Self-soothing – 5 techniques to help

self-soothing techniques anxiety depression

Self-soothing. This is one thing that made a HUGE difference to me when my anxiety and depression were crippling. Learning methods that I could use when I was upset, anxious, or going through a tricky patch was a real life-changer.

The way we cope when the shit hits the fan makes the world of difference. If we don’t have any coping methods that’s when things can so easily spiral out of control. If you’re an empath, and taking on everyone elses feelings also, then self-soothing is an essential skill.

What is self-soothing?

Self-soothing is the ability to calm ourselves down after we have had a traumatic or stressful experience. It’s a response that many of us learn as children – but not everyone. Self-soothing is something we learn if we see it modelled, most often by our primary caregivers.

If you find yourself overthinking everything, worrying all the time, feeling overwhlemed by the world, having panic attacks or struggling to slow down, feel fearful of new situations or feel unloved, then self-soothing may help you take back control.

It’s important to remember that there can be unhealthy forms of self-soothing – such as using food, drink, drugs, shopping, gambling, other poeple to regulate your emotions.

Healthy ways of self-soothing

Use focused breathing

If you feel the anxiety or spirlling thoughts beginning, a great first response is to take control of your breathing. Take long, slow, deep breaths in for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, then breathe out for a count of four, hold for a count of four. Then repeat until you feel calmed.

WIthin a few rounds, your body will start to feel more relaxed. This is a quick and easy form of mindfulness that you can do anytime, anywhere.

Use gentle hands

Close your eyes, feel where the stress or trigger is in your body, then place your hand over that area. Imagine that area being flooded with love, feeling it radiating out of your hand into your body and soothing you.

Use your senses.

When I can feel my anxiety building and a panic attack coming, tune your senses into the world around you. Name 5 things you can see, 5 things you can smell, things you can hear, 5 things you can touch. Let yourself be grounded in the moment.

Talk to yourself

Practise postive self-talk. Tell yourself this moment is fleeting, that you are fine, and worthy, and this will pass. IF negative talk continues in your mind, then counter each negative phrase with a positive one. For example, if you hear ‘I’m such an idiot feeling like this’, tell yourself ‘I am allowed to feel this way, but my feelings do not define me’

Massage yourself

Self–massage is a wonderful tool to have. Have a good aromotehrapy oil on hand, and use it to massage your hands, feet, arms, legs… As you do focus on how it feels, smell the scent of the essential oils, visulise yourself massaging love into yourself as you go.

Get moving

Sometimes, the best thing to help is to move your body. Anxiety and stress create a huge amount of energy in the body, moving your body helps to get rid of this energy. Run around, jump on the spot, hop on your bike, do a HIIT oworkout – whatever feels good to you.

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