DBT Distress Tolerance Flashcards

Use these DBT Flashcards to help review your DBT skills!




A- activities: do something active
C- contributing: help someone else
C- comparisons: think about times you’ve been worse
E- create a different emotion
P- push away the thoughts/feelings
T- think about something else
S- create different physical sensations

IMPROVE the Moment

I- imagine a safe, relaxing place or a successfully resolved situation
M- find or create some meaning to your life
P- pray
R- do something relaxing
O- do one thing in the moment; focus on the present
V- do activities that simulate a mini vacation
E- encourage yourself

Pros & Cons

Think of all the positive consequences of tolerating the distress. Imagine how good you will feel if you achieve your goals, if you don’t act impulsively.

Think of all the negative consequences of not tolerating your current distress. Remember what has happened in the past when you have acted impulsively.

Self Soothe

Vision: look at something beautiful, be mindful of your surroundings
Hearing: listen to soothing music or sounds
Smell: use scented candles or oils
Taste: eat something mindfully, drink tea
Touch: wrap yourself in soft fabrics, touch your pet, etc

Radical Acceptance

Acceptance is acknowledging what is
Freedom from suffering requires acceptance
Deciding to tolerate the moment is acceptance
Acceptance is not approval


Willingness is accepting that you are part of a world greater than yourself
It is being open minded
It is a focus on being effective rather than willful
Willingness is playing the cards we are dealt

Half Smile

Turn up the corners of your mouth in a tiny smile
Smiling tells your brain you’re content
It cultivates willingness

Willing Hands

Open your hands and place them palms-up on your lap
If standing, keep them open and relaxed
This cultivates willingness

Turning the Mind

When you begin to turn away from acceptance, turn your mind back to it
Make the choice to accept again and again
Do not judge yourself from straying


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Additional Resources

Mental Health Resources

We aren't the only mental health resource out there. Check out these books, websites, social media accounts, and more for additional support. Read More

DBT Flashcards

Making DBT skills second nature takes practice. Use these flashcards on their page, download your own to print out, or purchase our pre-made set from our shop. Read More

DBT Encyclopedia

DBT has its own lingo which can be hard to understand for beginners. Visit our homemade DBT Encyclopedia to figure out what a term means. Read More

Mindfulness Exercises

Mindfulness practice is key to DBT. You don't have to meditate in silence everyday, though. Try these Mindfulness exercises to guide you. Read More

Diary Cards

Diary cards help track your emotions, urges, behaviors, and skill use. They help you see patterns. Learn how to use them and get samples. Read More