Sometimes, your life feels like chaos. Emotions can come out of nowhere or be so intense that you don’t know what to do with them. You don’t trust yourself to cope with your feelings effectively, and you worry they’ll consume you. You wonder why you struggle so much with your emotions and don’t how to regain control.

That’s where ABC PLEASE skills come in.


ABC Skills (from DBT, a type of therapy) help us reduce our vulnerability to what we call “emotion mind.” They help us maintain better control of our feelings and behavior and are part of the foundation for creating a life worth living.

So what are they?

ABC: Here, you’re focusing on engaging in life-enhancing activities and rehearsing for difficult situations.

AAccumulate Positive Emotions: This means that we’re doing things that bring us joy and make us feel good. In the short-term, it means spending time (however brief) each day doing something pleasant. Longer term, it means setting up your life so that you’re able to experience more joy and positivity moving forward.

BBuild Mastery:  This means that we’re doing things that help us feel accomplished and effective. We participate in activities that lead to us experiencing a sense of competence. Over time, this feeling can chip away at negative feeling states such as hopelessness and helplessness.

CCope Ahead of Time with Emotional Situations: Here, you anticipate challenges and devise a plan on the front end in order to cope effectively with situations that might lead to intense emotions.

PLEASE: Here, you’re focusing on taking care of your mind by attending to your body.

PL – PhysicaL Illness: attend to pain and illness

E  –  balance Eating

A – Avoid mood-Altering substances

S – balance Sleep

E – get Exercise.

With the PLEASE skills, you’re setting yourself up physically/engaging in self-care to reduce emotion sensitivity. Have you ever noticed that you’re that much more emotional – and unable to cope with life’s stressors and demands when you are hungry, in pain, or sleep-deprived? PLEASE skills encourage care for our bodies in order to reduce our susceptibility to intense emotions.  We can’t control many events in our lives, but we can steady ourselves against these events and our reactions by taking care of our well-being.


If you want more help integrating ABC PLEASE and learning other DBT skills, including those that help you cope with distress and interact with others more effectively, DBT therapy might be a good fit for you. We can help you with DBT individually or in a group setting. Here, you’ll learn a whole host of DBT skills that can reduce suffering, improve functioning, and help you create a life you want to live.