The term self-soothe does not only apply to infants. It is a skill that children develop, and one that is super useful for adults.
The modern world is (over)hyped with sensory inputs. 24/7 interconnectedness and an instant gratification mentality. It is too easy to divert your attention elsewhere, satisfying and placating with external distractions and pleasures.
Got your therapist on speed dial?
Do you call or text your inner circle when drama strikes?
Research does show that a tight network of support is a crucial ingredient in boosting your happiness quotient but no matter how epic your crew is, it is still your life.
Your emotional roller coaster. Your pain. Your hurt. Your drama. Peel it all back, there is only you. You are 100% responsible for yourself. It is up to you to find inner peace.
Self-knowledge. Self-acceptance. Self-mastery. Self-love.
Know Thyself. Ancient wisdom.
Short of swaddling ourselves, what else can we do to self soothe as adults? Let’s take some hints from what we do for babies, plus more. The key is to nurture ourselves and always know that, regardless of the outer storm, we are always well + good.
Swaddling supposedly mimics the womb – snug + secure. Adults can replicate this by wrapping themselves in a blanket, or lying in a fetal position under one (tented for easy breathing). Think cocoon.
Reducing sensory inputs when you are feeling overwhelmed can be helpful. Minimizing your exposure can amp up the security factor. For some this translates to being in an enclosed space. A cushion fort comes to mind.
And we have all snuggled up with a blanket on movie night. Isn’t it yummy comfy?
② Good Eats
When babies fuss, it may be due to hunger. Breastfeeding of course gives the bonus of skin-on-skin touch, which we all need for survival and thriving. What is the equivalent for adults?
What is your comfort food? The food you crave when you are down in the dumps? The food that turns that frown upside down and just makes everything okay again? Maybe it’s mom’s cooking or a tub of Ben & Jerry’s or (eek) fries from McDonald’s.
Leverage the power of comfort food by choosing what is healing and right for your constitutions. Check out this article by Intuitive Astrologer Virginia Ball on the healing foods according to Medical Astrology.
And really feel it in your mouth and taste it!
③ Soak it Out
Splish Splash is good for adults as it is for kids. Maybe your toys aren’t little duckies.
Be sure to make it as luxurious and calming as possible by adding essential oils and Himalayan/Epsom salt. Maybe flower petals. There is nothing like relaxing in a bath (if you like baths) to dial back the fight-and-flight response and let your mind + body know it is all good.
Bathing with room to cool temperature with flowers is also a great way to get you energetically squeaky clean. Sometimes rinsing off energetic residue is enough to make a difference.
Don’t have a bathtub? Even a foot bath or ladling water over the body can be perfect. Finish your bathing ritual with a nice body oil or lotion. Use long soft strokes to calm.
④ Get A Move On
This partly goes back to being in the womb – the rhythmic movement of the embryonic waters. Think floating and swaying.
But generally moving the body helps energy flow. The body is meant to move.
Get outside. Go for a walk. Do some gardening. Take a bike ride. Swing away at a kids’ playground.
The change in the environment – sights, sounds, smells, etc – can trigger a sunnier you.
Being outside has the added bonus of connecting with negative ions. We are bombarded by positive ions, from all the electricity! Go barefoot if you can!
⑤ White Noise + Music
Experts suggest white noise for babies. Try that or just some soothing music. Classical music is shown to be the most beneficial in this area but any music that you LOVE is great. Maybe even your own favourite lullaby?
Hum. Sing. This will definitely take your mind off whatever is bothering you, giving you breathing space to reexamine the issue at hand.
Sometimes having complete silence may be the way to go. If your soundscape is too overwhelming, sensory overload can frazzle your nerves.
⑥ Fingers + Toes
Babies suck their fingers + toes. They are doing Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-help!
Each finger is related to an attitude – a habitual response – and two organ functions.
Instead of sucking your fingers (and toes?), simply hold them. Harmonize the attitudes – worry, fear, anger, sadness, and trying-to – and organ functions by holding all or whatever finger you are drawn to.
Thumb Worry Spleen + Stomach
Index finger Fear Kidney + Bladder
Middle finger Anger Liver + Gall Blader
Ring finger Sadness/Grief Lung + Large Intestine
Little finger Trying to/Pretense Heart + Small Intestine
⑦ Dim Down
Bright lights are stimulating. Again, sensory overload. Take a notch down by dimming the lights.
⑧ Get Comfortable
You may not know the underlying cause of discomfort but pain is a signal and that is important to recognize. Listen to what the body needs and what it is saying. Ignoring the call of nature, for example, over a prolonged period can leave you anxious, constipated, and just plain uncomfortable. Here are some tips on Getting Unconstipated.
Maybe you are gassy and need to burp? Try holding Jin Shin Jyutsu Safety Energy Lock 14 (bottom rib).
Physical discomfort can stem simply from excessive heat or cold. The thermostat may not be in your control but you can adjust your response with good hydration, layering, having a hot beverage, and simply breathing.
⑨ Release Mislabeled Emotion
Have you mislabeled excitement as anxiety or terror?
“Fear is excitement without the breath” – Gail Larsen
How you felt may have been mislabeled by the adults during childhood. Instead of automatically using labels (good/bad, terrified, raging, confused, etc), sit with it and see how you feel. Just observe. No name calling. No blaming.
Rate its intensity on a scale of 1 – 10. All feelings are honored. All feelings are valid.
You can try Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) to bring down its intensity and even release the underlying cause.
⑩ Rest Up
Like kids who get grumpy and even physically out of line, being overtired can take you into overdrive. Some people get short-tempered when they are hungry. Some people get irritable when they are exhausted, tired but wired, and maybe even burned out. Or both.
Find out if you are tapping out your essence in this article about Jing.
If you can, take a nap. Even a cat nap of 10 minutes can be surprisingly refreshing. You cannot really catch up on sleep but boy, does it ever feel good to sleep in. Make a habit of getting to bed before you are wiped out and getting up with the sun.
This is a HUGE issue. A lack of self-confidence, self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and self-love has led many astray. A strong sense of self (beyond ego) roots you to an unshakeable core. External upheavals do nothing to upset the inner sea of calm. Rather than be a leaf being blown by the east wind then the northeasterly, you will go with the flow but not be taken for a ride.
Be gentle + kind to yourself. Know your boundaries and be okay with saying “no”. Value your worth and know that you’ve got this.
⑫ Ask Open Questions
Open questions allow for more than a yes/no answer. Even better than expecting an answer, ask questions and allow the answers come to you. And they do, in beautiful synchronicity.
Invite yourself to ask questions, and not to have the answers. Take away that pressure of rightness and wrongness.
⑬ Own Your Own Stuff
What are you denying? What are you carrying for other people? We cannot soothe something that doesn’t belong to us. And if it does belong to you, deal with it. Don’t just chuck it at other people. That’s just uncool.
An Access Consciousness® tip is simply asking, “who does this belong to?” Take the 3-Day Challenge. For every thought and feeling over three days, ask “who does this belong to?” Not yours? Send it back to the sender. No questions asked. No questions needed.
By now you have probably heard that meditation changes brain chemistry. Medication does as well, but suppressing your symptoms, including your emotions, is not a good long-term wellness strategy.
You do not have to be in lotus or meditate like a pro to reap its benefits.
One of the easiest ways to meditate is simply sitting comfortably and observing your breath. Exhale. Release. Inhale. Energize. Exhale. Feeling calm. Inhale. Feeling light-filled. Follow and focus on the breath.
The more you maintain a regular practice, even if it is 15 minutes, the easier it will be for you to meditate to self-soothe during crisis.
⑮ Self Hypnosis
Self-hypnosis can be a great way to bring yourself into a relaxed state. Try this simple technique from Antoinette Biehlmeier. Practice it when you are feeling pretty good, before using it when you are emotionally challenged or stressed about deadlines and other crisis points.
Self-soothing is not about emotional self-regulation so that you can fit into society. Sure, that can come in handy. It is about self-knowledge and self-acceptance so that you can enjoy wellness no matter what is going on in society. Find your own way. Always remember the breath. Focus on what you desire, not on what’s crumbling around you.