RESISST – 7 Techniques
RESISTT is a key DBT tool to help manage unhealthy urges in distressing moment. It incorporates seven techniques for dealing with the unproductive urges caused by overwhelming emotions.
RESISTT stands for:
- Reframing the situation – change the perspective instead of seeing things strictly in black and white (I’ll never get out of this depression,my life is so bad, I’ll never stop feeling anxious).
- Engaging in a distracting activity – if you try and stop yourself thinking about the white polar bear, that is all you will think about! Pick an activity you can mindfully engage in, to take your mind out of the situation.
- Someone else – refocus your attention on someone else. Perhaps you know someone who would like a visit, or there is a gift you could buy online for someone, or you could volunteer to help someone in need.
- Intense sensations – sometimes it’s helpful to counteract intense emotions with intense sensations that are not harmful. Hold an ice cube in your hand, take a walk in hot or cold weather, take a hot or cold shower.
- Shut it out – ask yourself if there is anything you can do right now to solve the problem, if there isn’t then visualise how you could put this problem in a box and put it aside for the time being.
- Neutral thoughts – this refers to anything that doesn’t add to your distressing emotions. Box breathing, counting to ten, using the rule of five (5 things to see, hear, etc), can all help distract and soothe your mind. You can also try repeating a mantra that is helpful for you at the moment.
- Take a break – this looks different for everyone. Think about what a break would liik like for you. Perhaps you can takke a day off work, perhaps you can put off some chores until tomorrow and take some time to pamper yourself.
When you have an experience of intense or overwhelming emotions it’s hard not to act on them, with unproductive urges ranging from minor (e.g. overeating) to serious (e.g. self-harm). RESISTT helps you cope with these unhealthy urges and not act on it.