Self-soothing is a common practice that describes a way to comfort yourself during times of distress. It often focuses on one or more of your five senses – touch, taste, sight, smell, and/or sound. It has, over time, been more commonly associated with something women do, as a lot of the suggestions of self-soothing rituals seem feminine in nature. But, fear not, Men! Self-soothing is not a female only practice! You, too, can engage in self-soothing rituals and still be the manly man that you are.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What comforts you? Is it food? Pictures? TV?
- What do you do to make yourself feel calm?
- What do you do to pamper yourself?
The answers to these questions can be some of the things you add to your self-soothing arsenal. Self-soothing is a great way to help you deal with stress, sadness, discomfort, anger – you name it, it helps! Don’t want to call it “self-soothing?” Call it a coping skill! You could even call it a “comfort ritual.” Whatever you call it, have a list of things ready to help you in your time of need.
Your list can include any and everything! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Get a mani/pedi. This is not just for girls. And, let me tell you, your partner probably doesn’t enjoy ragged fingernails or rough, callused feet!
- Go get a professional shave or haircut.
- Take a bubble bath. Why do you think doctors recommend bathing babies before bed? The warm water and sense of the suds is extremely calming!!
- Get a massage. Some institutions charge as little as $50/hour!
- Hug someone. This could be anyone: your Nana, dog/cat, or neighbor (just get permission first).
- Buy a bouquet of flowers and just look at them while appreciating their intricacies.
- Watch a candle burn.
- Go on a nature walk and look at all nature has to offer.
- Wait until dark and go outside to appreciate the stars.
- Or, during the day, watch the clouds move across the sky, disappear, and reappear as if by magic.
- Bake some chocolate cookies. Nestle has done all the work for you – buy a package of ready-to-bake cookies. Break them apart, bake for 15 minutes at 350, smell, and enjoy.
- Spray a fragrance that you appreciate in the air.
- Invest in a lavender plant and inhale the heavenly scent. Lavender is known to have calming properties. Research has even shown that it lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Clean your furniture with lemon oil. Lemon oil improves concentration and is good for helping you make decisions.
- Boil cinnamon and inhale! Cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory. It also helps for eliminating headaches and migraine relief.
- Remember those cookies you baked just so you could smell them? Now, eat them. Be mindful – pay attention to differences in texture, taste, and how they feel in your mouth.
- Eat your favorite meal. Instead of eating it mindlessly, again, pay attention to texture, how the different foods feel, and the taste of everything. Can you actually taste the lettuce and tomato in your burger? If not, really concentrate on tasting them!
- Chew your favorite gum.
- Put whipped cream on your favorite food (ice cream, coffee, cake) and really notice how light and fluffy (and delicious!) it is.
- Suck on a piece of hard candy.
- Listen to some soothing music. Like classical? Find a classical music station on Pandora or iTunes.
- Hum your favorite melody.
- Listen to a babbling brook. If there isn’t one near you, Google could assist you in finding the right sound.
- Call your mom (or dad, or grandma, or significant other) just to hear a soothing voice.
- Learn to play an instrument and really pay attention to the difference in the notes.
This is just a short list to get you started. Find what works for you and keep it in your arsenal of self-soothing activities. Nothing is off limits. The goal is to deal with distress in a healthy manner. Whatever you come up with that works for you is excellent! There is no specifically masculine or feminine self-soothing activity. It’s all good!
At OPI Intensive for young adults with Borderline Personality Disorder and BPD traits, we intensively integrate DBT as part of your treatment plan. We offer compassionate, clinically sophisticated intensive residential help, including genetic testing to determine the best course for medications, if needed. Rather than a sterile, hospital-like environment, we offer beautiful accommodations in luxury apartments just outside of Los Angeles. At OPI Intensive, we treat the individual, not the diagnosis. Our clinical team is made up of a diverse community of passionate, highly skilled individuals working together with you to help you find your joy and express it. For more information on OPI Intensive residential programs and our measures to help young adults with Borderline Personality Disorder, call us at 866-661-3982 or click HERE to submit an online form. We’ll be in touch promptly.