Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

How do you soothe yourself?

Asked by wundayatta (58377 points ) April 29th, 2010

When you’re feeling all kinds of rotten, how do you try to soothe yourself? Like if you can’t sleep because you have to get up early for a plane flight or an interview or something else that requires everything to go right, can you calm yourself down? Of if someone has hurt you and your mind goes round and round trying to figure out what went wrong or how you can get over them, do you have a soothing trick? Or in any other situation where you get agitated and your mind goes OCD—what do you do to make yourself relax? I mean, no one else is going to do it. So what do you do?

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50 Answers

netgrrl's avatar

I remind myself that it’s almost never the things I worry about that actually happen. And over the years, it’s just gotten easier.

TexasDude's avatar

My skin is as thick as the ocean is deep, so that’s my first defense against having to soothe myself to begin with. Once I reach that point, however, I usually go ride my scooter, go shooting, go for a hike in the woods, or kick back with any of my good friends who aren’t involved in whatever said stressor was and make sushi and smoke cigars or something.

Usually at the moment of stress, I continually tell myself that I am a strong individual and that I am impervious to mental stress. I repeat that until I stabilize. It’s a method I developed years ago when I was extremely depressed and had a veritable menagerie of psychological issues. It’s been pretty effective since, and I’ve never been more happy, stable, or free.

zophu's avatar

There’s always something more tragic than whatever’s stressing you out. The worst things in this world aren’t things you can get anxious about. Meditating on them for a few moments sobers a person and rebalances priorities.

ucme's avatar

Suck my thumb or if at night on the wife’s rosy nipple,works a treat.

rangerr's avatar

This happens to me more than it probably should.
I put on music and just lay down until I can at least breathe. When I get worked up, my heart starts racing and it’s usually quite painful, which makes it hard to breathe.
Once I calm down from that, I’ll lurk around Fluther chat or get on AIM and have someone distract me until I’m in a good enough mood to take a nap.

Sometimes, taking a walk will help.

Worst case scenario- I watch home movies of my best friend or the boy I babysat who both passed away. Especially thinking about Cody’s fight with cancer… I always forget whatever is bothering me and get over it pretty quickly.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If I’m nervous about an upcoming situation, I just spend more time with my husband. If something is going on with another person, I have to deal with it right then and there and until it gets solved or moved forward, I won’t rest.

BoBo1946's avatar

go hit golf balls!

RedPowerLady's avatar

Used to be that I would distract myself. Works quite well. Now I play with my LO, which I guess is distracting myself, haha.

PacificToast's avatar

I pray. Then I sing, and then I draw a picture.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I turn on one of my last.fm stations, log into freerice.com and eat some sort of protein/fatty nibble like cheese cubes or real melted butter on popcorn. If I’ve got a partner and they’re reciprocal than making love/sex will make the world seem okay and lull me to sleep.

CMaz's avatar

I think of what to do with my lottery winnings.

Symbeline's avatar

Beer, horror movies, solitary finger discount.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

first thing I do is sit down and release the judgements and clear myself.
breath
I ask for truth to arise and reveal it’s face
breath
track it back to the point of origin
breath
make a note of what is remaining
breath
do sorries and/or tell the person who hurt me how they hurt me in a kind and respectful manor.
breath
if that doesn’t do it, I go get my kitty, and hold her until she purrrrrs

OpryLeigh's avatar

I’m setting myself up to sound like the weird kid that no one wants to sit next to but I rock. I used too rock all the time to calm myself as a child but now I only do it every so often.

itscomplicated's avatar

Life’s too short to be stressed out! I practice yoga and meditation on a regular basis, it’s my way of preventing stressors from building up inside. If all else fails, a nice glass of wine does the trick!

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Hit the refrigerator and vacuum up whatever goes down well!

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

By hitting the fridge and find myself something to eat. I also listen to music.

aprilsimnel's avatar

First, I breathe. There’s a alternate nostril breathing method a friend taught me that involves inhaling and exhaling while shutting one nostril at a time. It works, I gotta say.

Also, for me: music, watching my Monty Python/ Mr. Show/Kids in the Hall DVDs, a hot bath, meditation.

Facade's avatar

I eat.

gailcalled's avatar

Think about Haiti. Think about the Ukrainian parliament. Think about Gordon Brown. Think about my poor demented mother.

Trillian's avatar

I like to relax and picture problems in my mind. Then I consciously pick up each one and feel it getting lighter, then I toss it out the door of my mind. I also have some great visualization techniques for complete relaxation as well as guided meditation CD’s

YARNLADY's avatar

Like @Trillian I give myself a good talking to. I also enjoy a long, hot shower, followed by a hot toddy and a good book until I fall asleep.

JLeslie's avatar

I seek positive affirmation from friends. But, maybe that does not really answer the question? Because I am still dependent on others. I might do something to distract myself, fluther, watch tv, or unfortunately I think I eat sometimes when I am all stirred up. It is very hard for me to calm down when I feel misunderstood or that people are unhappy with me. I usually obsess about it for quite a while.

evandad's avatar

I play WoW

tedibear's avatar

I used to eat whatever I found that seemed appealing at that moment. Didn’t matter what it was, as long as I liked it. Then I started working towards not doing that and just feeling my feelings instead of eating them. That was for times when I was hurt or upset about something.

For those in bed OCD times when I can’t let go of a situation that either has happened or could happen, I’ve learned to ask myself, “Can you do anything about it right now? Is there any action you can take at 2AM that will make things better? You need to sleep so you can deal with it rationally in the morning. So STOP!” Sometimes I have to say it twice, but so far it works.

Fred931's avatar

I get on Fluther.

Pandora's avatar

If its something before bed time, I drive the thoughts out of my head by saying the time I’m going to get up. I’ll repeat 5am in my mind a few times and that is usually enough to send me to sleep. I try to picture the number 5. I’ve done this so many times it works like a night switch and I just go off to sleep. Unless I’m pissed. Then that is harder because generally I don’t want to go to sleep. I like to steam on it for a few.

gailcalled's avatar

Remember what you were fretting over a year ago. Does the issue (or issues) seem trivial or silly now?

When I am watching my lists grow lists, I remind myself of last year’s pressing needs. Now, what were they?

Ponderer983's avatar

OOOOOOOOSSSSSSAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

gailcalled's avatar

^^What’s that mean?

Ponderer983's avatar

From Bad Boys 2 when they go the therapy and the therapist tells them when they need to calm down to say oooooossssaaaaa…Ah forget it

rangerr's avatar

@Ponderer983 Do you really think Gail has seen Bad Boys 2?

Ponderer983's avatar

Sorry I am new to the site…I know nothing about all of you :/

rangerr's avatar

@Ponderer983 Oh, crap. I didn’t even notice that. My bad.
WELCOME TO FLUTHER! And great reference, by the way. :D

gailcalled's avatar

You’re implying that there is a Bad Boys 1?

Jeremycw1's avatar

I go longboarding :)

jeanmay's avatar

This often happens to me in the middle of the night, and in most cases daylight is the only thing that will appease me. I have had some (limited) success with a visualisation technique, where I create a ‘safe place’ to go to in my mind. I chose a beach that I really love, and I try to imagine it in minute detail, bathed in sunlight. I try to imagine the physical sensations too: the warmth of the sun, the breeze, the smell of the sea. The combined effect of ‘seeing’ this comforting place again, and the act of imagining it in its every detail, can sometimes be enough to draw my mind away from all those other things.

If my mind is in a state of disquiet during the day, usually physically changing my surroundings helps a great deal; i.e. switching off the computer and going outside.

escapedone7's avatar

I put on very very soft music, such as soft classical or perhaps nature sounds or new age. Anything soothing and meditative without vocals helps calm my nerves. I light candles and incense, and dim the lights. I go on mental vacations visualizing visiting someplace peaceful in my imagination (a cabin in the woods, a beach, or some other place that is solitary and beautiful).

Sophief's avatar

If it is only mild, I will dance or masturbate. If it is serious I will cut myself.

wundayatta's avatar

@Sophief If it were someone else saying what you just said, what would you think about that person? What would you advise that person?

The worst thing for me is trying to sleep the night before I have to get up early for something. My mind will pick on something—maybe a task; maybe a person—and go round and round about it. After I while I get really sick of it, and I try to focus on my breath—counting breaths. I keep finding myself back at my obsession.

I have a feeling that no matter what mental technique I used, I’d find myself back at my obsession. The only thing that seems to work is distraction, and when I’m lying in bed at three in the morning, knowing I have to sleep, I can’t find a distraction. I think that a physical distraction would work, but, sadly, that isn’t available to me.

Sophief's avatar

@wundayatta I would be interested to know what makes them do it. I wouldn’t advise them anything because it isn’t asking for advice.

wundayatta's avatar

@Sophief What if they asked you for advice about how to soothe themselves in other ways besides cutting? What if they wanted to know what else could work? Really work? Not just sincere (but ignorant) suggestion work. If that makes any sense. What suggestions would you give to that person?

I’m not playing a game here. I often find that I can’t take my own advice. But I do have advice that would probably work if I took it. Somehow I put blinders on and it’s as if whatever I say exists in a completely different world that is not applicable to me.

Sophief's avatar

@wundayatta Then I probably wouldn’t answer, because the answer I gave is what I know and do. I don’t know any other way, that works, for me.
I know your not playing a game, your not like that.

wundayatta's avatar

@Sophief Would you please humor me and try. You’ve got a good imagination. Close your eyes and let it wander. See what you find.

Sophief's avatar

@wundayatta Ok, for you. Maybe, listen to music, cook a nice meal, ride my bike, clean, have a good cry, call my boyfriend.

Cupcake's avatar

I eat something that seems desirable at that moment, take a bubble bath, distract myself with mindless television, watch something educational, read something easy and short like a magazine article, or look through my “happy box”.

I recommend that everyone who feels the need have a happy box. For me, it’s a box with a conglomeration of mementos that make me feel happy. Items such as ticket stubs, drawings from my son, thank you cards, invitations, programs from enjoyable events, a little lotion bottle from our honeymoon hotel, poems, pictures…

Ponderer983's avatar

@gailcalled Yes there is a Bad Boys 1…or just Bad Boys lol

gailcalled's avatar

I sing a love song to Milo from time to time; “Whatcha gonna do, bad boy, bad boy?”

jeanmay's avatar

@Cupcake Loving the “happy box” idea!

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