~Adapted from DBT Manual for Adolescents (Rathus & Miller, 2015).
When you are upset, it is important to have ways of coping with stress. There are many ways to relieve stress and among them are what we sometimes call "self-soothing" skills or techniques. These are simple things that you can do whatever you need to calm to your mind and body.
Why Are Self-Soothing Skills Important?Coping strategies are diverse, just like the people who rely on them. When stress and anxiety hit, it's a good idea to have a few skills ready to help you find relief.
Self soothing strategies help you to cope with overwhelming negative emotions or intolerable situations. They help us stay grounded and calm. They take a lot of practice, but as you get the hang of using some of these techniques, you will see your relationship to the negative emotions and intolerable feelings change. Some of us may recognize these techniques as things that we already use. But many of us have never learned how to self-soothe, or how to do those often simple things that makes us feel better. These are mostly very physical techniques, that use different body senses. Some of us have never had the feeling that we could do things to make ourselves feel better, calmer, feel relaxation or pleasure. I urge you to experiment with these techniques until you find some that are comfortable and helpful for you. And when you find these, practice them. Use them when you are feeling distressed, when emotions feel overwhelming, when situations feel like you can't stand them any more.
Effective coping strategies may be those that involve one or more of the “six” senses — touch, taste, smell, sight, sound and movement.
Putting These Strategies to Work When engaging in these strategies, make sure to focus completely on the task at hand. That is, be mindful of your senses and what you are experiencing. Anytime you are distracted, simply bring your attention back to what you are doing. Try to recognize the difference between using a self-soothing technique for distraction and avoidance as well as when you are using these techniques to just pass the time by and not for actually solving the problem or lowering your distress.
Examples are: Visual: Cut out pictures from magazines/print images (water, beach, friends)
Smell: Essential Oils, Coffee Beans, Lotions
Touch: Pipe Cleaners, Feathers, Felt, Putty/Playdough
Hearing: Make a playlist of music, guided imagery/meditation apps
Taste: Hershey Kisses, Mints, Chewing Gym
Movement: Walk, run, Jumping Jacks
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
The Bridge Program: Burlington High School