Distress Tolerance vs. Buffering?

Recently, my therapist gave me a list of distress tolerance techniques for my anxiety. My homework was to pick some to add to my toolbox of things to try when my anxiety is high.

I noticed things on the list like “watching tv,” “playing computer games,” and “surfing the internet.”

I found this interesting since all of these activities COULD be buffering depending on how you’re using them. In this case, these activities were listed under distraction techniques.

So, in this case, these techniques are being used to distract from the anxiety. Would this be considered buffering if the goal is to distract from the feeling?

Or is it possible that when my anxiety is high or particularly intense – which it does get to the point of verging on a panic attack – that maybe these techniques are not considered buffering but tools to lessen the anxiety in order to be able to handle it more effectively.

Meaning, bringing the anxiety down to a tolerable level to where I might be able to then sit with the feeling without getting into panic mode?

I’m trying to understand the difference between distress tolerance techniques and buffering. Is it considered buffering if I use these activities to “treat” my anxiety rather than “avoid” it?

I would like therapy and SCS to complement each other, and just a little confused by these conflicting ideas. I would like some insight from the SCS point of view. Thank you!