Why TIPP Will Get You Through an Emotional Crisis

Verywell / Julie Bang

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Every Friday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, shares the “Friday Fix”—a short episode featuring a quick, actionable tip or exercise to help you manage a specific mental health issue or concern.

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Friday Fix: Episode 172

There’s a lot of information out there about how to calm yourself when you experience a distressing emotion. Most of those strategies involve thinking positive thoughts or doing something productive. While those can be helpful skills, sometimes you may need to tackle the problem from a different angle.

When your nervous system is activated and you feel complete panic, thinking calming thoughts might not cut it. Or, when you feel so angry you can’t think clearly, you won’t be able to have a productive problem-solving conversation. 

Sometimes, it’s helpful to calm your nervous system first. Changing your body’s physiology can calm both your brain and your body.

That’s where TIPP comes in. It’s an acronym that stands for "temperature, intense exercise, paced breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. Those four strategies can calm your distress and prevent you from taking action that isn’t helpful.

TIPP is a strategy that is most commonly taught as part of DBT. DBT skills groups teach a variety of strategies for managing emotions in a healthy way and reducing conflict in relationships. And while it’s most often used to treat people who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, many other people can benefit from DBT.

In this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, I share how to use TIPP, when it’s helpful, and how it can get you through an emotional crisis. 

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Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors. Thank you.

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By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.