Thursday, September 30, 2010

How Do You Self-Soothe?

When you have had a difficult and challenging day, what is your plan to comfort yourself? It's occured to me lately that eveyone needs a strategy of their own to cope with their daily angst. There are good ways and bad ways to self-soothe. I see children who need tools to bring down their stress level with their parents' divorce,and teens who need strategies to deal with challenges with friends, academics, getting launched, relationships with family and the opposite sex. Adults are also in need of self-soothing strategies that are healthy. Everybody needs to be in charge of learning how to get calm and centered.

If you can't self-soothe in a healthy way, you may live life in a keyed-up style that is terrible for your physical health, and puts you more at risk for heart attacks, stroke, and other serious health problems. In addition, people that don't work out intentional ways to de-stress transfer negative energy and angst to all the people you are in relationships with---your partner, your children,your co-workers. In a sense, not managing your own angst well is like dragging trash home with you and into your relationships. It's just not fair to drag everyone else you love down with you.

What are some healthy self-soothing stategies? Try something active. Working out regularly might be just the ticket. Listening to music that relaxes or calms you can actually slow your heart rate, and put you into a natural, hypnotic state. A warm bath by candlelight might work to take you out of angst and shift you to center. Try an herbal hot tea by sunset, outside in your backyard. Reading a chapter in a great book that helps you escape your life for a while(in a healthy way) could work. Complete quiet can be very healing and soothing as well. Your self-soothing stategy can be as individual as you are. Build your own little rituals.

Don't have coping with food, alcohol, or drugs be your fall-back position because you don't take the time to create a better option. All of these substances shouldn't be used to medicate feelings or numb your stress. These paths just cause more complications. If you are a parent, remenber your children are watching how you cope, so it is really important to be a good role model as it relates to coping with stress in your daily life.

If you need help to identify a healthy self-soothing strategy for yourself, consider talking it over with a good therapist. You're worth it, and so are your health and your relationships. To be your best self, you need to learn how to bounce well. Life is full of its little and big frustrations, and your response to that fact determines your health and happiness. Strong coping stategies help you be more like the willow tree which bends gracefully, and less like the oak tree that snaps in the wind.

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