8 Ways To Handle Distress In The Moment

When your teen is in distress things may feel  hopeless, unmanageable, or out of control. You teen may go to any length to make their distressing feelings stop. Some teens are impulsive, while others self-destructive.

For individuals, who have difficulty tolerating distress, it feels impossible to tolerate their feelings. It can even seem like the present pain and suffering will never end. It is not surprising with these thoughts and feelings that teens who struggle with tolerating distress resort to destructive, impulsive, and out-of-control behaviors.

In DBT, we teach the Distress Tolerance Skill ACCEPTS to help teens learn how to handle their emotions until they are able to address or resolve them at a later time. Watch this video for more information about the acronym ACCEPTS and how to use it:

If you want to learn more about DBT and how it can help your teen please schedule your free 15-min consultation here.

Saying “I’m Just Impulsive” Is An Excuse

Saying, “I’m just impulsive” to justify acting out is just an excuse. It is a way to not take ownership of your own behaviors.

It’s like saying, “just like to be alone” to justify isolation or “I’m just a messy person” to justify not cleaning or doing chores.

However, there are skills that you can learn and actions that you can take to change your behaviors. You are not powerless!

And at Mindful Healing, while we believe that you’re doing the best you can at any given moment, we also believe that you can improve, be more skillful and make better choices.

Often times emotional teens act without thinking. Teens tend to think about what they want in the moment and don’t always think about all the consequences.

In fact, this happens a lot with teens in general. The pre-frontal cortex the area of the brain that controls reasoning and decision making isn’t fully formed until approximately age twenty-six.

So making effective decisions takes some effort.

Your teen needs to learn and practice skills so they don’t respond in an instant to intense emotions…

and self-harm, or lash out, or refuse to go to school, or cave to peer pressure, etc.

We’ve see teens act impulsively all the time in order to avoid intense emotions.
And we’ve heard the response “I’m just impulsive” many times, as I am sure you have. But this is not an excuse. They CAN improve.

It’s time to stop blaming lacking skills as personality traits and own the responsibility to do the work to improve.

Because we know you can.
Because we believe in you.

Are you ready to believe in you too?

When your teen is ready, we are here!