Self-soothing is a skill that we can all use in various situations. We tend to think of it in response to anxiety, but it can also be helpful in managing impulses that you have or in allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable emotions. When we are self-soothing, we want to think about our own unique selves and what we respond the best to. That can mean exploring our senses and identifying what senses that we are the most in tune with.
1. Move your body
When we are feeling anxious or uncomfortable, we feel it within our body. We each store that stress in various spots such as your jaw, your hips, your shoulders, etc.. Utilizing forms of movement such as yoga or just simply stretching your body can help to open your body back up and create mind-body connection.
2. Visualize peace
As we mentioned, depending on the sense that you feel the most in tune with, visualizing can be really helpful. Pick an image that you find peace in. It might be the ocean, sun, a pet, or anything else that brings you peace. It can be helpful to have a group of these pictures accessible to you even on your phone or in your wallet. Combine this with long, slow, deep breaths.
3. Look at the bigger picture
It can help to look at the situation/stressor from a bigger lens and see the bigger perspective. When we are in a moment, the current situation can feel huge and overwhelming. When we can look at it from a bigger picture it may not have as much weight as we initially feel like it does. Stepping back and thinking if it will matter in a month, a year, or even a few years?
4. Listen to soothing music
Music can be very healing. When we are struggling, lyrics can speak right to our heart. It can help to create a playlist of soothing songs. This can be different from person to person; what soothes you? What calms you? What makes you happy? Having that at your fingertips can help you be more successful at utilizing it.
5. Have comforting scents or essential oils
Most people have scents that can be very comforting for them. It might be the smell of fresh cut grass or rain or clean linen. Consider utilizing this to your advantage and finding wax burners or essential oils that are calming and comforting for yourself.
6. Speak compassionately to yourself
This includes extending yourself the same kindness that you would someone else such as a good friend. This doesn’t come naturally to many of us, but you can learn to treat yourself with care and consideration through practice.
7. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness does not necessarily mean meditation. Meditation can be a form of mindfulness, but to be mindful it means to be aware and focus on what you are doing right now. Pay attention to what is happening.. what do you see, what do you hear, what do you smell, etc…
8. Practice Gratitude
Take time to think about the things you do have versus the things you might be lacking. It can be easy to find things that are not going right in our lives or the things that are out of our control. We all can find at least one small thing to be grateful for. That can even be as small as having a place to sleep at night, having a vehicle to get around, having friends, having social support, having a phone, having clean water to drink, or food to eat.
9. Take the time to care for yourself and your body
Self-care is important and is not as easy as it sounds. It isn’t just about doing the steps to care for yourself like showering or brushing your hair, doing activities that you enjoy, or being in nature. It is also about doing those things with intention. Using mindfulness to be present and engaged in those activities can make the biggest difference.
10. Reach out for support
It is important to have people that you trust to help you and support you. We need connection with others. If you find it difficult to have those people in your life or need additional support, it may be time to reach out for therapy.
If you are searching for a therapist or counselor you can learn more about tips to starting therapy here or use a directory service where you can narrow your search based on types of therapy, insurance, location, etc.. Counselor directories to get started can include psychology today, therapyroute, or mental health match. If you are interested in connecting directly with Mindful Solutions you can reach out via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (619-353-5139), or book your free 30 minute consultation on our website!
*Although I am a therapist by profession, I am not YOUR therapist. This article is for informational and educational purposes only, does not replace therapy and does not establish any kind of therapist-client relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information. To see more information about our disclamer(s): https://www.mindfulsolutionscorp.com/disclaimers