Self-soothing techniques that help to calm yourself down
We try so stubbornly to be happy that we tend to overlook the most important parts of our lives and destroy satisfaction in the end. This post teaches you how to gradually get rid of anxiety, stress, dissatisfaction, and exhaustion by learning how to calm yourself down with these self-soothing techniques.
After learning how to be more mindful, you’ll realize that thoughts come and go as you please and that you are not what you think about. You can watch your thoughts appear out of nowhere and then disappear, like bursting soap bubbles.
You’ll come to understand that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are changing. They come and go, and it’s up to you to decide whether to act on them or not. Awakening means observing your thoughts without criticism.
When there are clusters of stress and anxiety floating above your head, you’ll learn to view them not personally but as dark clouds in the sky and watch them move with only a slight friendly interest.
Studies have also shown that people who meditate regularly are healthier.
Awakening helps to change some thinking habits and behaviors that prevent you from living your life to the fullest. Many derogatory and self-critical thoughts are born out of habitual ways of thinking and behaving.
By removing some of these habits, these negative bundles of thoughts will be wiped out of your head, and you will become much more alert and conscious.
The same applies to a whole bunch of human feelings and emotions, such as sadness, nervousness, and stress.
When we are unhappy, it’s natural to try to understand why we feel this way and to find a solution to the problem of lack of happiness. But the tension, dissatisfaction, or exhaustion are not problems that can be solved. They are emotions.
They express the current state of the body and the mind. Therefore, you also can’t solve your emotions; you can only feel them.
Once you’ve felt them, that is, become aware of your feelings, and have given up the habit of seeking an explanation for them or getting rid of them, they’re much more likely to disappear on their own.
Now let’s see some self-soothing techniques you can practice to learn to be more mindful and calm yourself down.
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Let’s talk about the self-soothing techniques that I use
1. A minute’s meditation
1. Sit up straight in a chair that has a backrest. If possible, leave some space between your back and the backrest so that your back doesn’t rest on it. Support your feet on the floor. Close your eyes and lower your head.
2. Focus your attention on breathing in and out. Feel how each breath and exhalation are accompanied by different feelings. Watch your breathing, but don’t expect anything special. Don’t change your breathing rhythm.
3. Your thoughts may start to wander after a while. When you notice this, gently direct your thoughts back to breathing without irritating yourself. The main goal is to realize when your thoughts start to wander and to focus on breathing again without criticizing yourself.
4. Eventually, your mind becomes as calm as pond water—or not. Even if you reach a state of complete peace, it can only be temporary. If you experience anger or irritation, that feeling may pass. No matter what happens, don’t interfere.
5. After a minute, open your eyes and look around the room.
2. Meditation with chocolate
Yes, you can learn to be more mindful and calm yourself down with chocolate. It’s super easy. That’s why meditation with chocolate is among my favorite self-soothing techniques.
1. Choose a bar of chocolate that you haven’t tried before or that you haven’t eaten in a long time. It can be dark and tasty, organic or made in developing countries, or even cheap and not very good. What’s really important is choosing a type of chocolate that you don’t usually eat or rarely eat.
2. Let’s begin. Open the chocolate package. Inhale the aroma. Let the scents reach your nose. Break one piece and look at it. Let your eyes enjoy their true appearance and examine every groove and bump.
3. Put this piece of chocolate in your mouth. Try to keep it on your tongue and let the piece melt, and notice if you tend to suck it. Chocolate has over three hundred flavors. Try to taste some of them.
4. When you notice your thoughts wandering, simply observe where they go and then bring them back to the present moment. When the chocolate is completely melted, swallow it very slowly and carefully. Let it drip down your throat.
5. Do it all again with the next piece. How do you feel? Do you feel special in any way? Did the chocolate taste better than eating it the usual way?
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3. Meditation with raisins
Find five or ten minutes of time when you can be alone in a place where you’re not disturbed by the phone, family, or friends. Switch off your mobile phone so that it won’t bother you.
You’ll need a couple of raisins (or some other dried fruit or nuts). You’ll also need paper and a pen so that you can write down your impressions later. Your task is to eat the selected fruit or nut carefully. It’s quite similar to the previous chocolate exercise.
1. Hold it in your hand
Take one raisin (or other selected dried fruit or nut) and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your thumb and forefinger.
Focus on it and examine it as if you’ve never seen anything like it before. Do you feel the weight of the raisin in your hand? Does it cast a shadow on the palm of your hand?
Look at the raisin slowly and really see it. Imagine you haven’t seen a raisin before. Watch it carefully and with full attention. Let your eyes discover every detail of the raisin. Examine the lighter places where the light shines on the raisins and the dark hollows, wrinkles, and bumps.
Twist the raisin between your fingers and feel its texture. How does the raisin feel between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand?
Now hold the raisin under your nose and try to monitor what you notice each time you inhale. Does the raisin smell? Let the smell fill your consciousness. If there is no smell or the aroma is very faint, pay attention to this as well.
Slowly bring the raisin to your mouth, and watch how your hand knows exactly where to put the raisin. Place it gently in your mouth, paying attention to the activity of the tongue that’s receiving the raisin.
Feel the sensations that occur when a raisin is on the tongue, but don’t chew it. Gradually examine the raisin with your tongue, doing so for thirty seconds or even longer.
When you’re ready, consciously bite the raisin and notice the effect of the bite on the raisin and your mouth. Notice all the flavors that the raisin releases. Feel the texture of the raisin when you press your teeth into it.
Continue to chew the raisin slowly, but don’t swallow it yet. Pay attention to what’s going on in your mouth.
Try to recognize the moment when the intention to swallow first arises in your mind and experience it with full awareness before swallowing. Notice what the tongue does when you’re preparing to swallow the raisin. Try to monitor the feeling of swallowing the raisin.
If you can, consciously feel the raisin move in your stomach. And if you didn’t swallow it all at once, consciously notice the second or third swallow until all the pieces are swallowed. Notice what the tongue does after swallowing.
Finally, identify the after-effects of eating for a few moments. Does the aftertaste remain in the mouth? How does the absence of raisins in your mouth make you feel? Do you have an automatic tendency to reach for a new one? Now take a moment and write down any observations made during the exercise.
4. Body and respiratory alertness
1. Take a comfortable position, such as lying on a mat or thick rug or sitting on a chair or pillow. If you want to sit in a chair, choose one with a strong and straight back (not an armchair) so that your back does not rest on the backrest but is straight.
When sitting on the floor on a pillow, it’s good if your knees touch the floor, although it can be difficult at first. If you’re uncomfortable sitting in this position or lying on your back, find another comfortable position that allows you to be fully awake at all times.
2. When sitting, keep your back straight and confident, not stiff or tense, but comfortable. When sitting in a chair, rest your feet firmly on the floor. Don’t cross your legs. Close your eyes if it seems more convenient.
If not, look at something that’s up to a meter away from you without really focusing on anything. When you’re lying on your back, keep your legs straight, feet apart, and hands slightly away from your body, palms facing towards the ceiling (unless this position causes discomfort).
3. To direct your consciousness to your body’s feelings, focus on the tactile sensations where your body touches the floor and/or the seat. Focus on these sensations for a few moments.
4. Now focus on your legs, starting with the toes and expanding your attention to the soles, heels, and feet until you feel (at all times) all the physical sensations that you are aware of on your feet.
Watch your feet for a few moments, noticing how feelings first emerge in your consciousness and then dissipate. If there are no feelings in a certain part of the body, then try to notice this “no-feeling.” This is completely natural—you’re not trying to evoke sensations, but you are noticing those that already exist.
5. Now expand your attention and try to focus on both legs for a moment, then the body (moving from the pelvis and hips to the shoulders), then the left and then the right hand, and finally the neck and head.
6. Relax for a few minutes, fully aware of your body. Try to let your body and emotions stay exactly as they are. Find out how it feels to let go of the habit of wanting things to be a certain way. Even a single moment during which you see everything as it is without wanting to change anything can be deeply refreshing.
7. Now direct your consciousness to your breathing and to the air moving in and out of your body. Notice how feelings change regularly in this area of the body as air enters and leaves the body. To feel it better, place your hands on your stomach for a few breaths and feel it rise and fall.
8. You may experience a slight feeling of stretching and different sensations as you breathe out with each breath.
9. Watch your breathing as closely as possible to notice the sensations in your body during each breath and exhalation, even small breaks between breathing in and out and breathing in and out again.
10. Don’t try to control your breathing in any way. Let the air move by itself.
11. Sooner or later (usually sooner), you’ll be distracted from focusing on breathing. Thoughts, images, plans, or dreams may appear in your head. Such a deviation of thought is not wrong. The mind just behaves like this.
12. Just be aware of where your thoughts were headed. Then gently draw attention back to the feelings in the stomach. Apparently, your thoughts will wander many more times, so keep in mind that the goal is to notice where your thoughts are and gently direct them back to breathing.
It can be tricky and frustrating when the mind seems so disobedient, and that’s okay.
13. Continue the exercise for another eight minutes or longer if desired, although make sure to remind yourself from time to time that the purpose of the activity is only to be more mindful of what you’re experiencing at any given moment.
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5. A gratitude exercise with ten fingers
If you’re looking for ways to calm yourself down, then this gratitude exercise is among some great self-soothing techniques that help you appreciate the present.
Do this gratitude exercise to learn to appreciate the little things in life. This exercise entails reminding yourself of ten things to be grateful for once a day and counting them on your fingers.
It’s very important to get ten things together, even if it becomes more and more difficult to find new ideas after the third or fourth one. This is the idea behind the exercise: to become aware of the smallest and often unnoticed parts of the day.
6. Sounds and thoughts
This self-soothing technique also helps you calm yourself down, be more mindful, and focus on your breathing.
1. Find a sitting position where the back is upright without support, straight but not stiff.
2. Sit as described, shoulders relaxed, head and neck in balance, and chin slightly below.
3. Pay attention to the air moving in your body for a few minutes while breathing until you feel calm enough. Then extend your attention to the whole body, as if the whole body is breathing, so that you are aware of all the feelings within the body.
4. Take a few minutes to breathe and be alert, and remember that during the next steps of meditation, you can always return to breathing and your body to control your mind when thoughts are diverted or carried away by something.
5. When you are ready, let the focus shift from your emotions to hearing; open yourself to emerging sounds.
6. Don’t start searching for sounds or trying to capture any specific voices. Instead, be as open as possible to them so that you can receive sounds from all directions in your consciousness, whether they come from the far, front, back, side, top, or bottom.
In this way, you become open to the sound space around you, the soundscape. Notice how obvious sounds can muffle less noticeable ones. Note the pauses between sounds and the moments of almost complete silence.
7. Gently create an awareness that sounds are just sounds, pure sensations. Note the habit of trying to label sounds while listening to them (car, train, voice, air conditioning, radio).
It’s really common for all of us. Just try to notice the labels and then refocus on the pure sound sensations that hide beneath these labels.
8. You may notice that you are thinking of sounds. In this case, try to reconnect with these directly audible attributes (repetitive pitch, timbre, volume, and duration), not with the meaning of the sounds, the conclusions, or the stories behind them.
9. Every time you notice that your consciousness is not focused on the sounds, gently realize where your thoughts are headed and then bring your attention back to the sounds that appear and disappear at every moment.
10. If you have been concentrating on the sounds for 4-5 minutes, release your consciousness from the sounds.
11. Now refocus your consciousness so that thoughts are at the center of it, and see them tenderly only as states of mind.
12. Just like you noticed the formation of sounds, their duration, and the fading of those sounds, watch your thoughts arise and soar into the vastness of the mind (like clouds moving across the sky). Finally, try to capture the moment when thoughts start to fade.
There is no need to evoke or divert thoughts from yourself. Just as you watched the formation and fading of sounds, let your thoughts come and go.
Just as the clouds moving across the sky are sometimes dark and stormy and sometimes they are white cotton swabs, thoughts can also take different forms. Sometimes, the clouds cover the whole sky. Other times, the layout is completely clear and cloudless.
13. You can pay attention to thoughts as if they were projected in a movie theater: you can sit and wait for an idea or figment of your imagination to appear before your eyes. If something appears, pay attention to it as long as it is in front of you on the screen, and release it when the image changes.
Also, notice when you are dragged to the center of the thought drama and get on the screen yourself. Noticing this situation, you can congratulate yourself, return to your seat, and wait patiently for the next series of thoughts to come, because there will definitely be more.
If a thought brings strong feelings or emotions, whether you like them or not, try to notice their emotional charge and intensity as well as possible and then let them be on their own.
14. Whenever you are distracted or your thoughts are drawn to an imaginary story of the mind, return to breathing and perceiving the body as a breathing whole, and use that focus to confirm and stabilize the presence of consciousness.
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7. Investigation of difficulties
1. Sit for a few minutes and focus on the sensations of breathing, then expand your attention to your whole body. Then move on to focusing on sounds and thoughts.
If you notice (while sitting) that painful thoughts, emotions, or feelings distract you from breathing (or something else), then do something new this time that we haven’t practiced so far.
2. The first step is to let the thought or feeling stand on the so-called desktop of the mind.
3. Continue to focus on the body and become aware of the feelings associated with that thought or emotion. Now focus on the area of the body where the feeling is strongest.
4. Breathing can be a useful tool for this, so gently and kindly become aware of the body part by trying to “inhale in and out of this area” as you breathe in and out of the air in your lungs.
5. When attention has approached the feeling of the body and placed it in the middle of consciousness, remind yourself that you’re not trying to change the sensations, but you’re trying to discover them with friendly curiosity as phenomena that come and go.
6. Maybe it’s helpful to say to yourself: “That feeling is completely normal. Whatever it is, everything’s fine when I’m open to it.”
Then try to be aware of these feelings in your body and see your attitude toward the feelings in your body. Are you trying to get rid of them, or are you able to devote all your attention to them, breathe with your senses, come to terms with them, and let them be?
7. It is useful to repeat yourself: “Everything is fine. Whatever it is, I can be open to it.” Try to soften the feeling with each breath and open yourself up more and more to it.
8. If there are no difficulties or worries during this meditation and you want to explore such a new approach in depth, then feel if you’re ready and try to direct your thoughts to some obstacle in your life—something you are ready to think about for a while.
It does not have to be something very important or critical, but it certainly has to be something unpleasant, an unsolved problem. For example, it could be a misunderstanding or a fight—a situation where you felt a little angry, regretted something, felt guilty about an event, or worried that something might happen.
9. Now that you have a disturbing thought or situation in your mind, let it rest on your mind’s desktop, then let your consciousness sink into your body and recognize the feelings in your body that this difficulty causes.
10. Pay attention to the feelings in your body. Get very close to them. Become aware of your emotions and deliberately focus on the part of your body where your emotions are strongest.
Breathe in and out of that area, discover different feelings, and watch their intensity fluctuate up and down, swaying your feelings into consciousness.
11. If you want to strengthen your tolerance and openness to the feelings you are currently experiencing, say to yourself from time to time, “Now it’s here. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way. Whatever it is, it’s here now.”
12. Then try to be aware of these feelings in the body, see your attitude toward them, breathe with the sensations, come to terms with them, and let them be exactly as they are.
Soften all feelings and open yourself up to everything you become aware of. Leave behind the tension and a readiness to fight. Say to yourself every time you exhale: “Soften, open yourself.”
13. If you notice that these feelings in your body no longer draw attention to themselves with a force, turn your attention completely back to breathing, make it the main target of attention, and continue meditating.
If no strong feelings emerge in the next few minutes, feel free to breathe in and out of any feelings in your body that you notice, even if they are not associated with any strong emotional charge.
To calm yourself down with one of my favorite self-soothing techniques, find a warm and comfortable place where you can have some time on your own, be relaxed and vivid, and take a few minutes to calm down.
1. Find the position that best expresses your dignity and wakefulness. When sitting, keep your back straight, your shoulders back and relaxed, and your head in a balanced position.
2. Focus on breathing, and then expand your consciousness for a few minutes all over your body until you are calm.
When your thoughts start to fade, make yourself aware of where they went and remember that you now have a choice: either guide the thoughts back to where you chose to focus or let your consciousness descend into the body to explore where the anxious and troubled thoughts come from.
3. Feel free to use previous meditations to prepare for this exercise. When you are ready, let some of these phrases, or even all of them, come to mind. You can change the wording if you want to embrace their message and make it your personal door to a deep friendship with yourself.
“I want to be free from suffering.”
“I wish myself as much happiness and health as possible.”
“I wish myself peace of mind.”
4. Don’t rush; just imagine that each sentence is like a rock falling into a deep well. Let each phrase enter your thoughts one by one, and then watch your reaction: thoughts, feelings in your body, and the urge to act.
Don’t evaluate what happens. It’s all for you. If it’s hard to find a sense of friendship with yourself, think of a person (or even a pet) who has loved you completely in the past or still loves you today.
5. If you clearly feel their love, try to offer that kind of love to yourself as well.
“I want to be free from suffering.”
“I wish myself as much happiness and health as possible.”
“I wish myself peace of mind.”
Stay on this step for as long as you want, then move on to the next one.
6. At one point, think of someone you love and wish them the same thing:
“I wish them relief from suffering.”
“I wish them as much happiness and health as possible.”
“I wish them peace of mind.”
7. Once again, examine what’s going on in your mind and body as you keep this person in your mind and heart and wish them well. Let your body and mind respond again. Don’t hurry. Pause between sentences and pay close attention. Breathe.
8. When you’re ready to move on, think of a stranger. It could be someone you always see on the street, on the bus, or on the train, for example—someone whose face is familiar to you but whose name you don’t know and who you’re neutral about.
Even if you don’t know this person, realize that their life is as full of hope and fear as yours. Just like you, they want to be happy. So keep them in mind and in your heart and repeat these phrases, wishing them well.
9. If you now want to take a step further with this meditation, think of someone you have a hard time getting along with (past or present).
It doesn’t have to be the person who has caused the most difficulties in your life, but whoever you choose, deliberately take them into your mind and heart and realize that he or she wants (or has wanted) to be happy and live a life without suffering.
10. Repeat the sentences:
“I wish them relief from suffering.”
“I wish them as much happiness and health as possible.”
“I wish them peace of mind.”
Stop. Listen. Notice the feelings in your body. Try to discover these feelings without censoring or criticizing yourself.
Remember that if at some point you feel that you are buried under an emotional burden or that intense feelings and thoughts are carrying you away, go back to breathing to reassert yourself in the present and treat yourself with kindness.
11. Finally, extend love and care to all living beings, including those you love, strangers, and those who frustrate you. The purpose of this meditation is to bring love and friendship to all living beings on our planet, and to remember that you are one of them.
“I wish all living things liberation from suffering.”
“I wish all living souls as much happiness and health as possible.”
“I wish everyone peace of mind.”
No matter what you experience during this activity, acknowledge your courage in taking the time to encourage yourself.
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Learning how to calm yourself down with these self-soothing techniques isn’t that hard
First, you need to teach your mind to focus. It takes a lot of practice. Second, you need to destroy the habits that control a big part of your habitual behavior. This helps you be more mindful.
Training your attention is similar to going back to the gym after a long absence. It’s as if you’re working out a muscle that hasn’t been used in a long time.
During meditation, you are forced to focus for longer than usual on something in your body that you would otherwise have ignored, similar to how a gym workout consists of carefully selected weights so that the muscles can regain their strength.
So, welcome the feeling of restlessness or boredom with joy, because this is the strength training that is needed to develop concentration and consciousness and be more mindful.
What are your favorite self-soothing techniques to calm yourself down? What’s your opinion on meditating? Let me know in the comments below!
2 thoughts on “Calm Yourself Down With Good Self-Soothing Techniques”
I did really need this info! Thanks for sharing <3 Stress has got the best of me and I can use some calming techniques!
Great actionable steps. Mindfulness and meditation seem to have evolved into trendy terms to throw around in wellness and without context or explanation, are rather useless. This article is really helpful to outline how you go about doing these things.