The Distract, Relax, and Cope technique is a Dialectical Behavior therapy technique that can help you with anxiety and feelings of dissociation that many are experiencing during this stressful time.
1. Distract: Sometimes, the best way to distract yourself from painful emotions is by doing pleasurable activities. You do not have to wait until you feel overwhelmed to try a pleasurable activity. The recommendation is to do something pleasurable every day as it can help stave off depression by activating endorphins in the body.
Some examples of pleasurable activities you could try are:
Other things you can try to distract yourself are: Doing something for someone else can be very useful, distracting your thoughts by keeping a prayer or special saying with you, distract with tasks and chores, or distract by placing your hand on your belly and counting your breaths (or counting anything)
2. Relax and Soothe Yourself: Relaxation is essential for our health and well-being. When you relax, your blood pressure lowers, your heart beats more slowly, and you can get out of your flight or fight response, which allows your brain to think of healthier ways to cope with your problems. A great way to relax and ground (perfect for dissociation) is to utilize the five senses. Focusing on and engaging with what you smell, see, taste, hear, or feel in the present moment can help you relax and soothe.
3. Cope: Put your relax and distract skills into practice! Pick some from these lists that work for you or come up with some new ideas your own! Keeping your stress levels down keeps your cortisol down, which helps your immune system function better and promotes feelings of well-being. So, the next time you are feeling stressed, remember to distract, relax, and cope!