“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love”
It is important to collect tools that you can utilize for self-soothing during the tough times. Growing up many people were given ONE tool to use in difficult situations. Oftentimes that sole tactic taught was based on a religion.
Religious suggestions include prayer, going to church, reading religion texts or simply relying on God.
All good tactics for some people!
However if you feel like the tools you were taught do not fit the job now, then thankfully there are a lot of other choices out there!
That’s the great thing about adulthood, you can CHOOSE what works for you and literally throw away what doesn’t. There is room to explore and get curious about who YOU are and what works for you.
So it’s now time to get that pen and paper! Writing things down help to solidify your new tools.
Write down anything that comes to mind that has been relaxing and comforting to you in the past. These things didn’t have to “fix” the problem or bring complete freedom, but if it helped even a smidgen….then write it down!
Here are some examples of the tools that I have collected through the years:
Taking a bath
Hiking in nature
Listening to music
Lighting a candle
Reading a book
Talking to a friend
Watching a funny movie
Positive self affirmation recitation
Some may say that the activities listed above are just “distractions.” And honestly there is nothing wrong with that!
How many times have you been in the throes of an emotion or upsetting situation and that very same day you realized you overreacted or it just naturally resolved itself?
We don’t necessarily need to REACT and analyze everything that happens. Chronic worrying about things that have not happened or have not resolved themselves yet will never change the outcome.
So sometimes we need to short circuit this habit and DISTRACT ourselves from continuing self-destructive behaviors!
Some might also say that the items above might be nice ideas for self soothing, but not much more. But hear me out. Developing these tools during the GOOD times replenishes resources that are lost each day.
All of us tend to go many months without ever doing anything nice for ourselves. And that may seem insignificant.
But it’s not.
You become exhausted. Your adrenals work overtime. Cortisol shoots up. We become overly stressed even when nothing terrible is going on. Just regular life. So when then news comes of an illness in the family or a layoff, you’re in real trouble.
Practicing self-soothing regularly has a compound effect. You’re building strength and energy reserves.
So when that really hard situation DOES come in life, you have made self-soothing a habit that can be readily accessed for support.
But I know from experience that when that bad thing comes, you damn well don’t want to do yoga. Or anything else on the list. Believe me….I stayed in bed for parts of my life too. I believed that the items above were grossly unqualified to help with what I was going through.
I also believed the lie that nothing could draw me out of depression.
Very much not true.
I remember the first time I decided to get out of that damn bed and do some yoga after my mom died. I told myself “I’m not doing any strenuous Vinyasa crap! I’ll circle my hips around a little and then go back to bed.”
Forty five minutes went by and I did the whole class. It sucked me in. And I DID feel better. Not cured. But better. There had been a shift inside.
And believe me if you’re really depressed, “a little better” is a lifeline.
I found that the more, and the sooner I got out of bed, the shorter the depression lasted. Initially it would be really bad for a month. Then two weeks. And now I’m able to get myself out of depression THAT VERY DAY.
Exercise 2: That “thing” that draws you
Another technique that is not only self soothing, but also builds confidence is engaging in that “thing” that draws you. In fact that “thing” is probably the first item on your list above!
When you’re doing that “thing,” you could not feel any better about yourself. You are totally enraptured in the moment.
Your heart swells.
You feel complete and fulfilled.
What is that one “thing” that you suspect, if you did it more, would make you SO much more happy?
You’d be proud to announce that it is “YOUR THING!”
Now let’s all get out there and do more of everything you identified above. MAKE time. Develop a familiarity with them. All that you wrote down is there for a reason. These are what will help YOU in the good times and bad.
These are the specific tools that will nourish you. They recharge, bring inspiration, and give hope. And remember, if it made you feel great for weeks after you did it the last time, just think how you’ll feel if you do it more often!