7 Ways You Can Self-Soothe
When we get lost in anxiety and in the heat of our strong and overwhelming emotions, we often forget that we have the capability to self-soothe and voluntarily decrease our anxiety by pleasing our senses and our minds and learning to tolerate stress. We often disregard simple non-harmful self-soothing activities as useless and a waste of time without even trying. While these activities may not erase your anxiety they could decrease it and prevent you from engaging in addictive and self-destructive behaviors and create more problems.
Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, without judging it as good or bad, acceptable or non-acceptable. You simply accept what you are feeling without trying to change that. Implementing mindfulness in your daily life can not only decrease your anxiety but can also help you regulate your emotions. When you feel overwhelmed with thoughts, emotions and sensations sit down for a while and pay attention to them without judging them as good or bad, and without identifying with them.
Have Soothing Sensory Experiences
The effect that sensory experiences can have on our mood is huge. You might not even realize that your mood is affected by a negative sensory experience you might overlook. Maybe the culprit for your irritability is the smell in the room, the unpleasant lighting or the lack of oxygen in the room. You can make yourself feel calmer and improve your mood by simply listening to calming music, lighting a scented candle, sitting in a visually pleasing room or garden etc. When you activate your senses by receiving positive sensory, your brain and your thoughts become more positive as well.
Take a Walk
Taking a walk is both sensory pleasing and the physical activity helps you release stress. You can go for more intense physical activities if you feel like you need it. When you are taking a walk you are actually practicing mindfulness, by paying attention to your surroundings, and forgetting about your unhappy thoughts.
Engage in Creative Activities
There is something very relieving about using art and creativity to express your inner emotional state. It helps you understand your emotions and let go of them in a healthy way. For example: take a piece of paper and draw, write a book or a poem. Guaranteed you will feel more at peace with yourself if you do this. Art gives us an outlet for expressing our strong emotions and a way to externalize them.
Focus on Helping Other People
Focusing on other people and their problems, and offering your help can make you feel purposeful and divert you away from your own ego and your own suffering. Helping someone can make you feel at peace with yourself. It can also strengthen your feelings of being part of something bigger and meaningful.
Read a Book or Watch a Movie
Reading books and watching movies can be pleasing to your mind as they allow you to get inside a new world with characters who have their own troubles and emotional lives. While this may be soothing, for some people it could be addictive, as they use movies, books, and fiction to escape their own lives. If you find yourself spending too much time on watching TV series and movies, and neglecting normal daily activities, stop considering this a healthy soothing activity and find a way to lessen the amount of time you spend on it.
Have a Warm Bubble Bath
The warm water relaxes your body and diminishes the physical symptoms of anxiety such as muscle aches and muscle tension. The physical relaxation you get from the hot bath can diminish your mental anxiety as well.
Have a Tasty and Well-Prepared Meal
A lot of people have a tendency to binge-eat large quantities of unhealthy food when they are feeling stressed, because eating gives us a dopamine rush and makes us feel happier and more soothed for a while. However you don't have to do this in an unhealthy way. Preparing yourself a good and tasty meal can be very soothing, without the unhealthy consequences of too much eating.