The IMPROVE skill literally means to improve a distressing moment by replacing it with positive activity, making the current situation more tolerable. As part of distraction techniques, IMPROVE helps you make anxiety, stress, or an emotional crisis more manageable. Every letter of the acronym IMPROVE relates to a different stress management technique and consists of imagery, meaning, prayer, relaxation, one thing in the moment, vacation, and encouragement.


Use visualization or your imagination to take you to your comfort zone or happy place to help you escape from distressing emotions temporarily. This is good for giving you respite from intense emotional moments.


Try to find a sense of purpose in your emotional crisis. Reflect on your situation, why you feel that way, and if it really helps with your goals. Reflection on the importance of a situation makes it easier to cope with it.


For the religious and spiritual, praying to a supreme being or God can fill you with strength and courage. For those with no beliefs, you could try prying or tuning into your own wise mind or subconscious power. Self-compassion and self-care are also types of prayers to improve your state of mind.


Engaging in relaxing activities like meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, or even taking a hot bath can reduce tension and calm your nerves.

One With the Moment

A mindfulness technique where focusing on a specific activity or your surroundings can distract you from an ongoing emotional crisis. This helps divert your attention from distressing thoughts and negative emotions.


You can improve your current situation by taking a vacation. It doesn’t have to be far; you could go for a walk in the park, to the beach, or a hike in the woods. You can also take a brief break and go on a mental vacation.


Self-encouragement, self-motivation and reaffirmation are some of the best ways to remain positive and neutralize the effects of an overwhelming situation. Positive self-talk can increase resilience, confidence, and your emotional well-being.