Here’s a TIPP for Stress Management

Have you ever sat in the moment and noticed the physical sensations you are experiencing when you get stressed? Many people feel such intense physical pain when they are under extreme stress, frequently bringing them to their primary care physician’s office, an emergency room, or the urgent care. When we are anxious, scared, angry, or experiencing any other uncomfortable emotions, our body has a physical reaction. Our brain and nervous system signal to our body to respond physically when we are under stress. It’s part of our nervous system’s innate response to protect us when it experiences something it perceives to be a safety risk (think of our early ancestors trying to stay safe from carnivores while hunting or foraging in nature). Common physical responses to stress include increased heart rate, muscle tension, increased body temperature, or sweating. Any of this sound familiar? When I sit with my clients and we explore their uncomfortable emotions, I ask them, “What do you feel physically while experiencing that emotion?” This awareness helps us to move forward and address physical stress held within the body. Once we have an awareness of our how body is responding, we can implement one of my favorite Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT, developed by Marsha Linehan, 1993) techniques for distress tolerance – TIPP.