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IMPROVE the Moment


If you follow us on Instagram (which you should… @smithpsychotherapygroup) then you would know that this week’s DBT skill is dedicated to distress tolerance! In Tuesday’s post, we introduced the acronym IMPROVE. Each letter in this acronym stands for a tool that can help you manage stressful situations. This blog will dive deeper into each of those meanings. Let’s get to it!


Imagery: Use your imagination to create a different reality that feels more comfortable and stable. In order to do this, you need to incorporate the use of all your five senses. Here are some examples of using imagery:

  • Imagine being on the beach

  • Imagine your ideal self

  • Listen to guided imagery

Meaning: This skill helps you find a purpose or meaning for what is happening to you. By doing this, the crisis can become more manageable. Here’s some mantras to help you practice this tool:

  • “Going through this will make me a strong person.”

  • “Having this experience will help me understand others.”

  • “This will help me learn new skills.”

Prayer: Prayer can mean something to everyone, but the biggest objective of this skill is to connect to something greater than yourself. This can look like:

  • Saying a religious prayer

  • Meditating

  • Reading about your astrology

Relaxation: Yep, just as simple as it sounds! Make your body feel cool, calm, and collected. This will help decrease your racing thoughts and allow you to think more clearly!

  • Try yoga

  • Take a walk

  • Cuddle with a pet

One Thing at a Time: Remind yourself to focus on one thing...you do not have to take on everything all at once!

  • Ask yourself, “What’s important now?”

  • Make a list and go task by task

  • Once again...meditate

Vacation: aka Take a break! Make sure you have a good work/life balance...do not get stuck in your day-to-day routine and forget to have some fun! Take a day to…

  • Go to a new restaurant with friends

  • Have a spa day

  • Do a new art project

Encouragement: You are your own cheerleader. Root for yourself during the good and bad times! Self encouragement can look like…

  • Make a list of your positive qualities

  • Listen to a song that hypes you up

  • Remind yourself of your value

So, next time you encounter a stressful situation, which is bound to happen, IMPROVE the moment with these skills!


Source: "Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training with Adolescents" by Jean Eich PsyD, LP







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