Why Distress Tolerance and Emotion Regulation Skills are Important

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Children in ABA play therapy.

Learning how to deal with stress and regulate emotion is a part of every person’s mental health journey. When it comes to those with neurotypical or autism spectrum disorder, the lack of these tolerances can be especially harmful. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental and neurological disorder that affects how individuals interact, learn, and communicate. These stress and emotional responses are significant for people with mental illnesses or ASD. These responses may be so exaggerated that they can lead to self-harm or other dangerous situations.

Whether or not you have an underlying disorder contributing to ineffective stress and emotional response, you can hone these skills through ABA therapy and other treatments. By defining distress tolerance and emotional regulation, we can learn more about keeping these feelings in check, whether you suffer from a mental illness or disorder or are neurotypical.

 

Distress Tolerance

Learning how to handle stress is essential for everyone, especially patients who are more at risk of self-harm, such as those suffering from mental illness. Distress tolerance is vital for individuals to learn how to deal with negative feelings and relieve themselves from stressful situations. Individuals who fail to tolerate and positively respond to stress effectively are at risk of depression, anxiety, and self-harm.

No matter your situation, distress tolerance takes consistent work to maintain a healthy and effective mental state. There are several strategies to help individuals cope with emotional stress, such as therapy treatments with healthcare professionals. If you lack distress tolerance, we encourage seeking a trained therapist to begin remedying your stress and learning coping habits to manage the stress in your life. You can lessen the effects of stress in your or your child’s life by trying ABA therapy or other distress tolerance treatments.

 

Emotion Regulation Skills

Have you ever felt out of control when it comes to how you are feeling? Emotion regulation skills give individuals the ability to control their emotional state and the ability to exert control over their emotional state. Children with ASD may have a more challenging time processing their emotions and can benefit from improving their behaviors with a medical professional’s help using ABA therapy. It may involve behaviors such as rethinking a challenging situation to reduce anger or anxiety, hiding visible signs of sadness or fear, or focusing on reasons to feel happy or calm.

Failure of emotional regulation skills can result in the following:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Angry outbursts
  • Sadness

Whether a person has ASD or is neurotypical, poor emotional regulation skills can lead to inappropriate reactions and responses. With emotional regulation, you are effectively managing how your body perceives and processes different emotional states. Emotional regulation skills can be taught through therapeutic techniques such as ABA therapy. With these emotional regulation skills, you will become more aware of your emotional responses and insight into managing your feelings effectively.

 

Impacts on Neurotypical and ASD

Both distress tolerance and emotional regulation skills impact those with ASD but also neurotypical persons. Children with ASD who lack emotional regulation skills may exhibit behavioral issues. An individual can mitigate these behavior disturbances by using treatments, teaching children how to manage their feelings and emotions effectively, and the same is true for neurotypical persons. Stress coping and emotional regulation skills are not always learned behavior throughout childhood development. They can manifest themselves into broader issues when a neurotypical person enters adulthood and faces far greater stressful scenarios.

Understanding how a lack of stress management and tolerance, and emotional coping skills affect an individual, you will spot the signs of when it is time to seek counsel from a healthcare professional or counselor and try ABA therapy. As you seek therapy for your child, you can learn more about the importance of your role and involvement as a parent in helping your child’s emotional development. The combined efforts of parents and the Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center therapists together can help get your child on the right path.

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