Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Distraction can be a very helpful tool for dealing with negative emotions. From Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, the acronym ACCEPTS, can be helpful.
It stands for Activities: Involve yourself in activities that require a lot of concentration. What requires intense focus depends on the person, but some examples might include brain teasers, doing an online Zumba video, or playing a musical instrument.
Contributing: Focus on helping someone else. Perhaps you could reach out to a person in need, buy a gift card from a struggling business, or act as a listening ear for an isolated family member.
Comparisons: Compare your current situation to something worse. I like to think of this one as counting your blessings—are you currently healthy? Do you have people who care about you? Focusing on those positives can give you a sense of relief.
Emotions: Do something that will create opposite emotions. Perhaps you could watch a comedy or love story. Or, you could listen to soothing music or check out some of the deejays who are playing music on instagram (I personally love #clubquarantine).
Pushing Away: Try to push negative emotions out of your mind. One way can be to write down your worries, then crumple them up and throw them away. Tell yourself that you will think about it later, but not right now.
Thoughts: When your emotions take over, focus on thinking instead of feeling. Read a book. Count to 10 (or say random numbers).
Sensations: Focus on safe physical sensations that will engage your attention—examples include holding an ice cube, taking a relaxing bath, or eating something sour like a lemon.
Hopefully one of these strategies will help you out!
Dr. Patricia Thompson
We're in this together.
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