Today we are increasing your tolerance and ability to handle distress.
Basically we’re increasing your pain tolerance and to do that we are tying together a few different skill sets.
Together these skill sets are called distress tolerance. Distress tolerance means that you can handle difficult and intense emotions without needing food to make you feel better.
Let’s first examine the cycle of distress so we can solve the problem:
1 – Non-acceptance – difficulty accepting negative emotions, want to pretend not bothering you or doesn’t matter
2 – Unwillingness – even if you notice the negative emotion, you might not be willing to sit with the emotion and feel it
3 – Escape – you eat to avoid negative feeling
4 – Distress – you feel incredibly bad as you are forced to face the consequences of avoidant behavior
So today we are honing the two skills of unwillingness and escape. We are cultivating the opposite skills of willingness and self-soothing.
How To Stop Worrying And Start Living Commentary:
To practice willingness, it involves planning ahead of time and then giving yourself a break.
So you think of an upcoming situation that is going to cause you a little bit of anxiety.
Perhaps you have a meeting with your boss or you’re going to be sitting in traffic for an hour and a half.
Plan ahead of time for how long you were going to sit and simply practice being willing to feel an experience in emotion without doing anything.
You might start off with 5 to 10 minutes of just being willing to sit.
Then, as the experience you anticipate is starting to come closer, notice what feelings are about to arise. If you are nervous about a meeting with your boss, then a half hour before the meeting check in with how you feel. Do you feel nervous? Do you feel resentful? Do you feel hopeful?
Then simply sit there the uncomfortable feeling. Ultimately “just sitting” with an uncomfortable feeling is the best way to learn how to stop worrying and start living.
Try to sit there for 5 to 10 minutes.
As you sit there you will alternate between being willing to feel the emotion and then you are brain will naturally pull away from the emotion. Just notice how at certain times you’re more willing to feel the motion and other times you’re more closed off.
Then, after 10 minutes you will practice a soothing skill. We have gone over soothing skills before and you have been journaling so you can either journal, or go on a walk or something like that.
There’s one more skill that we will do as well which involves building up a repertoire of self-care skills.
So while it’s true that we have been practicing self-care in the form of journaling, putting your hand on your heart, going on a walk, accepting feelings, these are also a few other ways you can handle an emotions.