Emotional First Aid and Toolbox

A compiled list of ways to increase distress tolerance and enhance emotional regulation.

  • Read
  • Make collage using words from a magazine — Who do I want to be?
  • Coloring
  • Exercising — Running
  • Make a list of things you want to do in life– “A bucket list”
  • Cook something yummy to eat
  • Take a nature walk
  • Make a list of favorite things (books, movies, sports, TV, music)
  • Swim
  • Sculpting
  • Stretching
  • Painting
  • Watch funny TV shows, stand up comedy shows
  • Listen to music
  • Cooking
  • Journaling
  • Make a book about yourself
  • Talking
  • Work on a puzzle
  • Gardening
  • Plant flowers
  • Take a hot bath or bubble bath
  • Read a book of inspirational quotes
  • Yoga
  • Kayak
  • Meditation
  • Take a walk on the beach
  • Pray or meditate
  • Singing
  • Creative things– arts and crafts, building things
  • Work with clay
  • Get a pedicure
  • Grab a camera and take some pictures
  • Surf the net
  • Pick a topic and research it
  • Call an old friend and reconnect
  • Use a stress ball and squeeze
  • Play X-box, Wii, Nintendo, computer games
  • Ask a friend for a hug
  • Look up at the stars
  • Practice deep breathing and muscle relaxation
  • Read a poem
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Read a story curled up in bed
  • Buy some flowers and treat yourself
  • Bake
  • Clean
  • Go on a boat ride
  • Go camping
  • Clean out drawers, closets and donate
  • Visit people who are sick, shut in or in trouble
  • Collect things (shells, stamps, coins)
  • Lie in the sun
  • Dance
  • Go sightseeing or visit museums
  • Go to the movies and buy popcorn and candy
  • Horseback riding
  • Meditate
  • Play cards, boardgames or puzzles
  • Sing/Karaoke
  • Stress ball
  • Swim
  • Play a musical instrument
  • Make a gift for someone
  • Make music playlists
  • Go hiking or walking in the woods
  • Get a manicure/pedicure
  • Watch a play, musical or concert
  • Go for a drive
  • Photography
  • Go fishing
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Go to garage sales
  • Volunteer service
  • Blogging
  • Fight for a cause you believe in
  • Go to the fair, carnival, circus, zoo or amusement park
  • Go to the library
  • Listen to sounds of nature
  • Rearrange your room