The Art of Soothing One's Self
Ever had an experience where you’ve felt overwhelmingly sad, anxious, frightened, angry, nervous? If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve had plenty. Like me, you probably ran into the arms of your closest friend, partner, or a family member. No doubt, they were able to soothe and comfort you to a point where that emotion you were feeling, wasn’t so loud anymore. This idea of seeking comfort from others is probably so routine for you now that you may not even consider exactly what’s happening beyond receiving a simple hug.
On the contrary, plenty of things are happening:
1. Something has triggered an emotional response for you
2. The emotion feels so intense, you have a strong desire to be comforted
3. Your brain remembers the feeling of a warm cuddle, someone wiping the tears from your eyes, or stroking your back
4. In a snap decision, your desire and memory collide and your seeking out a hug
So what is it about this hug that seems to soothe us? Firstly, it’s familiar, secondly it engages the senses, and lastly it involves some form of repetitive movement. These are the 3 factors which are required if we want to soothe.
But hugs aren’t always available! In these instances, it can be extremely useful to know how to soothe ourselves. The clues for doing this effectively are in the 3 essential soothing factors. Familiarity, Sensorial, Repetitive. Wouldn’t it be great if we could bottle these up and take them with us wherever we went? Well, simply put, we can. In the form of a Self-Soothing Kit.
A self-soothing kit is not unlike a first aid kit, however it’s designed to be beneficial for emotional distress. It’s something you can make yourself with items that you’re likely to have at home. Essentially, it’s a box or small bag containing a number of items which fulfill the criteria of familiarity, sensorial, and repetitive.
Once you have a self-soothing kit, you’ll wonder what you ever did without one! Well, apart from a lot of hugging. As someone who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and who has survived several suicide attempts, I am all too familiar with feeling overwhelmed by emotion. I learned about self-soothing kits some years back, and I still carry a simple version of one with me today. We want to help you create your own Self-Soothing Kit so you can experience the advantages of being able to soothe one’s self that’s why we’ve created a downloadable PDF to get you started. Click here to download a guide to creating your own Self-Soothing Kit.