Try This Tuesday: Take a REST

Have you noticed yourself often saying things in the heat of the moment that did not mean? Or perhaps you frequently make decisions that you later regret. Maybe sometimes your emotions overwhelm you like a tidal wave, and you feel helpless against them.

If any of the above resonated with you, perhaps it’s time to take a REST. No, this post isn’t about getting enough sleep (although that is indeed important… perhaps an upcoming Try This Tuesday).

REST is an acronym that stands for Relax, Evaluate, Set an Intention, and Take Action. REST comes from a branch of therapy known as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and can be very helpful for folks in managing their emotions. The basic principle behind REST is to try to take a brief break from whatever is in front of you and come back when your head is clearer. Here’s a little more about how to implement RESTing:

Relax: Take a breath, pause, step away, count to 10, do whatever you have to do to help yourself calm down. Sometime saying “Stop” or “Relax” out loud can help this. Also, if you already have a self-soothing skill such as deep breathing this can be a great time to implement it.

Evaluate: Now that you’ve calmed down a bit, look more closely at yourself and at the situation that caused the distress. What happened? How do you feel? Is there anything else going on?

Set an intention: Come up with a plan to address the situation. Maybe it's thinking of the appropriate response to someone or recognizing that you need a longer break before going back to studying. This could also be more long term, such as learning better communication styles or a new study technique.

Take Action: When you feel prepared, set your plan into motion.

Also, remember that sometimes things don’t go as planned once you Take Action, so feel free to take a second or third REST as needed.