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Soothing the Self

Posted Sep 10 2010 12:14pm
Where do you go when life troubles you? What do you do when life is too much? What do you focus on when you are hurt, angered, saddened or feeling lost?
What we do under those circumstances, is what we call self-soothing. So a typical way to self-soothe is to drink, smoke, shop until you drop, find someone to have sex with, party, work even harder, stare at the tube, gossip and criticize, etc. etc. You get the idea. We distract ourselves from the problem or negative emotion by doing something in the hopes that we will feel soothed, although the typical result is something much more counterproductive.
Why do we do this? Because we just never learned to self soothe. No one taught us. No one that we grew up with knew how to do it either, becasue if they had, they would most definitely have taught us how to do it, because they would know how very, very important it is for our healthy development and later life.
So how can we self soothe? There are many ways, but some easy ones you can begin with are these:
  • focus on feeling gratitude for something immediate in your life, as opposed to focusing on the anxiety, stress, pain or other negative emotion. This can be as simple as focusing on feeling gratitude for the blue sky outside your window, or the beautiful plant in your home that you have been nurturing for some time, or your dog, or the sound of the rain on your patio.
  • read something that inspires you (if it inspires you, it is also soothing you ... it's comforting you)
  • listen to something that inspires you

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Photo Credit: Filomena Scalise

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