What’s Your State of Mind?

Here is a simple run-down of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) concept of Wise Mind. Your mind is made of 2 parts, emotional mind, and reasonable mind. When these two minds meet, it creates the wise mind. We want to try to live in the wise mind to make the best decisions possible when faced with difficult situations.

Emotional Mind – Think of the “hot place” in your mind where your emotions take over. This is great for passion, creativity, and caring about others. However, it can be chaotic, unpredictable, and tiring when emotion mind takes over.

Reasonable Mind – This concept is more of a “cold place”. Think of a profession like an accountant who deals with only numbers. Living in reasonable mind is good for learning, planning, and thinking. If it takes over, it could be boring and repetitive.

Wise Mind – This is where emotional and reasonable minds meet. It is essential for balance, self-care, making decisions, and building self-confidence.

Here is a exercise from one my groups. Think of this example:

You are a waitress at a restaurant. A customer comes in and eats their entire meal. They tell you that they did not like the food and refuse to tip you.

Emotion Mind (how do you feel?): I feel angry, sad, disappointed, etc.

Reason Mind (what can you do?): I can quit my job or tell the customer that they should find a new restaurant to go to.

Wise Mind – Balance feeling and doing:

I’m angry in the moment, but I can talk to my supervisor about this and explain that it did not have to do with my own job performance. 

I can look for a new job where I am appreciated and feel happy. 

I can calmly explain to the customer that the service was good and that the tip can be based off of good service.

Here is a short video about Wise Mind that explains this concept in easy to understand terms:

Wise Mind – YouTube

Comment an example of when you have used your wise mind!

ACCEPTS Coping Skill for Difficult Emotions

When should I use this skill?

Try ACCEPTS when you are having overwhelming and distressing emotions like anxiety, fear, and depression. Take a break from the situation to gather your thoughts and cool down before making a decision on how to proceed. This skill is used as a distraction coping technique. This does not mean ignoring or denying that there is a problem, just taking a mental break!

A – Activities

  • Focus attention on a task you need to get done
  • Rent movies; watch TV
  • Clean a room in your house
  • Play computer games
  • Go for a walk or exercise
  • Call or video chat a friend
  • Download and/or listen to music
  • Build/create something
  • Spend time with those you’re living with
  • Play cards
  • Read magazines, books, comic
  • Do crossword puzzles or Sudoku.
  • Comment more suggestions!

C – Contributions

  • Find volunteer work to do
  • Help a friend or family member
  • Surprise someone with something nice (a
    card, a favor, a gift, etc.)
  • Give away things you don’t need
  • Check in on a friend or loved one 
  • Make something nice for someone else
  • Do something thoughtful.

What is something you have done or can do this week to help others?

C – Comparisons

  • Compare how you are feeling now to a time when you felt differently (ie. a week ago, an hour ago, etc.)
  • Think about people who may be going through something similar, but may have things more difficult (find gratitude in your situation)

What are you grateful or thankful for in your life?

E – Emotions

Choosing an activity that makes you have a different emotion than what you are currently feeling. For example, if you are feeling fearful do not watch a scary movie. Try a comedy instead!

Activities could include:

  • Reading emotional books or stories, old letters, cards etc. (ie. happy books, funny cards, comic books etc.)
  • Watch emotional TV show or movies (ie. comedy, romance, scary movie, action, etc.)
  • Listen to emotional music (ie. motivational, religious, calming, energizing, etc.)

P – Pushing Away

Trying to stay grounded while pushing away stressful thoughts. Sometimes that means putting some thoughts aside for now, so you can address them at another time when you feel calmer and less distressed. Pushing away could look like:

  • Push the situation away by leaving it for a while
  • Build an imaginary wall between yourself and the situation
  • Block thoughts and images from your mind
  • Notice ruminating thoughts: Yell “No!”
  • Refuse to think about the painful situations
  • Put the pain on a shelf. Box it up and put it away for a while

Check out my previous blog about Ground Techniques for more suggestions!

T – Thoughts

Find a way to distract your thoughts


Pick a color and name everything you see in that color.

Name as many animals as you can think of.

S – Sensations

*Find a way to fully immerse yourself in your senses. Examples could include:

  • Squeeze a rubber ball very hard
  • Listen to very loud music
  • Hold ice in your hand or mouth
  • Go out in the rain or snow
  • Take a hot or cold shower

In future blogs I will tell you more ways to use your 5 senses to distract yourself from distressing emotions!

Grounding Activities for Anxiety

Grounding activities are practices that help to distract yourself from difficult emotions and experiences to reduce anxiety.

You can take a break and focus on the here and now.

Return to these emotions and experiences when you are calm and ready to tackle your challenges.

These exercises take time to come naturally and that’s okay! Here are a few examples below:

1.Focus on how your body feels

-Feel your hair on your shoulders or forehead?

-Feel your glasses?

-Weight of your clothes?

-Feel your heartbeat?

-Stomach full or hungry?

-Legs crossed or resting on floor?

2. Use anchoring phrases – Think about how an anchor can hold you in the present moment.

            – “I’m ____. I’m ____ years old. I’m from _____. Today is _____. The weather is _____.”

3. Describe steps of a common and simple task

     – Ex. Making tea or coffee, cleaning, doing chores

4. Name as many things from a category that you can think of. Examples:

     – -Colors




        -Tv shows



When you are ready, return to your difficult emotions and experiences with a fresh start and focus on the present moment. You are ready to take on anything!

Radical Acceptance for Finding Peace in the Present Moment

Radical acceptance is completely accepting reality as it is in the present moment without fighting against difficult situations.

It is NOT ignoring difficult emotions or situations. It is validating that it is difficult and accept it to make it easier for ourselves.

We let go of bitterness or resentments and realize that there will always be situations that are difficult, out of our control, or unfair.

We can reduce emotional pain and make better decision about the future when we our judgement is not clouded by these difficult emotions.

A great way to practice radical acceptance is by using coping statements:

  1. The present moment is the only one I have control over.
  2. Fighting my current emotions and thoughts only gives them more fuel to thrive.
  3. The present is a result of thousands of parts from the past.
  4. This moment is exactly as it should be even though I might not like it.
  5. I cannot change what has happened in the past.
  6. I accept this moment as it is.
  7. Although my emotions are uncomfortable, I will get through it.
  8. It’s not helpful for me to fight the past.

Practice radical acceptance today to reduce the suffering caused by situations that are out of your control!

TIPP Skill for Emotion Regulation

When we feel stressed out emotionally, our body feels it physically too. This distress tolerance skill will help you relax and destress.

T – Temperature

-By changing our body temperature, we can quickly decrease the intensity of an emotion.

-Dip your face in cold water (not less than 50 degrees) and hold your breath. Try to hold it there for 30 to 60 seconds. (Do not attempt this TIPP skill if you have cardiac problems.)

-You could also use an ice pack!

I – Intense Exercise

-Engaged in intense cardio/aerobic exercise

-we engage our physical body in a way that calms down strong emotions and release them

-try 20 or more minutes or whatever you can fit in at that moment

Write down your level of emotional intensity (from 0 to 100) before and after using this skill

P – Paced Breathing

-Try to slow your breathing down to 5 or 6 breaths per minute. This means that your inbreath and outbreath put together should take 10 to 12 seconds.

-To help you do this, a timer or app can be very helpful.

-Try using a breathing app on your phone.

P – Progressive Muscle Relaxation

-Practice tensing your muscles as you breathe in for 5-6 seconds. Notice that feeling.

-Then relax them as you breathe out, paying attention to how that feels as you do it. Notice the difference between the feeling of tension and the feeling of relaxation.

-Go through each muscle group in the body (list can be found below) and tense then relax each one. As you relax a muscle group, say to yourself, “relax.”

  • hands (make fists)
  • arms (make fists and tense your forearms, biceps and triceps)
  • shoulders (raise shoulders up as high as possible)
  • forehead (wrinkle your forehead, lowering eyebrows)
  • eyelids (shut them tightly)
  • face (scrunch up nose and raise lips and cheeks)
  • tongue and mouth (distort muscles around mouth, push tongue against roof of mouth)
  • neck (push chin down toward chest)
  • chest (take deep breath and hold it)
  • back (arch your back)
  • stomach (tense abdominal muscles)
  • buttocks/glutes (squeeze together)
  • thighs (tense quads and hamstrings)
  • calves (point toes downward)
  • ankles and feet (curl toes, heels out)

Remember: These skills take time and practice to work automatically. Keep at it to see the best results!