Letting Go So You Can Thrive Part 4: Balancing Letting Go with Self-Soothing. Late joining this series? Catch up on Part 1 or from last week’s Part 3!
This is the final in a four-part series, intended to help you learn different aspects about attachment and letting go so you can nurture and heal yourself and can truly BE all that is possible for you.
People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.– Thich Nhat Hanh
The following is an excerpt from my book: Letting Go So You Can Thrive
The importance of self-soothing
Many of us, particularly those who are emotionally sensitive, either forget or just do not know about the importance of self-soothing activities. In moments of upset or of feeling triggered, it can be difficult to think about calming yourself. Additionally, self-soothing does not come naturally to everyone and it does require some thought and action.
A stress-response is a natural part of our survival pattern. The Amygdala is known as the part of our brain that processes underlying feelings. The Amygdala plays a significant role in sounding-the-alert for threatening situations and triggers fight-or-flight behaviors. This works well when there truly is a threat that you need to run away from or defend yourself against. Otherwise, your body suffers from being on high-alert when it doesn’t need that reaction.
Feeling threatened when you are not, is unpleasant and exhausting. People who have suffered traumatic experiences may find they are easily stressed and often are in the flight-or-fight state when there is no current danger. In addition to being a part of our threat alert system, the Amygdala is also involved in regulating emotional memories.
Creating sensations that instill the reality that there is no emergency helps calm the body’s alert system so the brain, (the Prefrontal Cortex,) can regain its ability to think and plan. If you are sipping hot tea wrapped in a soft blanket or lazing in a bubble bath, then there is no reason to run at full speed to the nearest cave!
Whatever the reason or origin of the emotional sensitivity; self-soothing can help. Self-soothing is part of finding a middle ground, a gray area, between being detached or numb and experiencing an emotional crisis or upheaval. Allowing yourself to experience the uncomfortable emotions, without feeding them and making them more intense, enables the feelings to pass. Soothing yourself helps you accept the experience without acting in ways that are not helpful in the long run, or blocking the emotions; which makes them seem “larger”, or become expressed in ways you didn’t intend.
What Are YOUR Self-Soothing Activities?
Usually, soothing activities are related to the senses. Different people are comforted in different ways and may prefer one sense over another. Sometimes what is soothing for one situation, is not the same in a different situation.
When your alert-system is firing danger, then physical activity may help; like playing a fast-moving game of racquetball or going for a brisk walk.
When the upset is more about feeling hurt or sad, activities such as sipping hot tea or petting your pet may be more nurturing. The smell of apple pie baking, a beautiful sunset, the softness of a cat’s fur, the sound of birds singing, the taste of chocolate or the sensation of rocking are also options. Reading a good book can be soothing for some. Being with a good friend, someone you feel safe with and loved by; can also be soothing.
Some may feel soothed by focusing on a specific sense. Some people are more visual than others and some are more auditory. Experiment with the different senses to see what works best for you. You may want to create a self-soothing box full of options that you know are effective for you. When you are upset, searching for a particular song or even remembering what is soothing is hard. Put a list of your self-soothing activities in the box together with some of the objects you might need.
I hope you have enjoyed this four-part series and have found some new ways of letting go of what no longer serves you in order to align with your Soul’s essence and share your unique gifts in this world. That’s what is required of you!
Are you ready to make personal and spiritual changes in your life? Consider a one-on-one private session with Moira or a reading to free yourself from limitations and open yourself up to greater possibilities. You’re invited to open the door.