Raise your hand if you never feel stressed or overwhelmed............................
...... good joke, right?
While I'm sure most of us would love to feel like this:
The reality is that many of us feel like this:
........ and we "cope" with it by saying this:
A simple & fun coping skill that can help us tolerate distressing situations. When we're overwhelmed, stressed, or angry or at a 10 out of 10 (10 being the most intense form of that emotion), it is extremely hard to think straight or make good decisions. It can feel difficult to just survive in those moments. Self soothing can help bring down that intensity from a 10 - 🤬 - to a 6 or 7 - 😠 - making the current situation a little more manageable.
As kids, we naturally gravitate to the things that soothe us. A blanket, a toy, a hug from a parent; instinctively, we seek out things that help us when we are stressed, crying, or at our emotional limit. Somewhere along the way to adulthood, we are convinced that emotions should be "pushed through" and "dealt with," leaving no room for soothing. But why not? Who doesn't want to feel soothed and relaxed in times of distress?
NOW, before you roll your eyes and think "what, is a blanket going to make me stress-free?!"
No, it's not. The items we pick to soothe ourselves don't eliminate the problem nor completely get rid of our feelings—and they don't have to. They do, however, have a comforting and calming effect. So instead of ruling out this skill altogether because it won't get rid of 100% of your ___(insert emotion here)___, ask yourself this:
do I love myself enough to make difficult moments a little less difficult?
So what does self soothing have to do with body parts?
Since we can't effectively THINK ourselves into a state of calm when we're extremely distressed, we instead rely on the five senses to soothe ourselves. Things we can smell, taste, see, touch, or hear. Using sensory objects overrides our self-sabotaging thoughts that tell us we don't deserve to relax or we're overreacting; these bad boys end up targeting relaxation and calm from the body, not the mind.
Here's an example of what this might look like:
✨KAITLIN'S SELF SOOTHING KIT✨
peanut butter cups
pictures of my dog
when I'm stressed: heat (cup of tea, hot water bottle, warm towel)
when I'm angry: cold (holding ice cubes, cold water on my face)
As basic as it sounds, self soothing is an ESSENTIAL thing to prioritize as an adult... Not to mention—who doesn't want to bring some sensory goodness into their lives?