DBT Skills - A choice of amazing skills

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Find your DBT skills to handle any stressful situation

Are you looking for DBT skills, helpers, or tools that you can use in and manage your mood in stressful situations?

In the course of various DBT therapy phases (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy of Borderline Personality Disorder) we have learned to deal with distressing situations and survive an emotional crisis by learning and applying specific DBT skills depending on our stress level.

Below we have compiled a choice of DBT skills, which are helping us in our everyday life. We always have them at hand - which have a fixed place in an emotional toolbox at our home and some are also a permanent companion on the go. For this purpose, we usually have a small cosmetic bag with 3 to 4 DBT skills with us.

The following DBT skills helped in distressing situations of high stress, strong tensions, overreactions, dissociations, or even dangerous self-harming situations. These are immediate measures you can apply in order to handle a stress level of above +50% or more.

Not all DBT skills are suitable for everyone or every stressful situation, the use of certain skills or helpers depends on each individual emotional crisis and stress level. In order to assess which DBT skill, you can use for which stress level; we included a stress level indication in % in the overview below. Note: The indicated stress level is based on our personal experience and is only a general indication.

It is important that you find and apply the right skills for each situation and always practice, practice and practice again - so that the DBT skills become a natural habit and you can handle the stressful situation and overreactions, dissociation, or panic attacks more quickly.

If you have an acute problem and are looking for a counseling center or would like to speak to someone anonymously, please look at the help hotlines listed under Emergency Hotlines.

16 tested DBT skills and tools for battling an emotional crisis

A choice of DBT skills

Ammonia sticks

Stress-Level Indication (%)
One of the strongest emergency DBT skills
In particular for strong disstressed situations, strong tensions and dissociations!

Crack the crushable ammonia inhalant and hold it directly under your nose. The very strong aromatic stimulant shoots through your whole body and brings you back to life. This will wake the dead.

Cherry pits in shoes

Stress-Level Indication (%)
In case of acute high stress, put some cherry stones in your shoes and quickly go for a walk. The sensory pain together with exercise in the fresh air is particularly suitable in cases of imminent loss of control (e.g. self-injuring behavior).

#3 Boxing to calm down

Stress-Level Indication (%)
Whether it's a large pillow, punching ball or a real punching bag - They are great stress relievers.

Powerful boxing is super helpful in cases of high frustrations and if you want to calm down quickly.

Mexican candy

Stress-Level Indication (%)
Eat and suck slowly Hot & Spicy candy or Sour candy depending on your stress level.

There are many candies with intense levels of heat as well as interesting flavor profiles. Try to find what works best for you.

Try at your own risk, but, you get immediately distracted from your stressful situation.

"Nail board"

Stress-Level Indication (%)
Lay back and relax onto an acupressure mat without clothing and let your body sink into the �bed of needles�.

Try to breathe calmly and consciously. You will notice the very unique and soothing effects. Your blood is pumping and rushing rhythmically across the entire surface of your body that is in contact with the mat.

NOTE for self-harming behavior: Despite the slight pain you are doing yourself some real good here!

Metal Finger Rings

Stress-Level Indication (%)
Sensorial toys help to relax and increase your focus,

Roll them up and down your fingers.

Metal fidget rings are ideal for various stress-related conditions as well as when you get anxious. They are portable, quiet, compact, discrete to use, and can be utilized in almost any setting.

Extra sour candies

Stress-Level Indication (%)
The sweets from "Toxic Waste" should be eaten with caution, as they are really extremely sour. Ideal if you don't have a fresh lemon at hand to bite into.

Kneading against stress

Stress-Level Indication (%)
Therapy putty is available in different resistance levels.

You can torture the putty until your fingers hurt. This works best with the medium strength version. ;-)

Radical acceptance

Stress-Level Indication (%)
Sometimes the current situation simply cannot be changed. And, you are stressed out painting can help.

It's an enjoyable way to relax and calm down.

By the way, "Radical acceptance" comes from the DBT therapy and yes, if you feel like it, you can paint everything black ;-)

Problems with biting nails or pulling out hair?

Stress-Level Indication (%)
Want to get rid of bad habits - such as biting your nails, smoking, etc.?

Then bite on this great chew necklace. You can wear it as jewelry or discreetly store it in your skill bag. It's sturdy, non-toxic and tooth-friendly.


Stress-Level Indication (%)
Diffusing your stress away.

Put a few drops of pure essential oil on a cloth and breathe deeply.

Bergamot, lavender and rosemary are indicated for acute anxiety, stress and depression. Lemongrass and eucalyptus remove mental fatigue and can boost your energy.

Anxiety & Stress Relief and Energy boost

Stress-Level Indication (%)
You get a "clear head" by applying the essential oils roll on onto your temples, wist and neck.

It acts like a refreshing shower, sharpening your concentration and giving you new energy for your situation.

Anti-stress balls for all senses

Stress-Level Indication (%)
A skill that involves several senses at once.

Stress balls are great for reducing physical discomfort and relieving mental tensions.

Perfect for the stressful days at work.

Spiky massage balls

Stress-Level Indication (%)
A skill for medium to medium-high tensions.

With hard hedgehog balls you can massage the soles of your feet or inner arms, for example. The softer balls are great for your hands or to lay on top of it.

Be creative!

Massager (or vibrator)

Stress-Level Indication (%)
A skill for medium tension.

This little "powerhouse" really relieves any tension and you are spoilt for choice between different intensities and different massage  patterns.

Good stress reliever.

Practice mindfulness

Stress-Level Indication (%)
Great guides on how to better handle your emotions and practice mindfulness.

Practical and easily accessible methods to "slip" into meditation practice. Try it out and reduce stress ;-)

DBT skills accessories

A choice of DBT skills accessories

First aid box

First aid box as a gift idea or for yourself.
So you get a worthy storage for your skills.

Storage for your skills

Your emergency case box at home:

Have your skills always ready at hand in a safe place.

In DIY stores you can also find appropriate cases or boxes for storage in different sizes.

Supplement to the DBT therapy

Great resource with many tips and forms to supplement your in-patient or out-patient DBT therapy.


Affiliate Links: On this page, you will find product links that will redirect you to sites such as Amazon. If you buy a product (skill) via the link, we earn a small commission and can finance this website (stress-killers.com). Don't worry, this has no impact on prices or any other disadvantages for you.

Important Disclaimer:
This is an information website and is maintained and supported by affected persons, volunteers and helpers. Under no circumstances does the information replace professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. We do not offer medical, legal or psychological advice. Our compilations and information are based on our own experience, personal assessments and Internet research. The information & skills presented are intended to help you and support you in your everyday high-stress situations or dangerous situations. And, to encourage you - you are not alone!
The contents of stress-killers.com cannot and may not be used to make diagnoses or start treatments on your own.

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