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Self-soothing tips?


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Since you guys get the same kinda deal I'm living, maybe you could give me some better ideas than my therapist...

 

When I'm feeling triggered--like my anxiety is going to increase (like now that the weekend is coming)...or if I feel the faint rumblings of a panic attack brewing...what can I do to 'self soothe'? I'm not talking about the mindfulness, feeling connected to the earth stuff that my therapist is always talking about. I'm talking about the very basis, infant level 'comfort' and soothing.

 

Normally, I get H to come over and just be near me--hug me, talk to me...I find touch to be incredibly healing, so even if he just gives me a squeeze I feel so much better and have been able to shake off attacks if he just touches me. But I really can't rely on this forever. I don't know I need to learn how to comfort myself--not meditate, breathe or color--but comfort myself, and I have no clue how to do it.

 

If there's anyone else who needs physical 'comfort' in order to get rid of panic attacks/anxiety, how do you handle it yourself if you're on your own?  I'd love any ideas or suggestions you have. {I'm still totally med compliant, but still have meltdowns--If I could find a way to self-soothe before I get too anxious, I don't think I'd have breakthrough panic attacks}

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I'm a big fan of heavy blankets, jumpers and duvets. Anything slightly weighted that feels grounding rather than suffocating. Even a scarf is helpful (last time I went on a plane I took one with me to calm down). I stay away from scratchy or irritating fabrics like wool. 

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I hope this is not to minor, but counting while I breath deeply and slowly helps me.

 

There is supposed to be a count for inhaling, and a count for exhaling, but when I try to match my breathing with it, I get anxious, so that kind of defeats the purpose. But if I just, say, count to 8 over and over, or just keep counting, it diverts my mind just a little bit.

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I'll have to try cuddling up in my comforter and snuggling that...I'm also against itchy fabrics...some of the man-made fibers really bother me.

 

Crtclms, that's a good idea too--I just breathe, I don't count--that might make a difference and help me catchthis stuff early before I completely lose it.

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A very soft unassuming stuffed toy that's big as a small baby.  I discovered that one with my babies.  I would pick them up and hold them close.  Probably some oxytocin in there but it still works with fluffy things.  My animals are kind of flaky and dont want snuggles much.  Damn them.  :)  I pay their bills ya know?  ;)

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Ananke i took a hot shower, warmed up my bed and cuddled under my quilt yesterday...helped tons!! Im going to have to dig out my nice fuzzy blanket for when i get bad...i'm thinking of leaving one in my file cab at work too...put it on my lap when i'm upset...plus it gets really cold too.

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I like weighted touch too. I made a heavy heating pad with rice in it. It's just a double layer of fabric (rice is surprisingly pointy) sewed into a square and then I filled it partway with plain white rice. You can microwave it to warm up the rice and it holds the temperature quite a while. I made the outside fabric a soft fuzzy one and I find the weight can be enough if it's too hot to use it as a heating pad. I made a couple with different amounts of rice in them for different weights and shapes - a semicircle that can go on my shoulders, a square for my back/lap. I know some people put a drop of scented oil in with the rice, and then you can have a calming scent at the same time.

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Not to sound crazy but that heated rice-pad is a great idea! I have a back-buddy heated rice pad moist heat thing that I use and love (although it's boxed up for the move now)... I could just throw a fuzzy blanket over it and cuddle it....throw some cologne on there too and I could fake myself into thinking it's H... {{I don't mean that in a deranged way...just if I can trick my mind into being soothed, maybe by 'thinking' he's around, I can settle down and be calm....}}

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I find comfort in embryo pose.   Think of it as childs pose but  bring your arms down along your sides.  It makes me feel very small and contained, safe.  From here I can focus on my breathing.  If I need more I can do this under a blanket.  Obviously this doesnt work in public or at work.

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I have a few things I do to self-soothe.

 

See if a cat is willing to cuddle, yes.  Blankets also help if my overtures to the cats are met with feline stink-eye.  I am fortunate enough to have very sweet cats who usually like being petted and also like to play, which is a helpful way to work off nervous energy.

 

Cup of (hot) tea.  Chamomile is nice, caffeine free/herbal works better, but anything will do in a pinch.  The warm liquid is very soothing.

 

Watch something silly/brainless/funny.  I find cartoons helpful for getting my mind off racing/obsessive thoughts.

 

Soft music, especially old and not-too-sad favorites.

 

Cleaning/housework.  Mainly because this is physical, practical work that does not require brain power, gets you out of your own head for a bit and also gives a feeling of satisfaction when you're finished, which helps take the edge off anxiety for me.

 

Candles or a fire in the fireplace if it's cool enough.  I find the extra light and warmth good for the spirit.

 

Fussing over garden plants.  It accomplishes the same kind of mind-redirection as some of the other things I mentioned, plus the extra oxygen from the plants improves well-being.

 

Comfort food, and I don't necessarily mean ice cream although let's not kid ourselves, there are some times that call for ice cream.  Applesauce can be nice, though.  Soup.  Cinnamon buns.  Something richly scented, warm and flavorful but not too spicy.

 

Hope this helps!

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Another thing I use to soothe is aromatherapy.  I have a large collection of essential oils with various properties and scents that I can put in a wall diffuser.  It fills the room with the smell and it's really wonderful.  I can use different scents and combos to counteract any number of moods, both up and down.

 

I will also sometimes listen to Indian chants, which might seem a little woo-woo to some, but I find it really helps.  Another good thing to do is kundalini yoga, which looks really weird, but leaves me feeling really good.  It's not strenuous like regular yoga is, either.  There's lots of fast and deep breathing in kundalini yoga: I'm sure that has a lot to do with it.

 

And yes, nice cozy blankets/quilts, big ol' mug of chamomile tea brewed very strong (I make my own tea mixes), and maybe something familiar to watch on telly.

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