How to Tap into your Self-Soothing System
We often look outside of ourselves when it comes to stress management. Pills, caffeine, alcohol but when it comes to stress management and self-care, did you know that you can tap into your body’s self-soothing system to help rebalance itself after periods of stress?
Mind-body exercises and deep breathing are perfect for this. In fact, any activity that encourages you to focus on the here and now helps to activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system.
This is the system known as rest and digest and it is super important for balancing and healing the body.
Things like warm baths, breathing and progressive muscle relaxation exercises also encourage the parasympathetic nervous system to turn itself on but today, I want to show you how you can also use your own senses for soothing purposes. I call it tapping into your own self-soothing system.
Use touch: As the biggest organ in the body, your skin is so sensitive to touch and this is something you can tap into for relieving stress.
There are lots of ways you can harness touch, from a soothing bath to self-massage. I love to give myself a hand or foot massage using some delicious Neal’s Yard Body Butters. Massage activates your body’s parasympathetic nervous system.
Even something as simple as placing your hand on your stomach or around your heart and taking some deep breaths can be soothing.
Using smell: Aromatherapy oils are a proven way to calm and relax the mind and body. Lavender is a popular and obvious choice for this but there are other good choices like rose, ylang-ylang, bergamot, frankincense, and chamomile oils.
You can burn oils in a diffuser or treat yourself to some of the organic natural pillow sprays on the market or roller balls which you rub onto your pulse points.
Always read the labels to see if there are any contraindications.
Using sight: Calming images can be a great way to use the power of sight to soothe yourself. Have a calming image as a screen saver, have an inspiring photo on your desk.
You can also tap into this through powerful memories and visualisations that relax and calm you.
Using sound: Relaxing music and sounds from nature can be effective at reducing stress. I often roll out my yoga mat and put on some instrumental music. Bliss! What are some sounds that calm you?
Create your own Self-Soothing SOS Box.
Years ago, I was taught about creating a self-soothing box which I think was called an SOS box.
You can, of course, call it something entirely different, but the principle is to collect an item for each of your senses for the reasons I have described above.
I bought myself a nice box, but you can make one by decorating an old shoebox for example.
In my box, I had some aromatherapy dabbed onto a small padded hand cushion, a spider head massager, a calming CD and some affirmation cards.
What will you put into yours?
Creating this box is a lovely pastime because you can decorate the box and really spend time thinking about what will help you in times of stress.
Spending just a few minutes with one or more of these items will help to switch you off from stress and switch onto rest and digest. Give it a go.
Need some help? Get in touch or let me know how you get on with making one.
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