Been a while since middle of the night ramblings. Was up with breathing attack and son doing the machine for me. Finally have leveled off. It is one of those times when it takes all my resources to move forward. Only a day and a half and I see the team of doctors in Pueblo and I am thrilled.
SELF-SOOTHING has to do with comforting, nurturing and being kind to yourself.
I recently had a friend ask me how I do it…how to I keep going and stay upbeat and seem happy. My reply to her included several things. The first thing I told her was that I had learned that I was responsible for making myself happy and entertaining myself. Sometimes we get caught in this web of thinking that others must solve our problems or soothe our nerves or entertain us and when we depend on others…we will get let down because people are human, they have their own lives and can not always be there for us. So, I learned to self soothe. I also learned how to entertain myself with reading, movies, drawing, photography, the internet and other things.
It’s really a combination of relaxation (some meditation), affirmations, positive self-talk and telling yourself that what you’re PERCEIVING is not necessarily how it is and, even if it is, you can survive it.
Susan J. Elliott
Have you ever had something upset you and you felt this strong emotional feeling that you just had to talk to someone and tell them and if they did not answer the phone or could not be found, you found yourself becoming anxious? That is what I mean by learning to self soothe. It is nice to be able to carry our problems to others but if we never learn to soothe ourselves, we will find ourselves being let down because someone will not always be there to do it and the emotional event will be more traumatic as we frantically search for someone to listen because we do not know how to soothe ourselves.
The only one guaranteed to not leave you is YOU. So learn to be there for you when no one else is or can be.
This is something babies have to learn how to do unless you are a parent that picks up your child every time they make a peep. If they are tired or bored, they soon learn to entertain themselves or to self soothe themselves. My youngest son would rub his own arm until he went to sleep when he got tired if no one was right there to hold him. Some babies suck their thumbs as self soothing. This does not mean you never hold your child. It simply means that sometimes they have to soothe themselves to sleep or entertain themselves with play so that they become big kids that know how to do that and go on to become adults that know how.
I learned to self soothe and devised ways to help myself because someone was not always there to do it for me. I learned that if I was upset and nothing I could do about the situation, to find things that helped take me away from what was upsetting me. Self soothing can include finding things that distracted me like a show or listening to music or a book. I also learned to calm myself and tell myself it would be ok and to look at solutions.Talking kindly to yourself is very important in self soothing.
Some people look to things outside of themselves that are not necessarily good to self soothe like eating, drinking, smoking (more), taking pills, etc. Self soothing should not be something that we take internally but rather something that distracts us without harming our bodies.
The goal with self-soothing skills is to comfort yourself emotionally by doing things that are sensually pleasant and, most especially, not harmful. At the same time, focusing your full attention on sensory inputs — on what you are physically experiencing in the moment (mindfulness) usually will get people outside of their own heads (and away from troubling thoughts, feelings, and impulses).
If we never learn how to self soothe, every time something happens that is unsettling to us, it will be as if someone pulled the floor out from under us and the event can be made even larger than it is because we have no resources to soothe our own fractured nerves or handle the pain or sorrow and so the emotions are like a roller coaster taking on a life of their own. I have had friends who, because they could find no one home, would be a basket case by the time someone did get home and all because they did not know how to soothe themselves. They were dependent on someone else to do it for them.
Tonight, having the breathing attack was very unsettling to me. I am sure some of you probably can envision what feeling like you are suffocating can be like. To self soothe myself, I turned on “Julia and Julie” because that is my favorite feel good movie. I love watching movies about Julia Child so much. So, while I was doing my nebulizer machine, I laid here watching the show and the show helped to relax me so that I could breathe a little deeper and hopefully the oxygen would go a little deeper.
I think self soothing is so important and if we never learn to self soothe and something drastic happens and all those emotions are swirling around inside us and we do not know what to do with them, they can come out in inappropriate ways such as in anger, ugly talk, verbally attacking someone else and other things that could be destructive to oneself. Sometimes self soothing is as simple as getting up and walking away from whatever is upsetting you and getting away from it for a while.
It is hard but it is possible to learn to control those emotions that roar over us and have us so upset and we are trying to deal with them. We can learn how to soothe ourselves and stay calm and go through whatever the situation is without having to have someone else do it for us. But, when you are learning to self soothe, it takes practice and time to learn it.
Learning to talk to ourselves kindly and thinking of our daily experience with compassion makes us soothing to the world. Self kindness and compassion ripples out in the world, making acts of self soothing one of the most important practices we can cultivate for ourselves and everyone we love.
image from sfpnn.com
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