• Distraction as Distress Tolerance


    When I ask people, what coping skills they use, distraction is always one of the things listed. Most frequently it is distraction through social media. And distraction certainly CAN be used as a distress tolerance strategy.

    That being said, the way so many folks are using distraction is unhealthy because they are using it to completely avoid dealing with whatever uncomfortable or distressing emotion they are feeling. It is escape into social media with no return to the distressing situation. But if we use distraction in this way, then we never actually learn to tolerate those distressing emotions.

    The healthy way to use distraction is as a means of taking a break from a situation, giving yourself time and space from it. By doing so you are more likely to be able to come back to the situation with fresh eyes, more energy or mental space to look at it. That is the key, to remember that it is important to go back to the situation.

    So, the message is that here is nothing inherently wrong with using distraction as a coping strategy. As with most things in life, it is all a matter of moderation and not going to extremes.

    Leave a reply:

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*