#31: Self-Soothing Revisited
Do you find it hard to take care of yourself? The DBT skill of Self-Soothing is designed to help you tolerate distress, but it’s also helpful for regular self-care. This episode explores what exactly self-soothing is, when and how to use it, and common barriers to implementing it.
Many of us are going through a time of tremendous uncertainty and multiple losses in the face of a global pandemic. This can wear us down and bring up past traumas, both big and small. Self-soothing is one way to help ease the suffering of this moment.
This episode explores how to use the senses to self-soothe: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. For some people, self-soothing brings up feelings of not deserving. If you weren’t treated with kindness and care as a child, it might be particularly hard to treat yourself with kindness and care as an adult.
- Regular self-soothing makes you less vulnerable to falling into Emotion Mind
- Use your 5 senses to find creative ways to self-soothe
- Intentionally taking a moment to soothe yourself by looking at something beautiful
- Music can be a way to get in touch with emotions if you’re feeling shut down
- Savoring with taste, take your time and really enjoying it
- Asking yourself: What is getting in the way of self-soothing?
- Am I telling myself I am too busy for this?
- Am I telling myself I need to “earn” self-soothing?
- If you weren’t treated kindly as a child, soothing yourself may bring up grief or anger
- Noting and accepting the resistance to self-soothe
- Trauma histories may make it harder to engage in self-soothing
- It may not feel safe to be in your body, so go slowly, and talk with your therapist about fears
- Balancing the Being Mind and Doing Mind
- Self-soothing happens in the Being-Mind, so if you feel like you have to be productive all the time, it can get in the way
- Opposite Action can be helpful if there is a lot of resistance to self-soothing
- Over time, self-soothing will get easier
- Self-soothing is an opportunity to slow down
- Self-soothing can help decrease a sense of deprivation that often precedes unwanted behaviors
Links & Resources
DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition
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Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.