Image: graur razvan ionut /

I’m allllll about positivity. I’m also about keeping it real so I’m going to let you all in all a little secret – it’s not always rose petals and sunshine over here! *laugh* Life is life and we all have our moments when frustration, anxiety, anger and other completely natural emotions rear their heads. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with experiencing or expressing our emotions – we’d be less than human if we didn’t – but wallowing in negative emotions doesn’t do us or the people around us any good. We also cannot expect the people around us, be they our friends or partners, to “make us feel better.” While having a good laugh with the girls, or getting a warm hug from a partner is wonderful and powerful, each of us ultimately has to take responsibility for our own happiness and to learn the art of self-soothing.

So how do we do it? Here are 3 steps we can take:

First, step away from the “source” of your emotion. I put “source” in quotes because in actuality, all of our emotions come from within so the source is you! But if a particular person or event triggered the feeling and it’s possible to get away from it for a while, do.

Next, take a moment and acknowledge your feelings. Admit to yourself that you are feeling angry, sad or frustrated and don’t try to deny the feeling. Acknowledging how you feel is the first step toward moving through the feeling.

Third, engage in one of your self-soothing activities. This can be the trickiest part because it involves some prior planning. While you’re feeling at your best, start to develop a repertoire of activities that make you feel good; then, do one or more of those activities when you’re not feeling so great. I, for example, enjoy baths, music, prayer, a nice cup of coffee… lots of things! I can choose from these activities and employ one (or more!) depending on the situation to first, relax my mind and then move through my feelings.

The other day, for example, I went way out of my way to go to a particular store to get something I really needed, only to discover that the store was closed. This threw a big wrench into my plans and threw my schedule for the entire day off track. I was quite frustrated! I knew I needed to put my self-soothing plan into action. First, I walked away from the store, lest I try to pry the iron gate up with my fingernails *laugh* Next, I allowed myself to moan, groan and express my frustration. Then – since taking a bath was not an immediate option – I found the nearest coffee shop, went in, ordered a drink, sat down, sipped, prayed, relaxed and regrouped. By the time I left I was feeling much better and realizing that the problem, like many of the things we allow ourselves to get so worked up about, really wasn’t that serious.

What relaxes you and makes you feel good when you’re experiencing downbeat emotions? What techniques will you use the next time you’re feeling frustrated, angry or sad?

Admittedly, all of this is much easier said than done, like most things in life!  And, like most things in life, it takes practice! The practice is well worth it, though, because learning how to soothe oneself in constructive ways (drugs and alcohols, for instance, are unconstructive ways that many people unfortunately choose to soothe) is one of the most important and rewarding skills a person can acquire in life and will always serve well! 

I pray that each of us is able to develop our self-soothing abilities further and further as we progress. May we all walk well on the path towards balance, calm and wholeness. Ase!