Types of Stress..Distress

Our world (especially here in the US) seems to be based on multi-tasking, hard deadlines, comparisons, perfectionism and one of using emotion cautiously. Everybody wants to make a difference and find their niche in life and that is all good and well until it interferes with your peace. The media many times will even “play” on people’s emotions..to sell the next big item, make an appeal for an important cause or try to connect with your heartstrings on a favorite series. We encounter people who know all to well how to negatively manipulate others ~while we take a toll emotionally. Then the burden of all burdens sometimes happens when Life decides to intervene with some sort of personal crisis.

Here are the definitions of distress..from Dictionary.com

1. great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble.

2. a state of extreme necessity or misfortune.

3. that which causes pain, suffering, trouble, danger, etc.

4. liability or exposure to pain, suffering, trouble, etc.

Lucky for us we have Distress Tolerance Skills we can use for a more peaceful life while under strain.

We can use the Mindfulness Skill of Observe to recognize what may be stressing us individually. Not everyone likes to look at painful stressors but it is the most effective way to get through your hardship.

Again I want to state that if your hardship is too much for you..that is okay. You can get help if you need it just ask by calling your local mental health facility or community service center. Someone can guide you to where you need to be. Just know that when you ask for help and receive it..it is a true strength of character. We have been “brainwashed” a little to think that asking for help is a shame. That is downright untrue. You have to live your life not someone else’s opinion.

So anyways Distress Tolerance is quite a list of wonderful activities you can do in place of perhaps old not so healthy habits in order to usher in more peace. For instance drinking is not a healthy activity for handling stress. People who use drinking socially while in a healthy and normal state of mind in moderation are fine here. I am talking about those who drink when they are sad or upset in any way. First of all it’s okay if you have done that but why not try some new ways to handle your stress that won’t cause addiction or be unsafe. (No shame just effectiveness here..I myself abused alcohol when self -medicating due to my illness which really hurt me emotionally). We are looking to replace our old unhealthy skills with new and safe EFFECTIVE skills.

The first few skills we learn are from Distress Tolerance Handout (1) and my own brainstorming:

Again Observe your pain first. Look at it Reserving Judgement. It is what it is.

Then distract your mind with:


Do something you enjoy doing. Like gardening, walking, fishing, yard work, cleaning and restoring, crafting, make a meal, go out for a meal, go have coffee or tea (preferably decaf), play some games at home or online, play a sport, fix something up, pick wildflowers, collect shells, go out and make some photographs, exercise..etc!

Be Mindful In The Moment while doing these activities. Practice Mindfulness and let each thought pass by like a train rolling down the track and go back to being in the moment you are in doing what you are doing. Remember to breathe and refresh yourself.

Press here to refresh all those concepts.

Wishing you well this day

The Mindful Gatekeeper


Peace Lives Within

Becoming A Writer

Everyday Gurus


6 thoughts on “Types of Stress..Distress

  1. you did mean “breathe” in your sentence, “Remember to breath…” @ the end of your well thought out post? neverthless, i need constant reminder to live in the moment, so thank you. 🙂

    • Reserving Judgement is a part of learning (an actual step) of learning Mindfulness. We have to look at just the facts when using Mindfulness effectively and stay away from asking why or letting opinion interfere. I think it is the most challenging step for sure.

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