DBT: Distress Tolerance- ACCEPTS Skills


This is DBT: Distress Tolerance ACCEPTS Skills.

It is what to do when one is in a crisis situation and needs to de escalate the current emotion at hand. These emotions include, but are not limited to: self harm, suicidal ideation, eating disorder thoughts, anger, anxiety, sadness, mania, etc.

The idea is you utilize one of the letters of ACCEPTS to change your process and basically distract yourself. Most boxes are based on ACCEPTS Skills.

  • Activities: physically doing something. The point here is to change from the stimulus that upsets you. Go for a walk or run. Call a friend [let them know ahead of time they will be your go to person] I used this one a lot in the beginning and it was very helpful. Color. Text a friend. Email a friend. Yoga or stretch. Read a book.
  • Contributing: giving back. This one builds self esteem and confidence by having one change the focus on contributing self unto others’ service. Volunteer [I do this weekly and it helps a lot]. Do an act of kindness. Give a compliment. Write a thank you note.
  • Comparisons: compare self to when felt different. Remember a time when felt happier. Remember a time when things were worse. [not a personal fan of this one as I always diminish my feelings as is].
  • Emotions: change to different emotions from what is being experienced by opposite action. Do not do something that enhances current feelings and emotions, as tempting as it may seem! Watch a funny movie. Read a book. Look up jokes on the Internet. Watch YouTube clips. Watch a scary movie. Read a scary short story. Read a love short story. 
  • Pushing Away: temporarily push away the painful situation. Come back to it when there is a better handle on situation and emotions. Like putting a pin in it and placing it on a cork board to be dealt with when more time, energy, and resources are available. This is a difficult one to do and requires a lot of patience, self love, and practice.
  • Thoughts: completely replace thoughts through full immersion in an activity. Read a book. Read a short story. Learn a new language. Again, do not do something that enhances current feelings and emotions, as tempting as it may seem!
  • Sensations: focus on other sensations; one single sensation, completely. Light a scented candle and focus on the scent. Take a bath with scented soaps/bubbles/fizzies. Spray perfume. Turn on a lava lamp or glitter lamp [these are my personal favorites and discoveries so I added it in. Completely calming and distracting. Just watch the lava]. Touch something soft, smooth, or silky [blanket, stuffed animal, swatch of fabric, sweater, keychain, etc.]. Blow bubbles [huge fan of this one]. Touch something rough. Pop bubble wrap [one of my go tos]. Suck on a mint. Chew gum. Suck on a lollipop. Eat something spicy/salty/sour–focus on the flavor sensations [ya don’t do if you have an eating disorder]. Listen to music [I always do this too and I do it very very loudly. If I’m in my car I do it so loudly the vibrations are felt and it makes a big difference.]. Listen and focus in on nature. This one is fabulous for a crisis box–fill a box with different things to help you de escalate your emotions in a crisis situation.

I have a crisis box that utilizes the aforementioned ACCEPTS Skills.

I picked up a pretty box from Michael’s that is patterned with a saying about sparkle [something that speaks to me. I keep it by my bed. Inside is:

  • Bubble wrap [aaaa lot], fuzzy nail polish [comes out rough when dry and calms me down], sudoku puzzles, notepad for making lists, coloring book, crayons, markers, a picture, friendship bracelet string, and a pen.
  • I have a candle and a lighter near my bed ready to go.
  • My lava lamps are used nightly. The glitter lamp heats up the fastest and is on a shelf that is my zen corner: has the glitter lamp, calming perfume, and a picture frame with 4 beach shots in it. I can see it from my bed.
  • I have fuzzy blankets and pillows on my bed because I am tactile. Even loveys to hug.
  • As someone with anorexia, I avoid the food one altogether.

I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions, or even need suggestions or help constructing your own box, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask. 

You can ask on here or more privately on kik or email.


Email: soundofedsvoice@gmail.com

Kik: CassiexEdsxVoice


5 thoughts on “DBT: Distress Tolerance- ACCEPTS Skills

    • Ya it’s great! It is helpful when I’m stressed because then I can just rub my fingers over the top of nails and no one notices… Ya know? And it comes in black, blue, and pink! Super great! Sorry it makes you sick though! That’s not good Hahahaha defeats the purpose!!!

      You should make one!! Put silly putty in it! 😛 it was actually fun to put together. And having it there is comforting more than anything else!! :]

      Liked by 1 person

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