Tips for Applying DBT Skills in Everyday Life

Are you looking for ways to improve your emotional regulation, interpersonal skills, and overall well-being? Look no further than Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills! DBT is a type of therapy that was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder, but has since been found to be helpful for a wide range of mental health concerns.

But you don't have to be in therapy to benefit from DBT skills. In fact, many people find that applying these skills in their everyday lives can help them manage stress, communicate more effectively, and feel more in control of their emotions. Here are some tips for applying DBT skills in your everyday life:


Mindfulness is a core component of DBT, and involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, which can in turn help you regulate your emotions and respond more effectively to stressful situations.

Tip #1: Practice mindfulness meditation

One way to cultivate mindfulness is through meditation. Set aside a few minutes each day to sit quietly and focus on your breath. When your mind wanders (as it inevitably will), gently bring your attention back to your breath. Over time, you may find that you are better able to stay present and focused throughout the day.

Tip #2: Use mindfulness in everyday activities

You don't have to meditate to practice mindfulness. You can also bring mindfulness to everyday activities, such as washing dishes or taking a shower. Focus on the sensations of the water, the soap, and the movement of your hands. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the present moment.

Emotion Regulation

Emotion regulation is another key component of DBT. It involves learning to identify and manage your emotions in a healthy way, rather than letting them control you.

Tip #3: Use opposite action

Opposite action is a DBT skill that involves doing the opposite of what your emotions are telling you to do. For example, if you feel like isolating yourself when you're feeling down, opposite action would be to reach out to a friend or family member instead. By doing the opposite of what your emotions are telling you to do, you can break out of negative patterns and feel more in control of your emotions.

Tip #4: Practice self-soothing

Self-soothing is another DBT skill that can help you regulate your emotions. It involves doing things that make you feel calm and relaxed, such as taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, or practicing deep breathing. By taking care of yourself in this way, you can reduce stress and feel more balanced.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal effectiveness is all about communicating effectively with others and building healthy relationships. This can be especially challenging for people with mental health concerns, but DBT skills can help.

Tip #5: Use DEAR MAN

DEAR MAN is a DBT skill that can help you communicate your needs effectively. It stands for Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce, Mindful, Appear confident, and Negotiate. By following these steps, you can communicate your needs clearly and assertively, while also being mindful of the other person's perspective.

Tip #6: Practice active listening

Active listening is another important interpersonal skill. It involves really listening to what the other person is saying, rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. Practice active listening by repeating back what the other person has said in your own words, and asking clarifying questions to make sure you understand their perspective.

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance is all about learning to tolerate difficult emotions and situations without making things worse. This can be especially helpful for people who struggle with anxiety or depression.

Tip #7: Use TIP skills

TIP skills are a set of DBT skills that can help you manage intense emotions in the moment. TIP stands for Temperature change, Intense exercise, Paced breathing, and Progressive muscle relaxation. By using these skills, you can reduce the intensity of your emotions and feel more in control.

Tip #8: Practice radical acceptance

Radical acceptance is another DBT skill that can help you tolerate difficult emotions. It involves accepting reality as it is, rather than fighting against it or trying to change it. By practicing radical acceptance, you can reduce your emotional suffering and feel more at peace with the world.


DBT skills can be incredibly helpful for managing stress, regulating emotions, and building healthy relationships. By practicing mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance, you can improve your overall well-being and feel more in control of your life. So why not give these tips a try and see how they work for you? You might be surprised at how much of a difference they can make!

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