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How to Use T.I.P.P. Coping Skills For Regulating Emotions and Combating Anxiety/Panic Attacks 

Julie Kurkela

Anxiety is something that a substantial portion of individuals struggle with, and it can range from mild to severe. The good news is that there is a lot of research that helps to showcase different coping skills and behaviors that can help manage anxiety and panic attacks. 

One example of this is T.I.P.P. coping skills, which help to regulate your emotions. Any type of coping skill that engages one or more of your five senses is a great way to distract yourself from feelings of anxiety.


Keep reading to find out more about T.I.P.P. and how this can help with managing anxiety. 

What is T.I.P.P.? 

Many people may be unfamiliar with what T.I.P.P. means and how it is helpful for anxiety disorders. This is an abbreviation for temperature, intense exercise, paced breathing, and paired muscle relaxation. 

T.I.P.P. is a part of D.B.T., which stands for dialectical behavior therapy, which is closely related to cognitive behavioral therapy. The purpose of both D.B.T. and T.I.P.P. is to help individuals gain the skills they need to regulate and manage their emotions. 

T.I.P.P. focuses on providing individuals with realistic skills to help them manage intense emotions at any given time. These skills are highly regulated, helping to actually change your body’s chemistry to reduce the effects of things like stress and anxiety. Many of the T.I.P.P. skills achieve this by helping to focus on the five senses. 

If you don’t know what T.I.P.P. methods will work best for you, you could always consult your therapist as they can recommend the best approach. 


One method T.I.P.P. skills used is temperature control to regulate your emotions. This is achieved by changing your body’s temperature, which can help to slow down your heart rate and calm the nervous system. A common example of this is flashing cold water on your face or using an ice pack. 

Intense Exercise 

Another T.I.P.P. method that is very beneficial in a variety of ways is intense exercise. Intense exercise can help release feelings of stress and anxiety by allowing you to get your energy out. Exercise also helps to release your body’s endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that can help boost your mood. 

Examples of intense exercise include aerobics, dancing, jogging, or kickboxing. 

Paced Breathing 

A method very commonly used for people with anxiety is paced or controlled breathing. How you breathe has a significant impact on your emotions, especially your nervous system. Paced breathing strives to regulate your heart rate and reduce negative emotions by bringing your focus to the present. 

Paced breathing is a broad term for controlling your breathing and focusing on the sensations. You can try different breathing exercises to see what works best for you. 

Paired Muscle Relaxation 

Paired muscle relaxation is a technique where you focus on tensing one group of muscles for a few seconds before completely relaxing them. This technique helps to bring awareness to your body and how stress and anxiety impact the different muscle groups. By purposefully tensing and relaxing specific muscle groups, you will be able to become more aware of when you are tensing your muscles due to anxiety. 

Self-Soothing and the Five Senses 

One coping skill for anxiety and panic attacks that goes hand-in-hand with T.I.P.P. is self-soothing. Self-soothing is when you do certain things that help to calm you down and make you feel present. For self-soothing techniques to be effective, they usually need to focus on at least one of the five senses. 

Sense of Sight 

The sense of sight provides many opportunities for self-soothing in stressful or anxious situations. It is one of the most accessible senses to utilize since there is always something you can visually focus on. 

For example, if you are able to go outside, look around and focus on what you see. Maybe you can focus on the trees and start to identify individual leaves and colors. Or you can look up at the sky and focus on the clouds. 

You can also watch a movie that you find beautiful or you can self-soothe with photographs that bring you joy or peace. 

Sense of Smell 

The sense of smell is very powerful and can greatly help you in stressful or anxious situations. Some people utilize this sense by wearing perfume or cologne that reminds them of something that brings them joy. You could also use aromatherapy by testing out different relaxing essential oils. 

Sense of Hearing 

Having self-soothing habits that focus on your sense of hearing is also a great option if you are feeling anxious. The most common option is to listen to music that reminds you of a happy memory or helps to put your mind at ease. You can also go outside and enjoy the sounds of nature or put on an audiobook to listen to in the background if you are feeling stressed out. 

Sense of Taste 

If you want to feel fully present in the moment, one sense to focus on is the sense of taste. You can immerse yourself in your sense of taste by eating your favorite food or drinking a good cup of coffee. This is an excellent self-soothing habit whether you are out and about or at home. 

Sense of Touch 

Touch is incredibly powerful and can have an immediate impact on your nervous system. Touch self-soothing habits include things like holding your favorite blanket, petting an animal, or wearing clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident. 

Coping Skills That Can Help With Anxiety 

Learning how to de-escalate anxiety, especially before it spirals into a panic attack, is incredibly important. There are many coping skills you can use to achieve this, no matter where you are or what is causing your anxiety. Here are some examples of coping skills that can help you feel grounded and focused in the present moment: 

  • Chewing ice: Not only does chewing ice engage your sense of taste, but it also uses the T.I.P.P. method of regulating your body temperature. 
  • Fidget accessories: There are many fidget accessories available that can be incredibly beneficial for managing anxiety. This includes accessories like rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc. These accessories help to keep your mind busy as well as engage your sense of touch. 
  • Cold showers: Taking cold showers is an excellent method of reducing anxiety and helping you to focus on your body and the present moment. This uses the T.I.P.P. method of lowering your body temperature to reduce your heart rate and calm your nervous system. 
  • Deep breathing: Deep breathing is not necessarily the same as paced breathing, but it can have a similar impact. This is also something you can practice anywhere, even if you are somewhere in public. 
  • Counting: A popular way of drawing your focus away from your anxiety is to count. You could count numbers in your head, or you could find items around you to count, such as the number of people wearing hats. This helps to engage your sense of sight and gives your mind a goal to focus on. 
  • Drawing: Anything that is remotely artistic can be incredibly beneficial for people who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks. Drawing utilizes the sense of sight and touch and provides your mind with an outlet. 

Treatment with Harmony Bay

Harmony Bay is an outpatient behavioral health service that offers primary mental health treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. Our mission is to make mental health care convenient and affordable while providing an unmatched experience to our clients. contact us today by calling 855.765.6399.