How To Self-Sooth When We Can't Have A Hug
Posted on 1st August 2022
Are you often hard on yourself? Do you tell yourself you are not doing or haven’t done enough? That you aren’t good enough? Do you berate yourself when things don’t go to plan and sometimes even when they do?
Most people would not treat a friend, loved one or even a stranger with the overly harsh words we use on ourselves. When our minds run seemingly out of control with negative thoughts it is helpful to have good techniques in place to allow us to be more compassionate and understanding with ourselves, like you would with a child.
By grounding ourselves when feeling overwhelmed with negative feelings we kick in what is called the parasympathetic system which can in turn reduce the stress hormones being produced.
To ground ourselves we need an anchor. The anchor can be one of our senses. Below are some examples of things we can use to ground or 'soothe' ourselves.
Smells: candles, incense, flowers, baking, cut grass, the smell of a person
Vision: beautiful scenery pictures or beautiful scenery in real life, colour therapy, drawing or painting, organising a room, putting nice ornaments or pictures in a room, pictures of people you love, pretty flowerbeds.
Hearing: music, audio books or podcasts, soothing voices, perhaps on a talk show or guided meditation, sounds of the wind, rain or birds or the sea, listening to a tape of sounds. I used to have a tape of forest sounds which was really relaxing or listening to a recording of stream or even waterfall. Water fountains.
Taste: food or drinks you enjoy, obviously if you enjoy the taste of alcohol but have a problem with it then find an alternative, chocolates, sweets, hot chocolate, tea, again if you have a problem with food be mindful that food can become a hindrance especially if you comfort eat so perhaps use other self-soothing, chewing gum can help with self-soothing or ice pops can be good.
Touch: cushion, pet, squidgy, something held in your pocket a piece of velvet of material you enjoy the feel of. Warm bath or shower or even a cold bath or shower. Swimming in the cold sea, massage, by someone else or to yourself. Comfortable clothing. Comfy shoes or slippers. Sitting close to a fire or wood burner and experiencing the heat, a hot water bottle.
These self soothing techniques or coping mechanisms are often automatic for children.
Did you ever as a child just sit and watch the clouds pass by or watch droplets of water on the window when it was raining? These are all grounding techniques.
Did you have a favourite teddy or blanket or toy? These are all things that would have grounded you.
As adults we still need to ground ourselves so find that cushion, those nice smells, those clouds, those flowers, those sounds that help you feel calm, or even that teddy bear.
They are brilliant for you!!!
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