If you're not aware of how the simple act of holding ice can be an easy, powerful way to help keep you safe from things like self-harming when in distress, click here to read, "Controlling Impulses by Starting Small: DBT Ice Cube Exercise," then read on.
Yesterday I was inspired when a tweeter said she asked a waitress for a zip lock baggie of ice. She wanted to use the ice to help with distress she was experiencing.
Today I was preparing for some inevitable distress. I had to take a loved one to the airport. I will miss her greatly while she is away for the next few weeks. Because I know I become emotionally dysregulated when I see her off on her trips, I knew I needed to plan with distress tolerance skills.
Bringing ice cubes with me to the airport wasn't really any option. Instead, I chilled a bottle of water until it was nearly frozen. I carried it around in my bag, and in moments of great distress and anxiety, I held it. The intense cold sensation really helped to ground me and take my mind off of the distressing situation, even if only for a moment here and there.
Next time you have to go to something stressful, be it a doctor's appointment, seeing a loved one off at the airport, grocery shopping -- whatever it is, consider freezing or chilling in the refrigerator a bottle of water and then taking it with you to use for this DBT exercise. When you feel better, you can drink it and stay hydrated, which is also a healthy choice. :)
Today I can check off the following skills on my DBT Diary Card (click to get a free, printable one for yourself):
- Distract/Distress Tolerance
- Build Mastery -- I'm learning Spanish, and I put together the sentence, "La botella de agua está fría," meaning "The bottle of water is cold," as I practiced this skill. I hope I got this right. :)
Have you ever used the DBT Ice Cube skill before? Might you try the water bottle idea? What works for you when you are in distress?
Thanks for reading.