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REST Skill - Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Updated: Jan 3

The REST skill supports our ability to slow down and take effective action when feeling dysregulated! Let's break down this skill step by step!



You might be thinking "Ali, the last thing I want to hear when I'm overwhelmed/dysregulated is that I have to relax" and yes, I hear you! The step is more of a reminder that we need to stop what we're doing and take a few deep breathes before you move forward. It can be helpful to say "Pause" "Stop" "Relax" out loud to yourself to help you slow down the reaction. The other goal with this step is to help us not react impulsively or in a way that may only increase the distressing emotion or situation.


Next, ask yourself what are the facts of the situation. This doesn't mean we are doing a full self-analysis, identifying the problem (as we might not know what triggered it) or come up with a full solution! We want to take note of what is happening for us emotionally and physically. Some questions you can ask yourself is "What is happening in my body?" "What do I notice?" What emotions are coming up for me?"

ex. "I'm noticing my jaw is clenched, my heart is beating fast and I'm feeling overwhelmed, angry,

and sad"


Once we are able to identify what we are feeling and where, we want to set an intention, which is a goal or plan for yourself. This is often a self-soothing activity to help you ground and re-centre yourself. Another intention may be looking at the larger picture and planning to communicate more effectively or work on problem-solving strategies.


Lastly, we want to take action and put our intention in motion. Acting on our intention mindfully aids in the effectiveness of it and helps us reduce the likelihood of impulsive reactions taking over.

Some tips on how to support yourself with this:

Use an emotion wheel to identify the emotions you're feeling Check-in more often on your body to learn different physiological signs that show up for you.

Keep a list of effective and helpful strategies in a note on your phone or somewhere accessible.

Practice this even in neutral or positive moments so you're more likely to use this when you're distressed.

Most importantly, please have patience with yourself as you work through this! The goal is to help you respond more effectively to distressing moments and expand your window of tolerance!

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