This week, we’re celebrating the launch of two brand-new Care Bears: Dare to Care Bear and Calming Heart Bear, who you can read more about here. But first we’re taking some inspiration from Calming Heart Bear, whose mission is to help others find peace and calm in their hearts.
We’re sharing some tips to help with self-soothing and reaching inner peace and a state of calm.
Why is self-soothing helpful?
Whilst most of us are probably quite familiar with soothing others when they are upset or afraid, especially if we have children, as adults it can be difficult to regulate our own emotions like anger, fear, and sadness, when we’re triggered.
That’s where self-soothing techniques can come in helpful. Here are some self-soothing practices that can be used to help keep yourself centred and calm during times of stress…
1. Change the environment
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, angry or upset, change your environment – even if just for a few minutes. Go outside and focus on the open space or find an indoor space that is soothing for you – perhaps one with a nice view or a more relaxing ambiance.
2. Use your breath
As soon as you begin to feel stressed, try to engage in conscious breathing, taking a few deep, slow breaths that could help reduce tension. If you’re feeling anxious, exhaling more slowly than you inhale can help to soothe anxiety quickly. The 3–4–5 breathing technique can be effective – for more information on this, click here to watch a short video.
3. Take control of your thoughts
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or plagued by negative thoughts, take control of your thoughts and be positive. Remind yourself that this is a transient situation and that you will find the best way to handle it. Tell yourself that everything will be okay and be kind to yourself.
4. Practice self-compassion.
Linked to the former point, our inner thoughts impact our emotions. So, remember to speak compassionately to yourself – and say it aloud! Speak to yourself and give yourself the advice that you’d give to a good friend. Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones can enhance well-being.
5. Stretch for a few minutes
When we become stressed, upset or angry, tension can quickly affect our bodies. A few simple twists of the body, neck rotations, side bends over the hip, and folds to reach towards the toes can help release some of that tension.
6. Treat yourself to a warm shower or bath
Not only will taking a shower or having a bath offer a change of environment, which can be helpful. The warm water can be soothing, and it can help ease any tension that has started to build in the body.
7. Soothe the senses
Work through your senses, working to help create an atmosphere of calm. Give yourself something calming to look at; this could be a burning candle, a photograph of a special place, a picture of a loved one, or otherwise. Then find something relaxing to listen to – perhaps some gentle music or a mindfulness track. Fill the space with comforting smells, perhaps a scented candle, diffuser, or scented body lotion. Get yourself a drink – this could be chamomile or peppermint tea, a glass of water – something that you can sip that will help you relax.
And then try self-soothing touch exercises. This could be a butterfly hug, as demonstrated in this video here. Or it could be the technique recommended by Dreisoerner et al. (2021), whereby one puts their right hand on their heart and their left hand on their stomach, focusing the attention on the rise and fall of their breath.
Head back to the main Care Bears takeover page to continue the fun.
Source: Article informed by mixed sources, including Positive Psychology, NHS Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.