IMPROVE the moment is a distress tolerance skill in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It is a skill to help us in the midst of challenging times. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we automatically feel better, but it can help us from feeling worse.
Use imagery to help you cope. You can imagine yourself in a safe place. You can imagine yourself coping with the difficult situation you’re experiencing in an effective way. You can imagine a place that makes you feel happy. Any images that help you feel safe and calm.
Make meaning out of your pain. This can be a challenging skill, because at times, we aren’t ready to make meaning. There are times, however, when we can look at a painful experience, and see what we can learn from that experience or how we can grow. We can also make meaning by finding moments of gratitude within our pain. For example, we can express gratitude for a friend or loved one who supports us in our pain.
Prayer can mean many different things! It can be praying to God, or it can be praying to a higher power. Prayer can be connecting with Wise Mind, meditating, or setting intentions. It can be going on a hike and taking in nature. It can be volunteering and connecting with your larger community. Prayer can be anything that allows you to connect with a higher power.
Engage in relaxing activities. Take a gentle yoga class or practice deep belly breathing. Try a half-smile meditation. Take a hot bath or shower. Drink a cup of your favorite tea. Hug a friend or family member. Watch your favorite movie snuggled up in your favorite blanket.
O: One Thing in the Moment
Similar to the DBT mindfulness skill, One-Mindful, be mindful of what you are doing, and only do one thing at a time. So often, we multitask. Instead, put down your cell phone, stop scrolling through social media, turn off the television, and just do one thing in the moment.
Give yourself a vacation! This can be a week-long European destination trip, or it can be a brief 10-minute vacation in your mind. It could be imagining yourself going on a dream vacation, or it can even be giving yourself a few hours, removed from work, and watching your favorite TV show.
Be your own cheerleader! Talk to yourself the way you would your best friend who might be struggling. While this can be challenging to do, tell yourself all of the ways you are coping well. Encouraging statements like, “you got this!”, or “you’re doing a great job,” can help us in challenging times.