reality and that in light of the billions of things that came before it, things could not be any other way (Ex: “This is how it happened.”)

4. Develop a plan for catching yourself when you drift out of acceptance. 

5. Practice opposite action, and consider what you would do if you accept reality.

6. Cope ahead by imagining accepting why you feel in this moment you “can’t” accept.

7. Remain mindful of physical sensations, like tension and stress, as you practice acceptance.

8. Become aware of and allow grief to arise within you.

9. Tell yourself that life can be worth living even when there is pain. 

10. Use the Pros and Cons skill to analyze the benefits of accepting and rejecting reality.

Turning the Mind

Turning the mind is making an active and deliberate choice to accept reality.

How to do it:

1. Observe that you’re not accepting reality. Red flags include thoughts such as “this shouldn’t be happening” and “why me?” “I can’t believe this!”. Other indications may include emotions like anger, bitterness, or annoyance. 

2. Make an inner commitment to accept reality as it is.

3. Do it again. Sometimes acceptance may only last a few minutes before we start drifting back toward non-acceptance. Notice non-acceptance and turn the mind toward acceptance over and over again. 

4. Develop a plan for catching yourself when you drift out of acceptance. 

Half Smile

The skill of half smile is a way to activate acceptance from our physical body. By changing our facial expressions, we can influence how we feel. By adopting a serene and peaceful facial expression with a slight smile, (a Mona Lisa smile or Buddha smile), we can feel a bit brighter and more accepting of what is happening in the moment.

How to do it:

1. Relax your face (letting go of any tension).

2. Let the corners of your lips go up slightly. Think of the word smile or smile with your eyes. Don’t force or fake smiles. (this will send the message that you are masking).

3. Adopt a peaceful facial expression.

Willing Hands

The skill of willing hands is another way to activate acceptance in your body. By adopting a willing hand posture, we can move out of willfulness.

How to do it:

1. Relax Your Hands: Let your hands rest by your sides or on your lap.

2. Unclench Fists: Ensure your hands are open, fingers relaxed, and palms facing upward.

3. Soften Your Body: Relax your shoulders and arms, allowing any tension to dissipate.

4. Maintain Posture: Keep an upright and relaxed posture while maintaining willing hands.

5. Focus on Acceptance: Practice accepting your current situation with openness and without resistance.

Use Willing Hands when you feel tense or resistant to help reduce anger and frustration.


Willingness is accepting reality and responding to it in an effective way. Doing what works. Willingness is throwing yourself into life wholeheartedly.

How to do it:

1. Observe: If you hear yourself saying the words “should”, or “why me,” that’s probably willfulness. Simply label it: “Oh! Willfulness has shown up”

2. Radically Accept: Denying willfulness doesn’t make it disappear or go away

3. Turn the Mind: Toward acceptance and willingness.

4. Try Half Smiling and Willing Posture:. Relax your face, let the corners of your mouth rise, and turn your hands up.  Being willing is hard when your hands, arms, and body are tensed and clenched.

When willfulness is immovable: Ask “what is the threat?”

Mindfulness of Current Thoughts

Mindfulness of Current Thoughts is the skill of getting unhooked from our thoughts, giving us the freedom to choose how to respond to our thoughts.

How to do it:

1. Observe your thoughts. You can do this by noticing them as waves, coming and going, or clouds floating through the sky. We’re not analyzing, judging, or suppressing our thoughts. We’re simply acknowledging their presence.

2. Adopt a curious about your thoughts. You may ask yourself, where do these thoughts come from? 

3. Remember that you are not your thoughts. Recall times when you had different thoughts, felt differently, and how different your thoughts were then. 

4. Don’t block or suppress your thoughts. Ask yourself, what are the physical sensations connected to these thoughts that I’m trying to avoid? And ask yourself if you are willing to allow those sensations to be there. Allow your thoughts to come and go as you observe your breath. Get playful with your thoughts: repeat them as fast as you can. Sing them. Say them in a silly voice. 

Wise Mind

The Wise Mind skill is a practice that represents the integration of Emotion Mind and Reasonable Mind to make effective decisions. It is similar to intuition and involves considering both the facts of a situation and our emotional experience.


Integrating Emotion Mind and Reasonable Mind through Wise Mind is important because it allows us to make balanced, informed decisions that consider both our emotional experience and the facts of a situation. This skill can help us better manage intense emotions, improve our interpersonal relationships, and lead to more effective decision-making.


To access Wise Mind, we can practice mindfulness techniques such as focusing on the breath and silently saying or asking for Wise Mind. For example, when inhaling, we can silently say "Wise" and when exhaling, we can say "Mind." Another method is to ask Wise Mind a question when inhaling and listen for the answer when exhaling. Observing thoughts and feelings can also help us access Wise Mind.

Or, try our Road to Wise Mind Interactive Skill Guide 👇

What Skill: Observe

This skill promotes mindful awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in the present moment without judgment or reaction, fostering emotional regulation.


The observe skill is a mindfulness technique that involves simply noticing and acknowledging our sensory experiences, including sounds, sights, tastes, touch, and smells, as well as our thoughts and feelings. When we observe, we aim to notice these experiences without adding labels, judgments or trying to change anything.


Practicing observe can help us develop greater awareness and acceptance of our experiences, leading to reduced stress, better management of difficult emotions, and overall improved mental well-being. Observing our thoughts and feelings can also help us become more mindful, present, and non-reactive.


To practice observe, we can start by taking a deep breath and focusing our attention on our bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings. Rather than trying to change or push any sensation away, we can just observe them. We can pay attention to how these sensations may change, how emotions may weaken or intensify, and how thoughts may drift or linger.

Alternative How

We can also practice observing external stimuli, such as sounds or sights, without attaching any meaning or judgment to them. We can simply notice them and let them pass without becoming too attached or reactive.

What Skill: Describe

This skill involves putting words to one's observations, emotions, and experiences in an objective manner, supporting better understanding and communication of one's internal states.


The observe skill is a mindfulness technique that involves simply noticing and acknowledging our sensory experiences, including sounds, sights, tastes, touch, and smells, as well as our thoughts and feelings. When we observe, we aim to notice these experiences without adding labels, judgments or trying to change anything.


Practicing describe can help us develop greater awareness and communicate more effectively with others. It can also help us become more mindful, present, and non-reactive by encouraging us to observe our experiences in a non-judgmental way.


To practice describe, we can start by simply noticing our experiences and describing them in an objective and non-judgmental way. For example, we can describe the physical sensations we are feeling, the thoughts going through our head, or the sounds we hear in the environment.


Silently note to yourself what you’re feeling, thinking, and/or experiencing. For instance, My hands are sweating. I feel sad. I can’t do this. Avoid judging these thoughts. If a judgment appears, simply describe the thought: “I’m having the thought that this experience is bad.” 

What Skill: Participate

This skill entails fully engaging in the present moment, immersing oneself in activities and interactions without self-consciousness or judgment, to foster more meaningful experiences and connections.


The participate skill involves fully engaging in the present moment and actively participating in life. It involves being fully present and focused on the task at hand.


Practicing participate can help us become more mindful, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve our overall well-being. It can also help us build meaningful relationships by allowing us to fully engage with others.


Focus entirely on whatever you’re doing at the moment. Avoid judgments, like questioning how well you’re participating in the task. Become one with the activity, completely letting yourself go and remaining focused on the task. Ride out any urge you may have to do something else and commit to refocusing on this one moment. If you get distracted, no problem! Just bring your attention back to the present task

How Skill: Non-Judgementally

This skill teaches us to approach our thoughts, feelings, and experiences with an open and accepting mindset, reducing emotional distress and fostering a healthier relationship with ourselves and others.


The non-judgmentally skill concerns observing our experiences without adding judgments or interpretations. It involves simply noticing our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without labeling them as good or bad.


Practicing non-judgmentally can help us become more mindful, reduce self-criticism and shame, and improve our ability to manage difficult emotions, by not attaching negatively valenced emotions to already painful experiences.


Focus entirely on whatever you’re doing at the moment. Avoid judgments, like questioning how well you’re participating in the task. Become one with the activity, completely letting yourself go and remaining focused on the task. Ride out any urge you may have to do something else and commit to refocusing on this one moment. If you get distracted, no problem! Just bring your attention back to the present task

How Skill: One-Mindfully

This skill emphasizes focusing on one task or activity at a time, cultivating mindful presence and reducing distractions to enhance effectiveness and overall well-being.


The one-mindfully skill requires focusing our attention on one task or experience at a time, rather than trying to do multiple things at once. It requires being fully present and engaged in the task at hand.


Practicing one-mindfully can help us become more focused, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve our ability to manage difficult emotions. It can also improve our productivity and performance by allowing us to fully engage in the task at hand.


Do one thing at a time. If you’re eating, only eat, and notice all the sensations that go along with eating. If you’re walking, only walk. If you’re watching a movie, only watch the movie. Don’t give up if you lose focus! Our minds are made to think, and distracting thoughts will inevitably come up. Notice the distraction and return your attention to the present moment. 

How Skill: Effectively

This skill focuses on acting skillfully and purposefully in accordance with one's goals and values, while being flexible and adaptive to the situation, in order to achieve desired outcomes.


The effectively skill requires communicating assertively, setting boundaries, and problem-solving effectively. It demands using effective communication skills to express ourselves in a clear and respectful way.


Practicing effectively can help us build stronger relationships, improve our ability to solve problems, and reduce stress and anxiety. It can also help us set healthy boundaries and assert our needs and wants in a respectful way.


To be effective you have to know your goals and what you want to get out of a situation. Respond to the situation as it is, not as it “should” be. For instance, if someone cuts you off while you’re driving, you might want to roll down your window and curse them out. This is probably not going to be effective if your goal is to arrive at your destination safely and calmly. One thing to note: We use this skill to keep our goals in mind and act in ways to achieve those goals. We also want to act in ways that align with our values; to act effectively doesn’t mean to cheat or break the rules. 

Self-Compassion and Loving Kindness

This skill teaches us to cultivate empathy, understanding, and gentleness towards ourselves and others, fostering emotional healing and healthier interpersonal relationships.


The loving kindness skill involves cultivating feelings of love, compassion, and kindness towards oneself and others. It involves practicing positive affirmations and visualizations to promote feelings of well-being and connection.


Practicing loving kindness can help us improve our self-esteem, reduce negative self-talk, and build stronger relationships with others. It can also promote feelings of well-being and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.


Find a quiet space where you can practice. You can practice standing, sitting, or lying down. Repeat the phrases “May I be happy,” “May I be at peace,” “May I be healthy,” “May I be safe.” Then, think of a loved one and direct these words toward them. Imagine speaking these words toward someone you feel neutral about, perhaps a stranger. If you’re willing, imagine speaking these words to someone you have negative judgments toward. Finally, imagine directing loving-kindness toward the entire world. When you feel the meditation is complete, take a few breaths and notice any emotions or thoughts that may have come up. 

Observing, Describing, and Naming Emotions

This skill will help you gain emotional awareness and understanding by exploring your feelings objectively, without judgment. We can’t regulate that which we can’t name.

Follow these steps:

1. Pause and Identify Emotions: Take a moment to pause and identify the emotions youare experiencing. Try to name them without judgment. For example, instead of saying,"I'm so stressed," simply acknowledge, "I'm feeling tension and anxiety."

2. Name the Prompting Event - Describe the situation or circumstances that triggeredthese emotions. Be specific and objective. Avoid interpreting or judging the situation at this stage

3. Identify your thoughts - Notice any interpretations, beliefs or assumptions that may contribute to your emotional experience

4. Observe Physical Sensations: Pay attention to physical sensations that accompany your emotions. These can include a racing heart, shallow breathing, muscle tension, or other bodily reactions. Describe these sensations in detail.

5. Use Precise Language: When naming your emotions, use precise and accurate language. Instead of saying, "I feel bad," specify whether you feel sad, frustrated, disappointed, or another specific emotion.

By consistently using skill, you can gain greater control over your emotions and responses, leading to improved emotional regulation and well-being.

Check the Facts

This skill helps you evaluate the reality of a situation and challenge distorted thoughts or beliefs.

Follow these steps:

1. Name the emotion you want to change: What are you feeling?

2. Identify the prompting event: What set off this emotion in the first place?

3. Consider your interpretations: - What are my interpretations of the event?

4. Consider the threats: Am I assuming a threat?

5. Identify the catastrophe: What if the threat actually occurs and can I imagine copingwith it?

6. Reflect: Does my emotion and/or its intensity fit the facts?

Check the Facts is a skill that helps you see situations more objectively and make better decisions.

Opposite Action

This skill helps you manage intense emotions by intentionally doing the opposite of what your emotions urge you to do.

Identify the Emotion: Recognize the strong emotion you're feeling.

Pause and Assess: Does the emotion fit the facts? If no or yes, but not effective to action on, move forward with the opposite action.

Name the action urge: Identify the action urge association with your emotion.

Choose Opposite Action: Decide to do the opposite of your emotional urge

Act Mindfully: Carry out the opposite action with full awareness.

Repeat as Needed: If necessary, continue practicing the opposite action.

Opposite Action helps you change your emotional responses by acting opposite to our emotion urges.

Problem Solving

This skill will equips you with the ability to effectively identify, analyze, and resolve challenging life situations. This skill encourages a rational and systematic approach to problem-solving, reducing emotional distress and impulsivity.

1. Identify the Problem: Observe and describe the situation. Figure out exactly what the issue is.

2. Check the facts: Confirm you have the facts of the situation correct.

3. Identify your goal: What is a simple goal that needs to be achieved for you to feel better?

4. Think of Solutions: Brainstorm lots of solutions, come up with as many different ways to solve the problem you can think of.

5. Pick the Best Solution: Choose the solution that makes the most sense and fits your goal.

6. Put the solution into action: Decide what steps you need to take to solve the problem. Start doing the things you planned.

7. Evaluate Results: See how things are going. If it's not working, try a different solution.

Problem Solving is a skill that empowers individuals to confront life's difficulties with a clear and rational mindset. By following these steps, you can navigate complex situations more effectively, reduce distress, and make informed decisions.

Accumulate Positives in the Short-Term

This skill is focused on boosting positive experiences in the present moment.

Follow these steps:

1. Make a List: Write down activities or things that bring you joy, even small ones.

2. Daily Positives: Set a goal to do at least one item from your list each day.

3. Mindful Enjoyment: When doing the activity, stay present and savor the experience.

4. Plan Ahead: Schedule positives into your day, especially when you anticipate a tough time.

5. Stay Committed: Remind yourself that the more positive experiences you have the happier and more effective person you will be.

6. Reflect: At the end of the day, acknowledge and appreciate the positives you accumulated.

Accumulating short-term positives enhances your mood and resilience, making it easier to cope with life's challenges.

Accumulate Positives in the Long-Term

This skill is about making sustained efforts to create and maintain positive experiences and a fulfilling life over time.

Follow these steps:

1. Avoid Avoiding: Value driven action is hard AND we want to build a life worth living.
Stop Avoiding.

2. Identify your Values: What is important to me? Identify meaningful values that are important to you, not what you think others want you to pick. Values are about what you want to do and who you want to be, not about how you want to feel.

3. Review and reflect: Take a moment to review your values list and identify one value you want to work on now. Which value is the highest priority?

4. Identify Goals: Identify a few goals related to your value.

5. Prioritize your goals: put goals in order of importance. We can’t work on all all goals at once. Organize goals in terms of priority and what’s realistic.

6. Break goals down: consider the small steps you need to take toward your goal, break your goal down into pieces or small chunks.

7. Take one step now: Take a step toward your value, right now!

Accumulating Positives in the Long-Term helps you build a life filled with positive experiences, promoting emotional well-being and resilience over time.

Build Mastery

This skill involves engaging in activities that help you gain a sense of achievement and competence.

Follow these steps:

Do something challenging yet possible. Identify tasks or activities that are difficult, but are realistically attainable.

Prioritize Practice: Try doing one masterful thing each day.

Celebrate Success: Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. Give yourself credit.

Expand Your Comfort Zone: Gradually take on more challenging tasks as you build confidence and tasks become easier

Building mastery enhances self-esteem, confidence, and a sense of accomplishment, contributing to overall emotional well-being and resilience.

Cope Ahead

This skill involves mentally preparing and planning for a challenging situation so that you can respond effectively.

Follow these steps:

1. Describe the problem situation: Recognize the event or situation that may trigger distress or difficulty.

2. Plan your Response: Decide what skills you want to use to cope with the situation. Get specific here. You can even write them down.

3. Imagine the situation. Find a quiet place, and imagine that the situation is really happening.

4. Rehearse in your mind coping effectively: Mentally rehearse your chosen responses to challenging situations.

5. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Include relaxation exercises to manage stress or anxiety

Coping ahead empowers you to approach challenging scenarios with confidence and resilience, reducing the impact of distressing events on your well-being.


These are self-care strategies designed to improve emotional well-being by attending to basic physical needs.

Follow the following guidelines:

P and L - Treat Physical Illness: Address any physical ailments or illnesses promptly, take medication as directed

E - Intuitive Eating: Not eating too little or too much. Make food choices that feel good to you

A - Avoid Mood-Altering Substances: Limit or avoid drugs or alcohol that can negatively affect your mood.

S - Balance Sleep: Prioritize sleep to support emotional stability, ideally 7 to 9 hours a night.

E - Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity about 20 min or more daily.

PLEASE Skills focus on enhancing your physical health, which, in turn, can significantly impact your mental health.

Mindfulness of Current Emotions

This skill involves acknowledging and observing your present emotions without judgment.

Follow these steps:

1. Observe and Name the emotion: Take a moment to acknowledge your current emotions.

2. Observe Sensations: Where am I experiencing this emotion right now? Notice any physical sensations associated with the emotion (e.g., tension, warmth).

3. Remind yourself you are not your emotions: This is a physiological experience and doesn’t define me.

4. Love your emotions: Offer your emotions some compassion and loving kindness. Take a moment to pause and acknowledge your current emotions.

Practicing mindfulness of current emotions helps you develop emotional awareness, gain insight into your feelings, and respond to them more skillfully.


We use DEAR MAN to help get what we want and say no to others.

Follow these steps:

1. D - Describe: Start by describing the situation factually and without judgment.

2. E - Express: Clearly express your feelings about the situation using "I" statements.

3. A - Assert: Assertively state your needs, wants, or requests.

4. R - Reinforce: Reinforce the positive effects or benefits of your request.

5. M - Mindful: Stay mindful of your goals and the desired outcome. Don’t get distracted by attacks or if the other person changes the subject.

6. A - Appear Confident: Use body language and tone of voice that conveys confidence.

7. N - Negotiate: Be open to negotiation while maintaining your self-respect.

Or, try our DEAR MAN Interactive Skill Guide 👇


We use the GIVE skills when we want the other person to think well of us after a given interaction. These are skills that we use to help maintain and support healthy relationships.

Follow these steps:

● G - (Be) Gentle: Use a gentle approach, both in your words and your body language.

● I - (Act) Interested: Show genuine interest in the other person's perspective or needs.

● V - Validate: Validate the other person's feelings or point of view, even if you disagree. Remember there is a reason for everything. We don’t need to agree with someone’s behavior to acknowledge how their thoughts, feelings, or behaviors make sense. And when in doubt you can always validate an emotion.

● E - (Use an) Easy Manner: Maintain an easy, non-confrontational manner during the interaction. A little humor may go a long way to defuse a tense situation.

GIVE promotes positive interactions by fostering understanding, empathy, and respect within relationships.


Fundamentally, validation is a way of communicating to ourselves and others that emotions, thoughts, and behaviors make sense. Validation is not necessarily approval or endorsement. Validation is a way of communicating to another person, “Hey, I see you. You’re not “bad,” “wrong,” or defective. You’re another person like me.” In DBT, we consider six levels of validation as follows:

1. Mindful Listening: We show validation by giving our full attention when someone is speaking, showing you value their perspective. This may include eye contact, body language, and posture.

2. Reflective Listening: We can validate by repeating or paraphrasing what the other person is saying to confirm our understanding, and let them know that we’re taking them seriously

3. Mind Reading: Be sensitive to what is not being said. Pay attention to body language, facial expression, and tone of voice. Check in with the other person if you’re mind reading is accurate. If it’s not, keep it moving.

4. Validate Based on Their Past: Let the other person know that how they feel, think, or behave makes sense given their past experiences, current situation, and/or biology.

5. Normalize: Let the other person know that how they feel, think, or behave makes sense given the facts of the situation. That their experience is a logical response to the current events.

6. Radical Genuineness: Communicate authentically and honestly. Don’t patronize, or “one-up.” Let the other person know that you understand as another person that has experienced pain and suffered.

Validation fosters empathy, understanding, and stronger interpersonal connections, contributing to healthier relationships and emotional well-being.

Recovering from Invalidation

Recovering from invalidation means affirming our feelings and thoughts as valid, without needing external approval. It's about acknowledging, "Your feelings are valid; you're not overreacting or too sensitive." This process involves self-affirmation and compassion, helping us recognize our worth and navigate through the effects of invalidation. It guides us to self-validate and embrace our experiences with understanding and care.

1. Check the Facts: Consider if there's an unseen reason behind someone's behavior.

2. Acknowledge and Change Invalid Responses: Admit if your reaction was ineffective and strive for improvement.

3. Drop Judgmental Self-Statements: Avoid labeling yourself negatively for mistakes.

4. Understand All Behavior Is Caused: Recognize your actions are shaped by your history and circumstances.

5. Self-Compassion: Acknowledge it hurts to be invalidated and practice self-soothing.

6. Invalidation Isn't Catastrophic: Remind yourself that most invalidation won't break you.

7. Self-Validation: Recognize and affirm the validity of your responses.

8. Apply DBT Validation to Yourself: Use the six levels of validation to understand and support your thoughts and feelings.

9. Respect Your Behavior: Acknowledge the validity in your actions and treat yourself with respect.

10. Practice Radical Acceptance: Accept yourself and the situation without judgment, understanding everyone is doing their best.


The FAST skills helps us maintain our self-respect after a given interaction.

Follow these principles:

● F - (Be) Fair: Treat yourself and the other person fairly, considering both perspectives.

● A - (No) Apologies: Don't apologize when it's unnecessary; stand by your beliefs.

● S - Stick to Your Values: Maintain your values and principles even when under pressure.

● T - (Be) Truthful: Be honest, but do so in a way that respects the other person's feelings

FAST empowers you to assert yourself effectively while preserving your self-respect and values in difficult interactions.

Factors to Consider When Asking/Saying No

When deciding how or firm or intense you want to make your ask or say no, consider the following questions:

1. How capable are you or the other person to provide what you need?

2. What are your priorities?

3. How will your actions impact your self-respect?

4. What are the moral and legal rights involved in the situation?

5. What is your authority over the other person and vice-versa?

6. What type of relationship do you have with the other person?

7. How will your actions impact your long- versus short-term goals?

8. What is the degree of give and take in the relationship?

9. Have you done your homework to prepare for the situation?

10. How is the timing of your request or refusal?

11. What other factors should you consider?

Troubleshooting Interpersonal Effectiveness helps you address barriers to effective communication and relationships, enhancing your ability to achieve your objectives in interactions with others.


Dialectical philosophy grounds our thinking in DBT. It is a philosophy that asks us to hold opposing ideas or truths to arrive at a new, more comprehensive truth, or synthesis.

Dialectics remind us that:

1. The universe is filled with opposing forces. There is always more than one way tosee a situation, and more than one way to solve a problem. Additionally, two things that may appear like opposites can both be true. “Yes and…”

2. Everything and every person is connected in some way: We are interconnected and interdependent. The nature of reality is dynamic and there is unity that underlies apparent diversity and contradiction - all things consist of atomic particles and all these particles share a common source.

3. Change is the only constant: Meaning and truth constantly evolve. Each moment is new. You are not the same being moment to moment - new cells die and are born.

4. Change is transactional: Just as everything is connected, the changes we make impact our environment and other people. And the reverse is true. Our environment and other people are constantly changing us.

Dialectics helps you navigate complex and conflicting situations by acknowledging and integrating opposing truths and viewpoints to find a balanced and effective approach.

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