DBT Skills: PLEASE Master and Self-Care

For our final blog post in our mini Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills series, we’re going to consider the importance of self-care and focus on the PLEASE Master skill set. These skills are part of the Emotion Regulation module of DBT, which has three goals: to help us better understand and address our emotions; to decrease our experiences with intense, negative emotions; and to reduce emotional suffering.

When we neglect our self-care, we are more likely to engage in impulsive or damaging behaviors due to our emotional state.

We’re more vulnerable to “losing it” when we feel exhausted, stressed, “hangry,” or sick. The PLEASE Master skill set directs us towards self-care and fosters balance to help us better control our thoughts and actions. 

P and L – Treat Physical Illness

This reminder encourages us to attend to our medications and health needs. You want to start each day in the strongest possible way, so be sure to follow your daily medication or supplement regimen and see your primary care physician or a specialist when needed.

E – Balanced Eating

Our daily diet impacts our mood, energy, and physical wellbeing. Keep your body and mind well-fueled by eating every three to four hours throughout the day. Incorporate protein, fat, and carbohydrates into each meal and snack. If you struggle with anxiety or insomnia, drink beverages with caffeine in moderation and consider avoiding them all-together after 12pm.

A – Avoid Mood-Altering Drugs

Recreational drugs and alcohol can reduce your ability to resist engaging with negative emotions and destructive urges. They influence our behavior by lowering our inhibitions.  Alcohol and other drugs can exacerbate feelings of depression or sadness. 

S – Balanced Sleep

Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. A well-rested body and mind can better handle negative emotions like frustration or impatience. When we get enough sleep, we’re more aware, alert, and resilient. 

E  – Exercise

Exercise is an important component of both physical and mental health. Even better, the neurochemicals and endorphins released during physical activity serve as natural antidepressants and may reduce anxiety. Whether it’s a neighborhood walk with your dog or a workout class with a friend, try to move your body each day. For individuals in eating disorder treatment, be sure to engage with this component of self-care in a safe and balanced way.

The final component of the PLEASE Master skill set is to build mastery by participating in activities that bring us joy.

When we do things that we’re good at, we feel confident and accomplished. We more easily recognize our personal capabilities and strengths. These positive feelings allow us to more readily tackle whatever challenges come our way. 

Pay attention to your daily habits and patterns and use the PLEASE Master skill set to improve your self-care efforts.


Reach out to the team at Columbus Park to learn more about our highly effective evidence-based approach to treatment.