Day 1525: Distress tolerance

Distress tolerance is an important skill to learn because, no matter who we are, we all encounter distress we need to tolerate.

I’ve been tolerating a lot of distress lately, including

  • open heart surgery,
  • a cardiac pacemaker recall,
  • American politics,
  • rejection,
  • mistakes,
  • loss, and
  • disappointment.

Chances are that you’ve been tolerating distress lately, too.

So how do we tolerate distress?

Personally, I tolerate distress with

  • blogging,
  • music,
  • humor,
  • nature,
  • animals,
  • movies,
  • walks,
  • talks,
  • reading,
  • spending time with people I love,
  • chocolate
  • taking action, and
  • taking pictures.












Which of those photos are best for your distress tolerance?

For me, these two photos



… illustrate this important lesson: If you want a cupcake, don’t go for a cookie masquerading as a cupcake.  Get the real thing.

And this picture


is very good for my distress tolerance, because it shows me that beautiful things can turn up, even when and where you least expect them.

Here‘s Marsha Linehan talking briefly about Distress Tolerance:

And here‘s some music that helps me tolerate distress:

Here’s a joke I just found on YouTube:

Arnold Schwarzenegger works in a record shop and a customer asks him where to find the Brandenburg Concertos.

Arnold answers “Aisle B, Bach”

I’ll be back with another post, tomorrow.

Thanks to all who helped me create this distress-tolerating post and to you — of course! — for tolerating my blog, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

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43 thoughts on “Day 1525: Distress tolerance

  1. The ‘Pineapple with Corn Chips’ photo was my favorite too, though I hadn’t seen the same message in it you identified. (My version went more along the lines of “be open to noticing the unexpected, and finding pleasure in the whimsy.”)

    Also? I could not agree with your cupcake lesson more!

    • Just watched the Linehan clip. “How to get through a life that’s not the life you want.” Whewwwww… That wording hit me deep. Gonna need to sit with that for awhile.

    • I could not agree with you more, Alice. Thanks for the two comments.

  2. Pingback: Aisle B Bach | A Simple, Village Undertaker

  3. Edified and re-blogged at
    “Aisle B, Bach”, too cute. I am certifying today as a “No Stress Sunday”

  4. Fortunately, now I’m done with estate agents and internet problems, I’m de-stressed

  5. That’s a good lust of ways to tolerate stress. I realized as I read that I do most of those too. Wait…is nap on the list? I need to go back and reread.

  6. yes, such an important thing to do. otherwise the stress can overtake us. i use many of the same strategies )

  7. I’m sorry that you have been feeling distressed! Thank you for sharing your tips. I will definitely try to find real cupcakes and not settle for cookies that are masquerading. I love your joke!

  8. Loved the Bach! Relieved my morning distress from arguing about whether or not to throw away a down comforter left in the guest room closet by the previous owners, and that we don’t use but a guest might.

  9. haha love the joke. I think I tolerate distress by believing that nothing comes my way that I cannot withstand one way or another. Love this post Ann and just so you know, you’re one of the bravest people I know. ❤
    Diana xo

  10. I had to read the joke twice before I got it. It wasn’t until I read it aloud that it registered and then I groaned. Good one!

  11. Gardening does it for me…

  12. When tolerance is a two-way street then democracy flourishes. When tolerance is a one way street then the seeds of tyranny have been planted.

  13. Great photos, that made me smile, made me giggle and left me feeling happy for all that I thank you

    • Another great comment from you, Joanne, that made me smile, made me giggle, and left me feeling happy. Thank you!

  14. One thing that helps me is learning terms. For instance before reading this I never knew there was a term for “distress tolerance”, but now that I’ve learned it from you I’m better prepared to practice it.

  15. The Lindt bunnies photo is a good de-stressor. Brought a smile to my face. Thank you. Also watching black and white old movies which I am doing today.

  16. Do you have any links to Marsha Linehan talking about how to live the life that is not the life you want? Or something she has written about it?

    • She is the creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), so she’s written and spoken a lot! Try googling her and see what you find.

  17. I liked the little owl cookie until I noticed the disconnect between its fresh bakery billing and its July sell by date. This Marsha Linehan is very interesting. I think our distress tolerance rises as it needs to. No doubt yours has this year.

  18. Distress tolerance is what I must learn with Grumpy.

  19. AAAAAAAAH! Stop showing food! It’s stressing me and my salad-a-day routine out. And rows and rows of cute chocolate bunnies…I’m doomed. I’m forced to sit here with my candles and “relaxing music” and pretend I’ve already eaten. Back to the kitchen for more carrots.

  20. I could definitely distress on that chair looking out at the water. Ahhhhh

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