In the journey of life, we are often faced with serious problems that can upset or distress us, and which usually result in a great amount of emotional pain. Fortunately, in those unpleasant times we can consciously choose to calm ourselves and thereby transform our agitation and suffering into peace and contentment.
“How?” I can hear you asking.
It’s simple: By practicing self-soothing.
If you haven’t heard of self-soothing before, it’s basically a term used to describe the ability to soothe our psyche when we feel that our inner world is disturbed, so that we can regain mental clarity and emotional wellness.
Self-soothing is one of the most important self-care skills that we usually unconsciously acquire in our early childhood, mainly as a result of how our parents or caretakers lovingly soothed us with their kind words, heartwarming smiles, comforting soups, intimate eye contact, hugs and strokes.
However, in our modern society where parental neglect is quite a common phenomenon, unfortunately a lot of people never had the luck to received this affectionate, soothing behavior as children, and so they never really learned how to cope with emotional turmoil. Not surprisingly, many unsuccessfully try to do so by taking drugs, eating big amounts of sugar, distracting themselves with TV and social media, or just repressing their emotions in a desperate effort to stop feeling their wounded heart.
The good news is that self-soothing is a self-care practice that anyone can easily learn, no matter what one’s past has been like, and it’s vital for finding balance and tranquility, as well as for becoming more loving and compassionate.
7 Simple Self-Soothing Practices
Here are are some simple self-care practices than you can easily do whenever you find yourself upset or in distress, in order to help calm your mind and regain a state of inner harmony:
1. Pay attention to your breath as it’s slowly coming in and out through your nose, until you feel that your body is relaxed and your consciousness is undisturbed by mental chatter.
2. Slowly sip a warm cup of tea, being mindful of the sensations it arises within your body. This simple practice will help bring you into the reality of here and now, which in turn will help stop your mind from worrying about what has happened or is going to happen next.
3. Ground yourself by standing barefooted on the Earth, whether that is on dirt, sand or grass, and allow our common mother to harmonize your mind and revitalize your spirit.
4. Mindfully move your body, whether by doing yoga, stretching, dancing, swimming, running or taking a walk in nature. This will do wonders to help you tune into your senses, focus on the present moment and keep your energy flowing.
5. Lie down on grass or on your bed and let yourself relax from physical and mental tension, until you feel renewed strength to act again.
6. Take a paper and a pen and express your emotional world until you feel psychologically unburdened and ready to move forward in life.
7. Talk kindly to yourself, letting your higher self guide you through those difficult moments and help you move beyond any obstacles you find on your way.
These are just a few ways to find calmness when you are emotionally upset or distressed. Give them a try and see which ones you like the most, as well as experiment with different self-soothing practices (other than those offered here) so as to discover the ones that work the best for you. And always remember that, regardless of how harsh the times you’ve been through might be, it’s in your hands to overcome any negative emotional influence they may still be having on you, and to use the lessons you’ve learned in the past to live a better now.
Image credit: Regina Lord
By Sofo Archon