7 Ways You Can IMPROVE the Moment (When Things Just Suck!)

"Just get over it, already!" 

UGH! Who else hates it when someone tells you these 5 little word!?!? I know I can't be the only one. It can be so invalidating when someone tells you to just stop doing, feeling or experiencing something- especially when it feels so important to you. 

However, as much as it pains me to admit this, sometimes it's just not healthy to stay feeling miserable, overwhelmed, angry, and/or stressed out. It is really easy to stay stuck on the what things should be versus the way things are. (Note: This is not to say you aren't still correct in your assessment of how things should be). I have found that just because something or someone should be a certain way, doesn't mean they always are and that this is often out of my control.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) outlines 7 ways you can improve the moment when things aren't they way they should be. I have found these skills super helpful not only in helping my clients, but even my own mindset during these times. To remember these skills, DBT suggests using the acronym IMPROVE:


By visualizing pleasant outcomes, using your own imagination, or completing a guided imagery, you can improve the experience you are having. A favorite strategy amongst therapist is to think about a calm, safe place where nothing bad has ever happened, can happen, or will happen. (Like the penguin ice cave Tyler Durden thinks of in Fight Club)


Ask why is this happening? What is the purpose? Sometimes by understanding the answers to these questions, we are better able to empathize with the way things are, rather than the way they should be.


Connecting or reflecting spiritually within your beliefs can be helpful during these times as well. If you are part of a religious or spiritual community, you can reach out to those people for support. You can also journal, meditate, or perform some other spiritual rituals/practices you find calming.


Take a nap, book a massage, go to the beach, or indulge in another relaxing activity.

One Thing in the Moment

Focus on one sense (sight, sound, taste, touch or smell) or one task. By focusing on one thing at a time, we end up being more productive, and less stressed overall.


Taking an actual, literal vacation can be awesome if you have the money and time to do so! However, for those who aren't able to book a flight to an island on a whim, you can take a mental vacation by reading a book or watching a movie. You can also create a vision board or a Pinterest board dedicated to Vacation Planning.


Read inspirational quotes. Talk kindly to yourself. I often post inspiring and motivational quotes on Instagram (Follow me @mallorygrimste).

FREE BONUS: Get the COMPLETE list of IMPROVE skills in one easy to download printable PDF

Mallory Grimste, LCSW - Teen Therapist

Mental Health Counseling for Anxious Tweens, Teens, and Young Adults | Woodbridge, CT