There are many reasons why self-soothe can be a great addition to any self-care practices. I will talk about why it is beneficial, and the ways you can start to implement this practice into your life.
Self-Soothe is a technique used to help individuals learn to regulate their emotions. I first came across this technique in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). You create a box or container of options for yourself to use when you are feeling upset, out of control, at the effect of...etc. When those feelings are present you choose the box of things that create different possibilities, divert your attention, and ultimately create some ease in your world.
Lets be honest, life is intense, intriguing, and upsetting to some degree or another right now, and I have found that self-soothe is an endless treasure chest of possibilities. Wanna know something? No matter what you choose as your self-soothe strategies you cannot be wrong! How does it get any better than that? If listening to heavy metal is soothing for you, great! If running 15 miles is soothing for you great! if taking 2 baths in a day is soothing for you great! There is no limit to what can create ease in our lives, the important part is THAT there is ease.
Self-Soothing reminds me that I don't have to be upset, I don't have to let my blood boil into a rage, I get to choose whether I stay in the upset or move toward re-focusing my energy into something that will generate ease for me. During this time I think it is important to consider that we have the ability to choose whether we are upset, and that we have other choices available at any given time.
Here are some Self-Soothe techniques I use and recommend:
Asking the question: "Who does this belong to," If you identify as "empathic" I would recommend using this question daily. As someone who picks up on what others are feeling, it is important for me to begin identifying what is actually mine. If I find that whatever I am feeling doesn't belong to me I simply ask that it "return to sender". The best news? Most of the time when I ask this question whatever I am feeling doesn't belong to me!
Epsom Salt Baths: Epsom Salts have a restorative property to them. Bodies take a lot energetically, physically, emotionally, and one way to "wash it off" is using Epsom salts in a bath. Leave electronics out if it. Taking a bath is a time where you have the chance to receive from your body. How many times a day do you notice your body, or do you avoid your body like the plague? This self-soothe option is great for re-establishing connection with yourself.
Asking the question "What is right about this that I am not getting?": In a world full of wrongness what if we could flip that on its head and look at what is right? Have you ever taken the "wrong" street and ended up in the "right" place to witness something amazing, or miss a traffic jam, or something like that? So often we conclude that if things are not going the way we would like them to it means that they are never going to work out at all. The question "What is right about this...", helps us to consider that maybe things just didn't work out the way you thought they would. If you look back in your life are there times where you thought it didn't work out? Maybe now you can see how it worked out in a way you did not expect?
Classical Music: Okay, hear me out! I have been listening to classical music for most of my life, and have wondered why it is so soothing to me, and so far my experience has been that classical music doesn't have an emotional charge to it. Yes, there is emotion and beauty present, but there is nothing that "sticks to me" when I listen to it. For more information on the effects of Classical Music go Here. Classical music has been cited as contributing to reduced heart rates, lower anxiety, increased state of ease.
Softness: I know that this seems kind of straight forward, but I want to talk about the benefits of softness from a different place. During times when I feel upset I have found that gifting softness to my body is a primary strategy. Skin is a gigantic sensory organ, and if I am feeling (sensory) then what better way to soothe it than with a counter stimulant. Softness is a gift to the body, it can instantly soothe, much like the soft things we give babies when they are upset. What if we never lost the need to be comfortable by the softness of something? Bodies are a great source of receiving, and when we are kind to them it can change everything.
These are some examples and maybe some of them you haven't ever considered before. Ultimately these are tools to remind you that you can choose to be upset and you can choose something else. If you didn't choose upset what else is possible? AND If you choose upset what else is possible?
Please feel free to let me know if you try any of my suggestions and whether they work for you or not. I would be happy to hear about your experience and wish you all Ease, Joy, and Glory.