What is Self-Soothing?

One of the aspects I work with clients is supporting them to develop the skills to look after themselves. It is a crucial skill for wellbeing and to living whole-heartedly. Why? Because life is challenging (although some people don’t acknowledge that). There are ups and downs. So, having the ability to take care of yourself and nurture your needs is invaluable. However, like most things, it takes practise!


What is Self-Soothing?

Self-soothing is an important skill. Some fo the definitions of self-soothing include –

  • “(of a baby) to stop crying and become calm without the help from an adult” and “to make yourself calm or happy” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • “the action of a young child ceasing to cry without being comforted by a parent or carer, in particular when left to fall asleep on their own” ~ Google
  • “A deliberate effort to calm oneself. It is an alternative to the use of medications, alcohol, or drugs for managing anxiety and stress, eating disorders, or insomnia.” ~ The Free Dictionary 
  • “Comfort oneself when unhappy or distressed” ~ Oxford Living Dictionaries


The Skill of Self-Soothing

Self-soothing is a skill. Often it is referred to in the childhood literature, however I see it as a skill for life and use it interchangeably with coping strategies. Learning to cope with the stresses of life by looking after your needs is essential. However, it is important to learn effective coping / self-soothing strategies as not all strategies are effective. Some strategies can lead to further challenges in the long-term.

Some people are conscious of how they manage their emotional responses and some people are not. For example are you aware of –

  • What you do when you feel stressed?
  • What you do when you feel sad?
  • What you do when you have made a mistake?
  • What you do when you feel lonely?
  • What you do when you feel angry?
  • What you do when you feel insecure?
  • What you do when you feel rejected?
  • What you do when you feel happy?
  • What you do when you feel bored?

Self-soothing supports individuals to deal effectively with the above emotions and experiences. It is about learning to cope with stressful events by being honest and developing care, respect, love and trust with yourself. Not pretending that something doesn’t exist or isn’t painful and being self-indulgent.


Over to You…

Do you think self-soothing is important? If so, how do you use it in your life?

Remember, when you recognise that you feel sad, upset or agitated, consider the costs, as well as the benefits, of how you choose to calm yourself down and restore your wellbeing and equanimity.


If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?


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