Self soothing refers to the ability to regulate your body and emotions with actionable steps. The following actions can bring a sense of calm back to the day. Young children can also incorporate these tips into their routines and experience the benefits.
Self Soothing Tip #1 – Know Your Triggers
Knowing what behaviors and words trigger you is an important first step to self soothing. Ideally, you can avoid triggering behavior altogether, but sometimes, you may not have control over your surroundings or the people who trigger you.
For example, people with a history of body dysmorphia or eating disorders might feel triggered when people comment on perceived weight gain or loss. If you know that these types of comments could trigger you, you can brace yourself for the comment. There might be comfort in knowing, “that type of comment would trigger me.”
By naming the trigger and having compassion for yourself, you can self soothe and bring yourself a bit of comfort.
Self Soothing Tip #2 – Seek Out Interactive Activities
This tip requires another person or animal to bring you comfort. Given that pets help reduce people’s blood pressure, it makes sense that when feeling strong emotions, being around another living being can help.
If you have a pet, great. If not, there are other ways to experience interactive soothing: do you have a friend or a partner who you can ask for a hug or a back rub? Is there an affordable place to get a massage?
Self Soothing Tip #3 – Breathe Your Way to a Calm Place
Our article, Embracing Anxiety: 3 Tips from a Licensed Therapist offers more tips to work through anxiety. Many of those tips can help soothe. For breathing your way to a calmer place, try taking three deep breaths. Upon inhaling, count “one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi,” and pause for one second while holding your breath before a slow exhale.
Or, try closing one nostril by placing your index finger on the right or left nostril. Then, breathe in through the open nostril for a count of three. At the peak of the inhale, switch your index finger to cover the other nostril upon exhaling. The simple coordination this breathing requires can help a rattled mind.
Find the Right Therapist For You
In addition to self soothing, speaking with a healthcare professional can also bring comfort and clarity into your life. At North American Mental Health Services, we believe that feeling better starts with finding someone to listen to your experiences.
While some of these ideas require advanced planning, they do help soothe a rattled nervous system.