#10: The TIPP Skill: Using Your Body to Calm Down

Marielle and Ed continue their conversation about Distress Tolerance focusing on the TIPP skill. That extra P in TIPP isn’t a typo! TIPP is an acronym that actually stands for 4 different skills. The skills in TIPP intervene on a biological level to bring down overwhelming emotions to help you think more clearly.

Learn how to assess your distress level using the Subjective Units of Distress scale, or SUDS, in order to figure out which skills you need in an emotional crisis. If you are someone who leans toward impulsive behaviors when under emotional distress then tune in to learn more effective ways of responding to strong negative affect.

“Our ‘distress tolerance’ skills in DBT are a more effective way to bring down that emotional overwhelm, so that we can think more clearly.”

Ed Fowler

Show Highlights:

  • Measuring your distress level with the SUDs scale (Subjective Units of Distress)
  • SUD scale 0-10, from peaceful to an unbearably overwhelmed state of mind
  • TIPP skills and reasonable expectations 
  • T – Tip the temperature of your face with cold water
  • I – Intense Exercise
  • P – Paced Breathing
  • P – Paired Muscle Relaxation 
  • Ed describes the body’s response to cold temperature 
  • Exercise can bring down the fight or flight response (2 minutes of jumping jacks, running up and down stairs, etc.)
  • Differentiating between regular exercise vs. intense exercise in the moment 
  • Parasympathetic nervous system vs. sympathetic nervous system
  • Sit or lie down as Marielle leads you in practicing a Paced Breathing exercise
  • Paced Breathing is the most accessible TIPP skill because you can do it anywhere
  • Ed leads you to practice a Paired Muscle Relaxation exercise

Links & Resources: 


Subjective Units of Distress : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subjective_units_of_distress_scale

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