What is Self-Soothing?
Self-Soothing is instilled in self-compassion and is important for stimulating your Soothing System and moving you away from your Threat System. Doing things that you love and things that calm and help you every day isn’t selfish, it’s self-care and something you deserve and are worthy of. It’s important to remember that you are entitled to this even when you feel like you haven’t done anything that warrants being kind to yourself, it is in those times of feeling low and unworthy that you need to be kind to yourself the most. Carve out a little time just for you every day…I know life is busy and if you have children, grandchildren, partners, pets, work, and everything in between you can feel like this is an impossible task, but it is so important to remember YOU in all of this. Self-soothing is not a cookie cutter shape, it will never be the exact same for two people. It could be having a bath with bubbles, candles and calming music, it could be playing a video game for half an hour, it could be crafts, it could be meditation, it could be going on a drive or walk, spending time around animals or pets, breathing in the sea air, things like colouring in books are very popular at the moment, or it could be getting snug in bed with soft blankets and plump pillows (or making a blanket fort, you’re never too old for a blanket fort!)
“Western culture places great emphasis on being kind to others, but not so much on being kind to ourselves. Furthermore, when pain activates our threat system this can lead to self-criticism. When we make a mistake or fail in some way, we often use harsh internal language – ‘I’m so stupid and lazy, I’m ashamed of myself!’ We would be unlikely to say such things to a close friend, or even a stranger for that matter. When asked directly, most people report that they are kinder to other than themselves and it is not unusual to encounter extremely kind and compassionate people who continually beat themselves up. With self-kindness, however, we are supportive and understanding toward ourselves. Our inner dialogues are gentle and encouraging rather than harsh and belittling. This means that instead of continually punishing ourselves for not being good enough, we kindly acknowledge that we’re doing the best we can. Similarly, when external life circumstances are challenging and difficult to bear, we soothe and nurture ourselves. We are moved by our own distress to bear, we soothe and nurture ourselves. We are moved by our own distress so that warm feelings and the desire to soothe our suffering emerges” – Newcastle Pain Management
Please try to think of some ways that you can introduce self-soothing into your life! You’re completely worthy of it.
The Blurt Foundation is a fantastic website with a boat load of resources on self-care and raises awareness of depression and mental health issues. Here’s a link to their ‘self-care on a budget’ post with some simple back to basics reminders of how to practice self-care. www.blurtitout.org/2016/03/30/self-care-budget-10-things-try
Their foundation is set up to raise awareness of depression. Having chronic illness’ can often lead to depression or depression can be interlinked in some way. It’s extremely important to remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Sometimes when you’re struggling with depression it’s hard to know where to turn or how to make the first step to getting help. In the Newcastle area you can use a self-referral service called Talking Helps Newcastle that offers a range of talking therapies, advice, help and support. You can refer yourself by ringing up on 0300 555 1115 or emailing them at email@example.com for further information visit their website at www.talkinghelpsnewcastle.org.
You are never alone in this and you can always talk to the committee or group members at the meetings or on our Facebook page if you are struggling. Remember, we have all probably been through similar experiences and it is completely normal to have these feelings.
“The sense of common humanity central to self-compassion involves recognising that everyone fails, makes mistakes, and gets it wrong sometimes. We do not always get what we want and are often disappointed – either with ourselves or in our life circumstances. This is part of the human experience, a basic fact of life shared with everyone else on the planet. We are not alone in our imperfection. Rather, our imperfections are what make us members of the human race. Often, however, we feel isolated and cut off from others when considering our struggles and failures, irrationally feeling that it’s only “ME” who is having such a hard time of it. We think that somehow we are abnormal, that something has gone wrong, and we forget that falling flat on our face now and then actually is normal. This sort of tunnel vision makes us feel alone and isolated, making our suffering even worse. With self-compassion, however, we take the stance of a compassionate “other” towards ourselves, allowing us to take a broader perspective on ourselves and our lives. Self-compassion recognises that we all suffer, and therefore fosters a connected mind-set that is inclusive of others.”
-Newcastle Pain Management
I hope this has been helpful and that it encourages you to allow yourself to be compassionate, kind and soothing towards yourself. I’m off to self-soothe right now with a walk and some mindfulness!
p.s from one chocoholic to another…chocolate is totally a way to self-soothe, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!