TIPP Skills

Sometimes we cannot control the chaos of the waves of life; however, we all have the power to adjust our sails through skill use! This month we are highlighting the T.I.P.P. Skills which help us decrease emotional intensity and reduce overall suffering, even amongst very challenging times.

Often during very stressful situations our “fight or flight” system hijacks our body/brains which leads to emotion minded thoughts and/or behaviors which can make the situation worse. This system is an automatic response to threats in our environment which help keep us safe and alive as a species. For instance, if there is a tiger chasing us the “fight or flight” system gets us to respond very quickly to run/fight and can be life saving. However, if we are running late to an event, behind in our work duties, or get into an argument with a loved one, it is not helpful to be in “fight or flight” as this shuts the problem solving center of the brain down. It’s more challenging to respond effectively if your frontal lobe is off-line. However, The T.I.P.P. skills help us bio-hack our nervous system to help get us out of the “fight or flight” state and back into a Wise Mind. 

Remember the Acronym T.I.P.P.

T: Stands for “Tipping the Temperature” 

Try submerging your face into a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds while holding your breath and come up for some deep breaths. Try this for several rounds. This will lower your heart rate and decrease the possibility of responding impulsively . If you don’t have ice water you can use an ice pack, frozen veggies from the freezer, or an instant cold pack to hold on your face and bend over to hold your breath for 30 second increments.   

*Note: If you are taking a beta-blocker or have a heart condition, consult with a health-care provider prior to trying this skill.

I: Stands for “Intense Exercise”

Small bursts of exercise can also give the intense energy of an emotion such as anger/anxiety somewhere to go and can be helpful in helping our body calm down afterwards. Try doing some sprints, wall sits, burpees, or jumping jacks for a few minutes. 

P: Stands for “Paced Breathing”

Slowing down our breathing with intentionality and mindfulness can also get us out of the fight or flight state. Try inhaling through the nose and focusing on longer breaths out of the mouth. Do this practice for 2 minutes or more. There are several helpful apps online for guided practice.  

P: Stands for “Progressive Muscle Relaxation”

While practicing paced breathing it is also helpful to squeeze different groups of muscles while inhaling, and then relaxing these muscles during the exhale. You can start at the top of your body (face) and work your way down to your toes. 

Practice these skills to help yourself feel in control of your emotions and decrease suffering!


Written by, Krystal Lopez, Psy.D

Photo by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash

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