By Nicole Gebhardt
Your Guide To Healing, Hope & Happiness
Self Soothing Strategies: Self Soothing Behaviors I Learned To Calm My Anxiety On My Healing Journey
I am the queen of self-soothing.
For the longest time, and I mean decades, I seemed to always search and find someone or something that I thought would help me heal. Unfortunately, I used negative self soothing strategies to numb my pain instead of dealing with the real issues and doing the work to truly get better, and physically and mentally heal from the inside out.
Self soothing behaviors became my go to way to cope with anxiety, stress and heartache. Not all self soothing is bad because you can implement healthy self soothing strategies into your life to give you an instant boost. I not only believe in positive self soothing strategies, I use them daily and it is a topic I teach about in my grief healing cocoon program.
But, before I get more into my own story about self-soothing let me share with you what self-soothing means. Self-soothing is when we use different techniques to help us cope with our struggles, our heartaches, our depressive state, our anxious thoughts and even any physical pain we might be in to help us feel better. The crazy thing is that this is something we learned how to do when we were just babies!! Were you a thumb-sucker? What about a blankie-holder? If so, that was how you self-soothed yourself as a baby and/or child.
The Reason We Self Soothe
The reason why we self-soothe is because it is a quick and immediate way to “feel better” and move past any negativity, fear, mental stressors, or even pain we might be feeling in that very moment. In our minds, we think self-soothing is a way to stabilize and overcome our fears. But, the truth and the sad thing is that self-soothing is really never a productive long-term “fix” to the issue or problem.
My way to self-soothe myself has almost always been with alcohol. I had convinced myself for years that alcohol was taking away my pain and “fixing” me. But, my problem was once I started drinking I couldn’t stop. I would literally wake up thinking about alcohol and then pass out at night excited to wake up the very next day and start drinking all over again.
Then one day, my quick fix method to soothe myself came crashing down. I was at my worst point on Infant Loss and Miscarriage Awareness Day just a short one and a half years ago when I fell down two flights of stairs after getting drunk and highly intoxicated.
I had started the day off just fine, so I thought.
Got up. Got dressed. Got the kids to school and even attended my weekly bible study group with fellow military spouses that I met with every week while we were living in DC and stationed at the Pentagon. But, during my time with the other spouses I felt my walls come tumbling down.
I couldn’t stop thinking of my dead son and even the multiple miscarriages I had endured. So after the bible study ended I went home and cracked open a beer…which in turn turned into 5 beers, a bottle of champagne and half a bottle of wine. I later found out I almost killed myself, not because of just my fall but my BAC (Blood Alcohol) level was out the roof. I shouldn’t have ever made it out of the hospital alive.
Looking back, now that I am about to celebrate eighteen months of sobriety,
the truth was the alcohol was no longer helping me, and as you can see it literally became my downfall. I must add right here, I pray and wish that no one ever has to see or find their husband or wife at the bottom of two flights of stairs to recognize that self soothing with substances is not the answer.
Praise God, I survived to share my story with you today. And I have found much healthier ways to self-soothe.
- I enjoy a fabulous Shirley Temple, or three, with lots of yummy cherries.
- I also go watch the sunset each and every night to soothe my soul and ground myself.
- Another great thing I do is Reiki Energy Healing on myself each and every morning, noon, and night.
I have found these three things TOGETHER help ease my anxiety, my depression, my PTSD, and it even have helped cure my insomnia.
If you are looking for a place to heal and grow your hope and happiness I want to invite you to my Free Facebook Group Nicole’s Angels.
I want to leave you with this list of ideas for self soothing techniques you can start using today.