Mental Health · Uncategorized

Distress Tolerance

Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4: 1b NIV

Over the weekend I have been very distressed with quite a few things. I’ve been really struggling to cope.

Last night I cried out to God in my distress. I needed help, and other avenues of support were not available. I tried the Samaritans, but that didn’t help either. So, in my despair I googled distress tolerance. I found many websites with helpful articles giving various tips on coping with distress. (See the end of this post the links I read).

F751761A-6011-4A3E-9CB2-B86FF4EEF8D8After reading 5 articles, and saving them to favourites, I created this quick visual reminder of how to cope with distressing moments.  (Information from:

DBT is used to teach people like me to cope with overwhelming emotions and how to resist destructive impulses. Although these skills are likely to be helpful to everyone, not just those with BPD.

The two techniques that resonated with me and seem manageable are:

IMPROVE the moment

I – Imagery e.g. safe place visualisation

M – Find meaning in the situation

P – Prayer

R – Relaxation

O – One thing at a time

V – Vacation – me time (real or imagined)

E – Encouragement – positive and calming self-talk



A – Activities e.g. paint, read, draw, write, go for a walk, exercise, etc.

C – Contributing. Work, volunteer, help someone, do the housework, etc.

C – Comparison – better how I  used to be, better than others worse off, what I can be in the future, etc. Healthy comparison.

E – Emotions. Generate emotions by watching TV or listening to music.

P – Pushing away – thinking about or putting attention onto something else.

T – Thoughts – new thoughts

S – Sensations – the 5 senses.

So, sometimes the answer to our hearts cry comes in the form of helpful articles on the internet. But, God helps us through the storm and will show us a way through rather than out of our distress. Not always what we want, it it? We’d much rather be rescued from our pit of despair in a flash. Although that could happen, it doesn’t really help in the long run, does it? It seems to me that the hard road of learning how to cope, is the better option.

Abba help me through my distress, show me your ways and teach me the things that will help. Amen.

Further reading:



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