Self-soothing is an essential skill for managing life’s many stressors. It is a way to take care of yourself and create emotional balance when things are tough or overwhelming. Self-soothing helps us to recognize our feelings, soothe ourselves in the moment, deal with difficult emotions, and develop healthier coping strategies.
Whether it’s taking a few deep breaths, going for a walk outdoors, listening to calming music or engaging in any other activity that brings you comfort and joy – self-soothing can help you relax your body and mind while keeping your emotions in check.
In this article we will explore some of the best ways to practice self-soothing as well as how it can be used effectively throughout your day.
What is Self-Soothing and Why is it Important?
Self-soothing is an important skill to learn as it helps to manage difficult emotions and reduce stress levels. It involves calming yourself down in the face of adversity and taking a step back to reassess the situation with a clear mind.
This can be done through a variety of activities such as deep breathing, meditating, yoga, journaling, or engaging in other mindful activities. Self-soothing can help us to be more resilient and better handle the stressors life throws at us
It also allows us to be better equipped to deal with our thoughts and feelings without having them overwhelm us.
This can have both immediate and long-term positive effects on our wellbeing. In the moment, it can help us remain focused and regulated by allowing us to recognize our emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them.
In the long term, regular self-soothing can help improve overall emotional health by helping to create healthier coping skills that reduce stress levels while increasing resilience and confidence.
Additionally, this can assist in improving mental clarity, sleep quality, and even physical health since research has shown that prolonged stress can increase inflammation throughout the body which may lead to chronic illnesses.
Benefits of Practicing Self-Soothing
Practicing self-soothing is an important skill to have in life. It helps us to cope with difficult situations, overcome anxiety and other negative emotions, and regulate our own emotions.
Practicing this method can also help us to gain control of our reactions to stressful events. When we practice self-soothing techniques regularly, it enables us to recognize when we are feeling overwhelmed or stressed and take the necessary steps to ground ourselves in the present moment.
Mental Health Benefits
In terms of mental health benefits, self-soothing can reduce levels of stress and improve our overall mood. It helps us become less reactive to external triggers such as loud noises or unexpected events that would normally cause us to become overwhelmed or enraged.
Furthermore, it gives us space for reflection which allows us to respond thoughtfully instead of reacting impulsively. This makes it easier for us to solve problems effectively and make better decisions when faced with difficult situations.
Improving Resilience & Relationships
Additionally, self-soothing helps cultivate resilience, which is essential for managing difficult life circumstances such as job loss or illness. When faced with adversity, people who practice self-soothing are more likely to develop positive coping mechanisms that enable them to remain calm even in the face of adversity.
Finally, practicing self-soothing can also lead to improved relationships since it reduces the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy behaviour such as lashing out at loved ones during times of distress.
10 Ways to Practice Self-Soothing
Not everyone will respond to the same activities, so it’s important to experiment with different methods until you find what works best for you. Below are some ideas for getting started with your own self-soothing routines.
1. Take a few moments to just breathe deeply, focusing on your inhale and exhale. This can help you become more mindful and aware of the present moment.
2. Listen to calming music or relaxing nature sounds that can help provide a soothing atmosphere.
3. Practice yoga or stretching exercises as this can help relax tense muscles and reduce stress levels.
4. Write in a journal to express your thoughts and feelings which can be cathartic and calming in times of distress.
5. Get outside for some fresh air and sunlight, connecting with nature can be incredibly calming and grounding.
6. Drink some herbal tea, such as chamomile or valerian root, which both have natural soothing properties that may help you relax better before bedtime.
7. Soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts which have magnesium sulfate that can improve moods by boosting serotonin levels in the brain as well as reduce muscle tension throughout the body.
8. Read inspiring poetry or literature that uplifts your spirit, making you feel happier and more relaxed in times of stress or anxiety.
9. Play soothing games such as chess or solitaire to take your mind off stressful issues for a while so you can feel relaxed again afterwards.
10. Make yourself a cup of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows—comfort foods like this are good for the soul.
How To Make Self-Soothing Part of Your Daily Routine
To make it part of your daily routine, it’s important to start small and gradually increase the scope or intensity of your self-care activities.
For example, you could begin by finding ways to relax throughout the day such as listening to music, practicing yoga, taking a hot bath or shower, meditating, or going for a walk. Additionally, making time for yourself each day is essential for self-soothing. This could include reading a book for pleasure, enjoying a favorite hobby or activity, or just spending time alone with your thoughts.
It’s also important to practice positive affirmations and express gratitude on a daily basis because they can help to shift our perspective and bring more joy into our lives. Being mindful of how we talk to ourselves is paramount too – learning how to recognize negative thought patterns and reframe them in healthier ways can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to creating sustainable self-care habits.
Use Self-Soothing in Difficult Situations
Start by focusing on your breath. Take in a few slow, deep breaths, allowing each inhalation and exhalation to fill your body with calmness and serenity. This will help create a sense of safety and peace within you, even if everything around you feels chaotic or overwhelming.
Next, practice mindful awareness. Notice the sensations in your body, such as tightness in the chest or pounding of the heart – bring compassion and kindness towards yourself as you acknowledge them. This will allow you to stay grounded in the present moment and keep perspective on what’s happening around you without getting carried away by fear or anxiety.
You can also use self-talk as a way of self-soothing. Talk to yourself in an encouraging manner, using positive affirmations that remind you of your strengths and resilience. If negative thoughts arise, try reframing them into something more supportive – this will help shift how your brain processes information so that it can focus on solutions rather than problems.
Finally, make sure to take breaks when necessary – give yourself permission to take a step back from whatever is causing distress so that you can recharge and come back with fresh perspective and energy. Taking care of yourself first is key for finding the inner courage needed for challenging situations!
Final Thoughts on the Power of Self-Soothing
Self-soothing can be a powerful tool for helping us deal with stress and difficult emotions in a healthy way. By taking the time to practice self-care activities, we can learn how to regulate our systems and become more resilient in the face of life’s obstacles. With regular practice, self-soothing can become an important part of our daily routine, allowing us to take better care of ourselves and cope with whatever life throws our way.
Overall, self-soothing is an invaluable skill that should not be underestimated – it can be the difference between feeling overwhelmed and feeling empowered. So make sure to keep it in mind and use it whenever you need it.
FAQ – Self-Soothing
What is unhealthy self-soothing?
Unhealthy self-soothing is when we use activities, behaviors or substances to temporarily relieve distress but it has a negative effect in the long term. Examples of unhealthy self-soothing activities may include excessive drinking, overeating, smoking, gambling or shopping.
How do I teach myself to self-soothe?
Self-soothing is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. You can start by focusing on your breath and engaging in mindful awareness of your body and thoughts. Positive affirmations, gratitude and reframing negative thought patterns can also be helpful in cultivating self-soothing habits.
What does self-soothing look like for adults?
Self-soothing for adults can look like different things depending on the individual. Some examples may include taking a walk in nature, journaling, listening to music, practicing yoga or meditation, taking a warm bath or shower, talking with friends, reading a book and spending time in nature.
At what age do you start self-soothing?
Self-soothing is a skill that can be learned at any age. However, it may be beneficial for caregivers to help young children learn self-soothing techniques, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. This will help them to develop their own self-soothing skills as they grow up.