Do you know how to self-sooth in healthy ways?
Is this a question that you have asked yourself before?
I believe that creating personal tools is one of the great keys to feeling good in life. When it comes to self soothing through rocky times, it can be especially important.
When life throws lemons at you, when things don't go as planned, when sad or scary things happen, when stress compounds, personal relationships struggle, or you just find yourself feeling sad, overwhelmed, or stressed....do you know how to take care of yourself in a way that will serve you?
If you do some personal work to have the tools that you need ready to go in your back pocket, you'll be much more likely to have smooth sailing through life's rocky waters.
Sounds good right? How can you do this?
When life gets stressful for whatever reason, we all know that it's common and easy to reach for things to self sooth that aren't healthy for us. Whether it's substances, alcohol, food, shopping, gambling, or any other mood altering thing that doesn't serve you....how often does your instinct to self sooth with something that's truly healthy & helpful kick in during these times? If your answer is not often, you are not alone.
So, what do I suggest? Some preemptive work! I'm a big fan of journaling and this is a time when it can be really helpful.......
- In your journal, start a list of things that truly help to sooth you when you are in moments of stress, sadness, or anxiety, and that are healthy choices. Feeling stuck on this? Ask friends & family what they do! Start a dialog and inspire each other. Think about the things that you do when you loose track of time like drawing, or walking/hiking. Think about what you are doing when you feel most happy? Most at peace?
- Consciously work with these things when you are struggling in someway, and explore what feels best for you.
- When you use one of your self soothing tools, journal a bit about it. Doing this will help the work to sink in for you, and really help you get in touch with what what works for you best, and you'll be much more likely to think of this tool the next time you feel unease rather than reaching for something not as healthy.
- EVERYTHING in life takes practice. The more you practice something, the more natural it becomes. Having these tools in your back pocket ready to go and working with them will allow you to develop habits with them, making it easier to make choices in the moment that will best serve you!
For me, self soothing can be a lot of things depending on what kind of stressor in life I am dealing with and my mood & energy level. I try to ask myself in the moment....what would feel best for me right now? It maybe stopping my workday early to spend the evening in the kitchen cooking up a healthy meal and listening to an inspiring podcast. Water is ALWAYS soothing for me whether it's a swim somewhere, a bath, or a shower. Water makes everything feel better in my world. Putting my earbuds in to listen to a favorite playlist of songs that I absolutely love. Dancing. Taking a walk or a hike in the woods. Meditation. Guided visualization meditation using the Insight Timer app. Yoga. Breathing exercises. calling a friend that I know will just listen, and not try to fix things or inject their opinion.
When you work with this, and get clear on what works for you, you can practice. Practice self soothing in healthy ways, and it will become habit. You then have a powerful tool in your tool belt to handle what life throws your way.
Personal growth does take some work, and it makes the journey so much sweeter. Taking the time and effort to get to know yourself deeply and know how to support yourself through life is invaluable work. If you would like some support on your journey, I'm here! Curious about working with me? Let's chat!
Wishing you peace on your journey,