In this time of anxiety and fear of the unknown, it is so easy to get wrapped up in what “could be.” What if you get in a car accident? What if a loved one passes away? What if you lose your job?

Getting lost in these emotions and the thoughts that accompany them can create a world of chaos inside your mind. However, the anxiety, fear, hopelessness, loss, or whatever emotion you are feeling, will come and go-much like the waves of the sea – if we let them.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) teaches skills to manage our distress in the moment to regulate our emotions and process them effectively. “The DBT skills are nicely packaged skills that help people manage the intensity of their feelings and modify their behaviors to create new experiences,” says Craig Simpson, LCSW and Senior Clinical Director at Sunrise RTC.

“The mindfulness and distress tolerance skills teach people with anxiety how to set aside the worries of the past or future so they can live in the present.”

One of these distress tolerance skills is Activities, Contribute, Compare, Emotions, Push Away, Thoughts, and Sensations, or ACCEPTS; each letter in the acronym gives a quick solution to distract from overwhelming emotions. The ACCEPTS skill is used to temporarily distract us from our emotions in order for us to tolerate a difficult situation.