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Anger. Stress. Fear. Some days, emotions run so high it feels like you won’t get through it. Spoiler alert: you have before, and you will again. But still, on those days, it’s helpful to have some self-soothing tools in your back pocket to make everything feel a little more survivable.
Okay first off, what exactly is self-soothing?
It’s a coping strategy used in Dialectal Behavioural Therapy (DBT) to relieve stress and cope with difficult emotions.
Often when things get too much, we either try to ignore the feelings or we use what might feel good in the moment, but actually hurts more in the long run (i.e. heavy drinking, drugs, etc.).
This is where self-soothing comes in. By practicing calming and comforting activities that use the five senses, you’re better able to cope with your emotions as well as calm both your mind and body.
No matter if you have a mental illness like depression or are just really stressed out, this strategy can be used by anybody, whenever and wherever you are.
So why do it? What do you get out of it? There are lots of great things you can get out of self-soothing. Just some of the benefits are:
Before jumping into the activities you can try, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you start to practice self-soothing:
Here are a few easy self-soothing activities to try using your five senses–sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
What makes you happy to look at? When you’re stressed and overwhelmed, sometimes you just need something fun or calming to look at. Some ideas for self-soothing using sight include:
What sounds make you smile? Relaxing with sound is another great way to help you calm down. Some ideas for using sounds include:
Touch can be a really powerful way to self-soothe. Some ideas using touch include:
If using your sense of smell is soothing for you, some ideas you might want to try include:
Is food soothing for you? Taste is another great way to self-soothe. Here are a few ideas for taste:
Sometimes, emotions are a lot and it might feel like you can’t handle them. But with these senses self-soothing ideas, you will be better prepared and more equipped to cope the next time those crazy intense emotions come your way.
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