cloudmonger

Best ways to Self-Soothe?

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A bit of a poll....for those of you that experience severe anxiety/depression/stress/loneliness/emptiness/grief/unrelenting fear etc...

What are the most effective ways that you are able to emotionally soothe yourself during tough times? Usually, the only thing that brings relief for me is to be held and reassured that someone is here for me & things will get better...problem is, spouse is away working long hours all day....I don't have anyone around...no friends to console me.....no work to distract me......

Many of the "self-nurturing" things that are often suggested don't work for me (like listening to music, bubble baths, cooking a nice meal, watching a comedy, putting on scented lotion, going for a walk) I can't have pets in my building, so unfortunately, I cannot enjoy a cat's purr/cuddle or pet a dog.....I have no patience or concentration to start reading a book......not interested in video games or craft projects....I'd go back to bed but can't sleep any longer....!! Help.

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So I'm not going to directly answer your question because you've named a lot of mine as not being helpful for you, so that wouldn't make a lot of sense. 

What I was wondering--what is it about what really helps (being held and reassured that someone is there and things will get better) that helps, if you know?  The reason I'm asking is because I'm wondering if you can find a temporary substitute.  Not necessarily something that would take you from a 10 to a 0, but at least from a 10 to like a 5.  If it's the physically being held, have you tried wrapping yourself up in a really warm blanket?  Something that would have a similar tactile impact?  If it's having someone in general reassure you, are there friends you can reach out to instead?  If it's having your spouse specifically reassure you, could he or she leave a message on a voicemail that you could listen to when you need to?  Or create a tape recording (if such things still exist) that talks about a lot of positive things about what he/she loves about you?

Just a few thoughts. 

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Not my strong point

I try reassuring myself that things will be okay, say it to myself in head or softly. I have a soft blanket that is soothing. Sometimes distraction helps. I surf the Internet, go to chat rooms.

some people can visualize a comforting place, if that sort of thing helps you.

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Posted (edited)

.

Edited by Hopelessly Broken

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2 hours ago, dancesintherain said:

What I was wondering--what is it about what really helps (being held and reassured that someone is there and things will get better) that helps, if you know?  The reason I'm asking is because I'm wondering if you can find a temporary substitute.  Not necessarily something that would take you from a 10 to a 0, but at least from a 10 to like a 5.  If it's the physically being held, have you tried wrapping yourself up in a really warm blanket?  Something that would have a similar tactile impact?  If it's having someone in general reassure you, are there friends you can reach out to instead?  If it's having your spouse specifically reassure you, could he or she leave a message on a voicemail that you could listen to when you need to?  Or create a tape recording (if such things still exist) that talks about a lot of positive things about what he/she loves about you?

Just a few thoughts. 

In thinking about what you've said - I believe it is a combo of things I'm seeking. Sounds bizarre, but I think I might have some early-attachment-anxiety issues. I find myself missing my mom and the emotional comfort/reassurance/cheerleading she provides. I do speak with her (but she lives far and I can't talk to her for hours everyday on the phone.) I also feel nurtured & cared for when I have a hug from my spouse (this is partially a tactile thing, but perhaps it is the emotional support/intimacy?)

It's the acts that provide the feeling of being loved and cared for by another human, being understood, cared for and listened to, because I don't have enough self-love or self esteem. I know this comes from within, but I haven't been able to achieve this.

I am constantly let down by my friends. I even have a couple friends in training to be therapists. No one has the time to even send an email or meet up let alone "lift my spirits". I would never reveal the extent of my depression. It gets me horribly depressed thinking about lost relationships. I've been trying to lower my expectations with friendship, because I am always hurt by people that I care about - people that I thought cared about me end up disappearing and ignoring my attempts at simple connection or hello.

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Sometimes I wish I could just become an uncaring, unemotional person that could live contently without any connection or relationships. However, sensitivity was baked into my DNA when I was born. I cannot change who I am.

I don't believe it takes high-level skills to be kind, affectionate and understanding towards another person. To simply listen to what another person is saying without invalidating someone's feelings. Perhaps I'm a total anomoly as a highly sensitive person, but this is who I am and I guess I need to learn that many people in this world lack empathy and the ability to be attentive. What I seek is basic human connection, validation and affection.

A soft warm blanket may help a bit...but I wonder if there are other healthy ways to cope.

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Posted (edited)

Edited by Hopelessly Broken

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I also like a big hug from the right person. I hate touch so there aren't many people I would feel safe getting a hug from. My ex is one. But he's my ex and he lives thousands of miles away. 

I like putting on a blanket and tucking myself into my couch. I have a loveseat that I fit in comfortably so I tuck my face and body into it. I hope that makes sense. I get into the fetal position and face the backrest(?) of my couch and shove myself in it. It makes me feel safe and calm. 

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2 hours ago, iaawal said:

I also like a big hug from the right person. I hate touch so there aren't many people I would feel safe getting a hug from. My ex is one. But he's my ex and he lives thousands of miles away. 

I like putting on a blanket and tucking myself into my couch. I have a loveseat that I fit in comfortably so I tuck my face and body into it. I hope that makes sense. I get into the fetal position and face the backrest(?) of my couch and shove myself in it. It makes me feel safe and calm. 

This just made me think of Temple Grandin the woman that invented the "Hug box"...have you heard of her? I'm not autistic, however, the idea makes sense.

Mary Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, world-renowned autism spokesperson and consultant on animal behavior. She is widely celebrated as one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her personal experience of autism. She is also the inventor of the "hug box", a device to calm those on the autism spectrum. In the 2010 Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, she was named in the "Heroes" category.[2] She was the subject of the award-winning, semi-biographical film, Temple Grandin.

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They make weighted blankets that are supposed to help some people. I have never tried one.

I do know for me, some of what hopelessly broken said rings true. I think my expectations may be higher than what people give. When I am distressed, I call around and have trouble finding someone supportive that I don't feel is misunderstanding or dismissive. 

I am sorry I don't have ideas for you.

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1 hour ago, cloudmonger said:

This just made me think of Temple Grandin the woman that invented the "Hug box"...have you heard of her? I'm not autistic, however, the idea makes sense.

Mary Temple Grandin (born August 29, 1947) is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, world-renowned autism spokesperson and consultant on animal behavior. She is widely celebrated as one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her personal experience of autism. She is also the inventor of the "hug box", a device to calm those on the autism spectrum. In the 2010 Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, she was named in the "Heroes" category.[2] She was the subject of the award-winning, semi-biographical film, Temple Grandin.

Never heard of her. That's pretty cool. It makes sense for me though. I have some sensory issues so stuff like that calms me. 

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I'm not very good at these things, but I did come across something simple that can help. Any time you come to the realization that your mind is spiraling with negative thoughts, ask yourself the question, "Is this helpful?"

It's simple, but it can work - at least a little bit. 

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Anything that makes me feel clean (shower, deodorant, change clothes, even just chewing gum helps).

Hot drinks and warm clothes.

Doing something nice for someone else.

Hugging the cats.

Going for a walk, especially if it's a cold day.

Putting on makeup, perfume and jewellery.

Food and beer.

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Have you ever tried DBT? Self-soothing techniques are discussed pretty extensively in the DBT materials.

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3 hours ago, Mr_Turtle said:

Anything that makes me feel clean (shower, deodorant, change clothes, even just chewing gum helps).

Hot drinks and warm clothes.

Doing something nice for someone else.

Hugging the cats.

Going for a walk, especially if it's a cold day.

Putting on makeup, perfume and jewellery.

Food and beer.

Putting on makeup is a big thing for me. I like to take it one step further by playing with my makeup. It's silly and it makes me laugh and makes me feel better. Like drag makeup or super bright makeup. Over drawing my lips excessively so it looks hilarious. 

Last time I covered my entire face in metallic eyeshadow. I used rose gold as blush and my darker ones as contour. It was awesome. Then the next day someone did the metallic/glitter challenge on youtube. weird. 

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52 minutes ago, iaawal said:

Putting on makeup is a big thing for me. I like to take it one step further by playing with my makeup. It's silly and it makes me laugh and makes me feel better. Like drag makeup or super bright makeup. Over drawing my lips excessively so it looks hilarious. 

Last time I covered my entire face in metallic eyeshadow. I used rose gold as blush and my darker ones as contour. It was awesome. Then the next day someone did the metallic/glitter challenge on youtube. weird. 

That sounds fun!

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11 hours ago, Mr_Turtle said:

Anything that makes me feel clean (shower, deodorant, change clothes, even just chewing gum helps).

Hot drinks and warm clothes.

Doing something nice for someone else.

Hugging the cats.

Going for a walk, especially if it's a cold day.

Putting on makeup, perfume and jewellery.

Food and beer.

Thanks Mr_Turtle!

I love these ideas. I've been actively working on the "doing something nice for someone"  particularly someone I do not know....I always do nice/thoughtful things for those close to me (family) as well as friends, but my issue was when I wasn't getting any kind of reciprocation at all, I would blame myself and start thinking like there's something wrong with me, berating myself. In this case, i realize I need to lower my expectations - or just move on to to nicer /kinder friends!

Hanging on to people that treat you terribly though is a waste of time and counterproductive. Like beating your head against a wall. So you get up and try to connect with someone else. Everyone is different.

I've recently made it a practice to buy coffees for the local homeless people with a note on the cup. I try to look them in the eye or smile - letting them know "I see you" It's like a little mission that I give myself and it does take my mind away from my own emotional needs. I also frequently leave Books in bathroom stalls (like in coffee shops with a note to who I think the book would be good for)...anonymous surprise. At one time i wanted to start a blog about it (like the person who would leave anonymous Love Letters all around NYC - I think that is so cool!

I'm trying to "let go" of the attachment to feeling like others should respond to me in a warm way. It's not easy to move on from people that you care about (when they ignore you or do not respond). But this is life - everyone is dealing with their own demons.

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I won't get into specific activities, but I do have a particular method for when I'm actively attempting to self-soothe.

I believe it's important to indulge each sense simultaneously. So out of the suggestions, pick one for smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound to completely occupy all senses at once. To me, that's what takes self-soothing to the next level.

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On 1/9/2017 at 8:14 AM, cloudmonger said:

In thinking about what you've said - I believe it is a combo of things I'm seeking. Sounds bizarre, but I think I might have some early-attachment-anxiety issues. I find myself missing my mom and the emotional comfort/reassurance/cheerleading she provides. I do speak with her (but she lives far and I can't talk to her for hours everyday on the phone.) I also feel nurtured & cared for when I have a hug from my spouse (this is partially a tactile thing, but perhaps it is the emotional support/intimacy?)

It's the acts that provide the feeling of being loved and cared for by another human, being understood, cared for and listened to, because I don't have enough self-love or self esteem. I know this comes from within, but I haven't been able to achieve this.

I am constantly let down by my friends. I even have a couple friends in training to be therapists. No one has the time to even send an email or meet up let alone "lift my spirits". I would never reveal the extent of my depression. It gets me horribly depressed thinking about lost relationships. I've been trying to lower my expectations with friendship, because I am always hurt by people that I care about - people that I thought cared about me end up disappearing and ignoring my attempts at simple connection or hello.

I totally relate to everything you said here. From the mom thing to the needing reassurance to feeling let down by friends. I've been practicing meditation as a way to try to "sit with" unpleasant feelings. It's helped a bit but the anxiety can still be overwhelming sometimes (my primary issue is panic attacks/anxiety). 

We should be email pals! I also often feel like I'm too needy with my friends or husband so it would be good to talk to someone who understands. 

 

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