4 Ways to Calm the Overwhelm Quickly

When you’re overwhelmed with emotions, your brain is NOT processing information.

This means that when your teen is in emotional distress, it’s not the time to talk about feelings or solve problems.  It’s time to practice coping until your teen finds a sense of calm.

TIPP skills in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) change your body chemistry quickly so that your teen can return to balance.  TIPP is an acronym for temperature, intense exercise, paced breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Let’s look at each one in detail below:


Alter your body temperature to calm down quickly.  Splash cold water on your face or run cold water on the insides of your wrists.  Take a hot shower. Keep a frozen face mask in your freezer and place it on your face for twenty seconds.

Intense Exercise

Drop and do twenty push-ups (if you can!)  Do jumping jacks. Take a brisk walk around the block.

Paced Breathing

Slow down your breath to slow down your body’s reactions.  You can use tools like the Calm app for guided paced breathing exercises.  See an example below.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Tense and relax the muscles in your body one at a time or all together to release tension and return to calm.  Here’s an example of the PMR that we practiced this week in our DBT groups.

You can’t teach someone to swim when they’re drowning, so help your teen tackle the tools they need to decrease emotions quickly and effectively cope with emotional overwhelm.

Need support with your teen helping them overcome extreme emotions? We’ll work with your teen to create a coping plan that works so that they can love the life they live (even if they have anxiety or depression.)

Click the button below and connect with us for a free parent call. We’ll help you get clear on the behaviors that are hindering your teen’s happiness and collaborate with you to develop a plan for the next best steps in support.