Stress is an inevitable part of life, but practicing distress tolerance skills can help you cope with challenging situations more effectively. The acronym ACCEPTS refers to a particular group of skills that can help you cope with difficult emotions.
Engage in any healthy activity that provides a sense of distraction or fulfillment. Activities can range from physical exercise to calling a friend to taking a hot bath. It may be best to keep a running list of enjoyable activities to refer to when you feel stressed.
Focus on someone else. Do something kind for a friend or a stranger. Do chores, even if they aren’t yours. Focusing on others can lessen the emotional intensity you feel right now.
Try to consider other times when you have coped with a difficult situation. Furthermore, reflect on what things are going well in your life right now. Is there any room for some gratitude? Can you put your current emotions into perspective?
Aim to cultivate the opposite emotion. If you feel angry, spend time with someone who invariably helps you feel happy. If you feel scared, ground yourself with comforting words that help you feel safe. If you feel sad, consider watching a funny video.
Sometimes, it’s okay to procrastinate dealing with an emotion. Consider setting a timer to revisit the issue at a later moment. You may find that the feeling no longer feels as intense once you stop thinking about it.
Focus on distracting your thoughts with activities that will keep you preoccupied. For example, consider reorganizing your shoe drawer or finishing a crossword puzzle.
Embrace activities that attune to your five senses. Consider doing some yoga stretches while listening to your favorite music, or sip your favorite tea while watching the rain outside.