Sunday Oct 13, 2019
Sunday Oct 13, 2019
When Self-Soothing Becomes an Addiction
The WISDOM Podcast Season 1 Episode 3
Podcast Intro: 0-1:32 | The Origins of Self-Soothing: 1:33 | What Do You Do to Self-Soothe? 4:46 | Self-Soothing as Self-Care and Self-Love: 5:36 | Habit Forming Activities that Soothe Children: 9:43 | Self-Soothing As A Coping Mechanism: 11:40 | The Power of Self-Soothing: 12:37 | Three Natural Sources of Self-Soothing: 20:13 | How to Live in Homeostatic Balance Using Your Breath: 23:41
From infancy, each of us has a natural inclination to self-soothe. Self soothing is a way of relaxing our central nervous system ~ of calming the body and mind ~ of experiencing relief and the absence of whatever stress we may be facing.
We experience self-soothing from our caregivers as touch, as love, as food and sustenance, and as a comfortable and safe environment. For example having the comfort of our favourite toys or blanket always available, a means of exploring our surroundings safely; and to feel secure knowing that our needs are always taken care of. Parents who are sensitive and attentive to their child's needs, and who also encourage their child to soothe themselves in healthy ways; foster these important abilities - of self-nourishment and self-care, learned from an early age.
As a child we instinctively look to calm our self in moments when we feel anxious, scared, angry, or sad. Learning to self-soothe is vital for healthy development and it is an important skill for nurturing emotional and physical well-being.
The ritual of self-soothing continues throughout life. How we are comforted and soothed as a child influences the habits that we adopt to soothe our self as adults. We often don't consider self-soothing as a strategy for feeling comfort, ease, and relief each time we feel anxiety, fear, sadness or any other unpleasant state; and yet it is perhaps the most important means of feeling better.
We may not make the direct connection between what we or our caregivers did to comfort and soothe our self in childhood, and what we continue to do today to alleviate tension, anxiety, fear; and to calm ourselves, to feel better, to escape momentarily from our life and to recover after uncomfortable, unpleasant, or threatening situations (usually situations where we have a lack of control, where there is conflict, or unrelenting stress; and in some cases - trauma).
Self-soothing tendencies can be a healthy form of self-regulation and a means of creating optimal balance between mind and body; if we choose behaviours that are helpful and healthy.
What do you do to self-soothe?
Consider for a moment what you instinctively do to make yourself feel better? to escape? to reward yourself? to cope when feeling pressure and stress? to unwind and relax?
The power of self-soothing lies in your ability to recognize the importance of being self-aware (mindful) of your needs at any given moment. When you are out of touch with, or not attending to your basic fundamental needs; or if you do what you've always done to self-soothe rather than take notice of what you truly need; and how you might best give this to yourself, you will likely resort to the well-learned strategies that are already in place; most of which originated out of what you were taught and perhaps what you developed out of necessity in order to evoke feeling a way that is desirable for you.
Three of the most readily available and natural sources of feeling 'in balance' and 'in control' as productive and healthy means of self-soothing are: exercise, sleep, and meditation (which can also include prayer).
As a special gift and practice, I invite you to experience this 15-Minute Meditation of focused awareness on your breath; and as a means of soothing self-regulation. Meditation also helps by modifying the brain's activity to achieve calmness, naturally. Consider this as a new skill that you develop with practice and patience; and as a helpful way to self-soothe- naturally.
Practical and Healthy Solutions for Self-Soothing:
Choosing to live in a state of optimal homeostatic balance helps bring to light the fact that self-soothing is a necessary and important life practice. Most ideal methods are quite simple and require very minimal effort to practice readily. You can begin to implement helpful self-soothing strategies as you learn how to be mindful; and by practising conscious awareness of how you feel and what you are in need of in any given moment.
One of the simplest and most powerful ways to self-soothe is to rely on your breath as a means of feeling calm and returning your attention to the present moment. In the present moment you can best assess how you feel and what your needs are; in the present moment there can never be anxiety, fear, or sadness because in the present you are simply being.
a 15 Minute Meditation for Self-Soothing
Use your breath as a natural method of experiencing self-awareness. As you become experienced with conscious (mindful) breathing (as one simple yet helpful strategy), you begin to see that deliberate conscious breathing is a powerful means of helping you reestablish focus, of calming your body and mind, and for feeling soothed.
The enhanced awareness you experience from conscious breathing will also help you identify what you need in any given moment; so that you are able to provide this for yourself. Most of us need only the simplest of things when we feel stressed, worried, angered, or any other unwanted emotion. Any of your unhealthy choices are the automatic habits and unconscious actions that you had previously learned; and which have never truly been the right solution for feeling authentic happiness.
"Your breath is the connection between mind and body and it is also a way for you to cultivate a connection with and to experience the Divine (what we call God, Allah, Source, Universal Consciousness)." - dorothy
I'd also like to share with you the science of why taking a deep breath feels so good; and the many health benefits of making this a conscious practice in your daily life.
A generous 'thank you' to Audio Engineer, A. Karneichuk.
Accompanying Music: 'To See' by Ludvig Cimbrelius
Sharing the wisdom and beauty of divine love with you...