Building Distress Tolerance

With trauma, learning to tolerate discomfort is a huge part of the healing process. This seems weird to some people because healing is often framed as moving out of pain to become happy and calm. But in reality, healing requires us to return to the things that have hurt us first in order to move forward. We must come back to old thought patterns to learn new ones. We must re experience scary body sensations to find new ways to be present. We must acknowledge old, vulnerable emotions in order to move safely into the future. All of this requires re engagement with body, mind, and emotion. And re engaging with something that reminds us of past pain can be inherently uncomfortable. But these things do not heal through avoidance. They heal when we are able to turn towards them and find new ways to understand and engage them. It requires initially tolerating some discomfort in order to take the first step: facing whatever negativity is embodied in your own mind, body and emotions. Unfortunately, many people try to jump too fast into this project, and end up overwhelming their already frazzled nervous systems. So go slow! There is no rush, no race, no timer. And your nervous system will heal faster the more gently you nudge it into progress. Try tolerating the distressing sensation for just five seconds to start. Then come out of it. Ground. Smell a favorite scent. Take a cold shower. Stroke your favorite fuzzy blanket. Connect with a pet or a loved one. When you feel fully settled, you can try again, but this time stay in it for eight seconds. Slowly, work your way up. If you start feeling agitated or overwhelmed, you are going too fast! By gently dipping our feet into sensation over time we teach our nervous system that we are kind leaders of ourselves, and we can gently open up to deep healing work. For more guidance on these processes, contact me to set up a session! #mentalhealth #mentalhealththerapist #somatictherapy #mindbodytherapy #eugeneoregon #distresstolerance #mindfultherapy #traumarecovery #ptsdrecovery #traumahealing

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