FROM THE PAGE: An Excerpt from DBT Skills for Teens with Anxiety

By Kaitlyn Spotts | May 26 2023 | GeneralHealth, Sports, Games, and Crafts

Many of today’s teens feel afraid, worried, disconnected, and lonely. They’re also suspicious of people—particularly adults—who inadvertently minimize or dismiss how they feel.  They are searching for help outside their families.  DBT Skills for Teens with Anxiety by Atara Hiller, PsyD combines DBT, or dialectical behavior therapy, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that combines strategies like mindfulness, acceptance, and emotional regulation, with easy activities and exercises to help teens find some relief from their mental health struggles.


Wherever you go, there you are

What You’ll Need

  • A watch or timer
  • Whatever you need to do an activity of your choice. It can be anything: brushing your teeth or hair, taking a walk, playing an instrument, or a sports activity.

Mindfulness may conjure up images of Buddhist monks meditating on top of a mountain.  DBT invites us to focus on living a mindful life, where we practice mindfulness activities and experiences to read its benefits.  Here are two options for practicing mindfulness to get you started.



Option #1: Observing and describing an activity

  1. Set your watch or timer for 2 minutes.
  2. Use your senses to notice what’s happening while you engage in your chosen activity. What do you see, smell, head, taste, and feel?
  3. Describe whatever you’re noticing without judgment, and stick to the facts. For example, “I taste mint from my toothpaste,” “I smell grass and see pink flowers blooming on a tree,” “I feel bumps on an orange basketball.”
  4. If you notice your attention wandering, bring your attention back to your senses.


Option #2: Participating in an activity

  1. Set your watch or timer for 2 minutes.
  2. Fully engage in your activity of choice. Let go of any self-consciousness or judgment, and immerse yourself in whatever you’re doing.
  3. If you notice your attention wandering, or judgments popping into your head bring you attention back to fully participating in the activity of the present moment.



How was that experience for you?  Was it more enjoyable or interesting than in the past?  How did you feel?  Less anxious?  Were you focused the whole time, or did your mind wander?  Could you bring your attention back?  If so, you were practicing mindfulness successfully.  As you can see, opportunities for mindfulness can be found anywhere anytime.  When you increase the mindful moments in your life, you can reduce the emotional suffering and experience more pleasure and greater well-being.

DBT Skills for Teens with Anxiety
Practical Strategies to Manage Stress and Strengthen Emotional Resilience
Relieve Anxiety, Reduce Emotional Chaos, and Change Unwanted Behaviors with Essential DBT Skills.
$17.99 US
May 16, 2023
192 Pages
Zeitgeist Young Adult