top of page

Child Psychiatrist /Adult Psychiatrist

Distress Tolerance Skills DBT

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Distress Tolerance Skills DBT

Distraction (A.C.C.E.P.T.S.)

Negative feelings will usually pass, or at least lessen in intensity over time. It can be valuable to distract yourself until the emotions subside. The acronym "A.C.C.E.P.T.S." serves as a reminder of this idea.

a blue circles with white text
a blue circles with white text

Distress Tolerance Skills DBT


Engage in activities that require thought and Activities concentration. This could be a hobby, a project, work, or school.


Focus on someone or something other than yourself. You can volunteer, do a good deed, or do anything else that will contribute to a cause or person.


Look at your situation in comparison to something worse. Remember a time you were in more pain, or when someone else was going through something more difficult.


Do something that will create a competing emotion. Feeling sad? Watch a funny movie. Feeling nervous? Listen to soothing music.

Pushing Away

Do away with negative thoughts by pushing them out of your mind. Imagine writing your problem on a piece of paper, crumbling it up, and throwing it away. Refuse to think about the situation until a better time.


​When your emotions take over, try to focus on your thoughts. Count to 10, recite a poem in your head, or read a book.


Find safe physical sensations to distract you from intense negative emotions. Wear a rubber band and snap it on your wrist, hold an ice cube in your hand, or eat something sour like a lime.

Radical Acceptance

Sometimes you'll run into a problem that's simply out of your control. It can be easy to think "This isn't fair" or "I shouldn't have this problem", even though those ways of thinking only make the pain worse.

Radical acceptance refers to a healthier way of thinking during these situations. Instead of focusing on how you would like something to be different, you will recognize and accept the problem or situation as it is. Remember, accepting is not the same as liking or condoning something.

Learning to accept the problems that are out of your control will lead to less anxiety, anger, and sadness when dealing with them.


You find out that you were not selected for a job where you felt that you were the best candidate.

**Shift in way of thinking**

Typical Thinking

"This isn't fair - I did everything right! was the best one there. They can't do this to me."

Radical Acceptance

"It's frustrating that I didn't get the job, but I accept that they felt someone else would be a better fit."

Self-Soothe with Senses

Find a pleasurable way to engage each of your five senses. Doing so will help to soothe your negative emotions.

1) Vision - Go for a walk somewhere nice and pay attention to the sights. 2) Hearing - Listen to something enjoyable such as music or nature. 3) Touch - Take a warm bath or get a massage. 4) Taste - Have a small treat-it doesn't have to be a full meal. 5) Smell - Find some flowers or spray a perfume or cologne you like.


bottom of page