Calm Yourself Down With Good Self-Soothing Techniques

Self-soothing techniques that help to calm yourself down

We often try very hard to find happiness, but sometimes we forget about the important parts of our lives and end up feeling unsatisfied.

This post will show you how to reduce anxiety, stress, unhappiness, and tiredness by using self-soothing techniques.

When you learn to be more mindful, you’ll realize that your thoughts come and go, and they don’t define who you are. Imagine your thoughts like soap bubbles; they pop up and disappear.

You’ll see that thoughts and feelings, even the negative ones, change over time. You can choose whether to act on them or not.

Awakening means observing your thoughts without being too critical.

When you have a bunch of stress and anxiety hovering over you, think of them as clouds in the sky, not personal, and watch them move by with a friendly interest.

Studies have also shown that people who meditate regularly are healthier.

Awakening helps change some thinking habits and behaviors that stop you from living your life fully.

Many negative and self-critical thoughts come from the way we usually think and behave.

By getting rid of these habits, those bundles of negative thoughts in your head will go away, and you’ll be more awake and aware.

Now, let’s look at some self-soothing techniques you can use to be more mindful and calm yourself down.

a pin that says in a large font self-soothing techniques

This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you click on a link and purchase something I recommend, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Let’s talk about the self-soothing techniques that I use

1. A minute’s meditation

Sit up straight in a chair that has a backrest. If possible, leave some space between your back and the backrest so that your back doesn’t rest on it.

Support your feet on the floor. Close your eyes and lower your head.

Focus your attention on breathing in and out. Feel how each breath and exhalation are accompanied by different feelings.

Watch your breathing, but don’t expect anything special. Don’t change your breathing rhythm.

Your thoughts may start to wander after a while. When you notice this, gently direct your thoughts back to breathing without irritating yourself.

The main goal is to realize when your thoughts start to wander and to focus on breathing again without criticizing yourself.

Eventually, your mind becomes as calm as pond water—or not. Even if you reach a state of complete peace, it can only be temporary.

If you experience anger or irritation, that feeling may pass. No matter what happens, don’t interfere.

After a minute, open your eyes and end your meditation.

a woman self-soothing

2. Meditation with chocolate

Yes, you can learn to be more mindful and calm yourself down with chocolate. It’s super easy. That’s why meditation with chocolate is among my favorite self-soothing techniques.

Choose a bar of chocolate that you haven’t tried before or that you haven’t eaten in a long time.

It can be dark and tasty, organic or made in developing countries, or even cheap and not very good.

What’s really important is choosing a type of chocolate that you don’t usually eat or rarely eat.

Let’s begin. Open the chocolate package. Inhale the aroma. Let the scents reach your nose.

Break one piece and look at it. Let your eyes enjoy their true appearance and examine every groove and bump.

Put this piece of chocolate in your mouth. Try to keep it on your tongue and let the piece melt, and notice if you tend to suck it.

Chocolate has over three hundred flavors. Try to taste some of them.

When you notice your thoughts wandering, simply observe where they go and then bring them back to the present moment.

When the chocolate is completely melted, swallow it very slowly and carefully. Let it drip down your throat.

Do it all again with the next piece. How do you feel? Do you feel special in any way? Did the chocolate taste better than eating it the usual way?

This is a meditation practice that I try to do once a week.

Btw, if you’re looking to level up your meditation game, I highly suggest you give this meditation cushion floor pillow a try. It’s honestly a lifesaver.

a woman

3. Meditation with raisins

Find five or ten minutes of time when you can be alone in a place where you’re not disturbed by the phone, family, or friends. Switch off your mobile phone so that it won’t bother you.

You’ll need a couple of raisins (or some other dried fruit or nuts). You’ll also need paper and a pen so that you can write down your impressions later.

Your task is to eat the selected fruit or nut carefully. It’s quite similar to the previous chocolate exercise.

1. Hold it in your hand

Take one raisin (or another chosen dried fruit or nut) and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your thumb and forefinger.

Focus on it and examine it as if you’ve never seen anything like it before. Do you feel the weight of the raisin in your hand? Does it cast a shadow on the palm of your hand?

2. Seeing

Look at the raisin slowly and really see it. Imagine you haven’t seen a raisin before. Watch it carefully and with full attention.

Let your eyes discover every detail of the raisin. Examine the lighter places where the light shines on the raisins and the dark hollows, wrinkles, and bumps.

3. Touch

Twist the raisin between your fingers and feel its texture. How does the raisin feel between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand?

4. Smelling

Now hold the raisin under your nose and try to monitor what you notice each time you inhale. Does the raisin smell?

Let the smell fill your consciousness. If there is no smell or the aroma is very faint, pay attention to this as well.

5. Placement

Slowly bring the raisin to your mouth, and watch how your hand knows exactly where to put the raisin.

Place it gently in your mouth, paying attention to the activity of the tongue that’s receiving the raisin.

Feel the sensations that occur when a raisin is on your tongue, but don’t chew it. Gradually examine the raisin with your tongue, doing so for thirty seconds or even longer.

6. Chewing

When you’re ready, consciously bite the raisin and notice the effect of the bite on the raisin and your mouth.

Notice all the flavors that the raisin releases. Feel the texture of the raisin when you press your teeth into it.

Continue to chew the raisin slowly, but don’t swallow it yet. Pay attention to what’s going on in your mouth.

7. Swallowing

Try to recognize the moment when the intention to swallow first arises in your mind and experience it with full awareness before swallowing.

Notice what the tongue does when you’re preparing to swallow the raisin. Try to monitor the feeling of swallowing the raisin.

If you can, consciously feel the raisin move in your stomach. And if you didn’t swallow it all at once, consciously notice the second or third swallow until all the pieces are swallowed.

Notice what the tongue does after swallowing.

8. Consequences

Finally, identify the after-effects of eating for a few moments. Does the aftertaste remain in the mouth? How does the absence of raisins in your mouth make you feel?

Do you have an automatic tendency to reach for a new one? Now take a moment and write down any observations made during the exercise.

a woman

4. Body and respiratory alertness

Take a comfortable position, such as lying on a mat or thick rug or sitting on a chair or pillow.

If you want to sit in a chair, choose one with a strong and straight back (not an armchair) so that your back does not rest on the backrest but is straight.

When sitting on the floor on a pillow, it’s good if your knees touch the floor, although it can be difficult at first.

If you’re uncomfortable sitting in this position or lying on your back, find another comfortable position that allows you to be fully awake at all times.

When sitting, keep your back straight and confident—not stiff or tense, but comfortable. When sitting in a chair, rest your feet firmly on the floor.

Don’t cross your legs. Close your eyes if it seems more convenient. If not, look at something that’s up to a meter away from you without really focusing on anything.

When you’re lying on your back, keep your legs straight, feet apart, and hands slightly away from your body, palms facing towards the ceiling (unless this position causes discomfort).

To direct your consciousness to your body’s feelings, focus on the tactile sensations where your body touches the floor and/or the seat. Focus on these sensations for a few moments.

Now focus on your legs, starting with the toes and expanding your attention to the soles, heels, and feet until you feel (at all times) all the physical sensations that you are aware of on your feet.

Watch your feet for a few moments, noticing how feelings first emerge in your consciousness and then dissipate. If there are no feelings in a certain part of the body, then try to notice this “no-feeling.”

This is completely natural—you’re not trying to evoke sensations, but you are noticing those that already exist.

Now expand your attention and try to focus on both legs for a moment, then the body (moving from the pelvis and hips to the shoulders), then the left and then the right hand, and finally the neck and head.

Relax for a few minutes, fully aware of your body. Try to let your body and emotions stay exactly as they are. Find out how it feels to let go of the habit of wanting things to be a certain way.

Even a single moment during which you see everything as it is without wanting to change anything can be deeply refreshing.

Now direct your consciousness to your breathing and to the air moving in and out of your body.

Notice how feelings change regularly in this area of the body as air enters and leaves your body. To feel it better, place your hands on your stomach for a few breaths and feel it rise and fall.

You may experience a slight feeling of stretching and different sensations as you breathe out with each breath.

Watch your breathing as closely as possible to notice the sensations in your body during each breath and exhalation, even small breaks between breathing in and out and breathing in and out again.

Don’t try to control your breathing in any way. Let the air move by itself.

Sooner or later (usually sooner), you’ll be distracted from focusing on breathing. Thoughts, images, plans, or dreams may appear in your head.

Such a deviation of thought is not wrong. Your mind just behaves like this.

Just be aware of where your thoughts are headed. Then gently draw attention back to the feelings in your stomach.

Your thoughts will wander many more times, so keep in mind that the goal is to notice where your thoughts are and gently direct them back to breathing.

It can be tricky and frustrating when the mind seems so disobedient, and that’s okay. Continue the exercise for another eight minutes or longer if desired.

Make sure to remind yourself from time to time that the purpose of the activity is only to be more mindful of what you’re experiencing at any given moment.

You might also like:

a woman

5. A gratitude exercise with ten fingers

If you’re looking for ways to calm yourself down, then this gratitude exercise is among some great self-soothing techniques that help you appreciate the present.

Do this gratitude exercise to learn to appreciate the little things in life. This exercise entails reminding yourself of ten things to be grateful for once a day and counting them on your fingers.

It’s very important to get ten things together, even if it becomes more and more difficult to find new ideas after the third or fourth one.

This is the idea behind the exercise: to become aware of the smallest and often unnoticed parts of the day.

a woman

6. Sounds and thoughts

This self-soothing technique also helps you calm yourself down, be more mindful, and focus on your breathing.

Find a sitting position where your back is upright without support, straight but not stiff. Sit as described, shoulders relaxed, head and neck in balance, and chin slightly below.

Pay attention to the air moving in your body for a few minutes while breathing until you feel calm enough.

Then extend your attention to the whole body, as if the whole body is breathing, so that you are aware of all the feelings within the body.

Take a few minutes to breathe and be alert.

Remember that during the next steps of meditation, you can always return to breathing and your body to control your mind when your thoughts are diverted or carried away by something.

When you are ready, let the focus shift from your emotions to hearing; open yourself to emerging sounds.

Don’t start searching for sounds or trying to capture any specific voices. Instead, be as open as possible to them so that you can receive sounds from all directions in your consciousness, whether they come from the far, front, back, side, top, or bottom.

This way, you become open to the sound space around you—the soundscape. Notice how obvious sounds can muffle less noticeable ones.

Note the pauses between sounds and the moments of almost complete silence.

Gently create awareness that sounds are just sounds, pure sensations. Note the habit of trying to label sounds while listening to them (car, train, voice, air conditioning, radio).

It’s really common for all of us. Just try to notice the labels and then refocus on the pure sound sensations that hide beneath these labels.

You may notice that you are thinking of sounds. In this case, try to reconnect with these directly audible attributes (repetitive pitch, timbre, volume, and duration), not with the meaning of the sounds, the conclusions, or the stories behind them.

Every time you notice that your consciousness is not focused on the sounds, gently realize where your thoughts are headed and then bring your attention back to the sounds that appear and disappear at every moment.

If you have been concentrating on the sounds for 4-5 minutes, release your consciousness from the sounds.

Now refocus your consciousness so that thoughts are at the center of it, and see them tenderly only as states of mind.

Just like you noticed the formation of sounds, their duration, and the fading of those sounds, watch your thoughts arise and soar into the vastness of the mind (like clouds moving across the sky).

Finally, try to capture the moment when thoughts start to fade.

There is no need to evoke or divert thoughts from yourself. Just as you watched the formation and fading of sounds, let your thoughts come and go.

Just as the clouds moving across the sky are sometimes dark and stormy and sometimes they are white cotton swabs, thoughts can also take different forms.

Sometimes, the clouds cover the whole sky. Other times, the layout is completely clear and cloudless.

You can pay attention to thoughts as if they were projected in a movie theater. You can sit and wait for an idea or figment of your imagination to appear before your eyes.

If something appears, pay attention to it as long as it is in front of you on the screen, and release it when the image changes.

If a thought brings strong feelings or emotions, whether you like them or not, try to notice their emotional charge and intensity as well as possible, and then let them be on their own.

Whenever you are distracted or your thoughts are drawn to an imaginary story of the mind, return to breathing and perceiving the body as a breathing whole, and use that focus to confirm and stabilize the presence of consciousness.

a woman self-soothing

7. Investigation of difficulties

Sit quietly for a few minutes and focus on your breathing. Then, expand your attention to your entire body. Afterward, focus on the sounds around you and any thoughts in your mind.

If you notice that painful thoughts or feelings distract you while you’re sitting, try something new that we haven’t practiced before.

Start by allowing that thought or feeling to be in your mind without trying to change it.

Continue to pay attention to your body and notice how that thought or feeling makes you feel. Focus on the part of your body where you feel it the most.

You can use your breath to help. Imagine you are gently breathing in and out of that area, as if you are breathing in and out of the air in your lungs.

If you need some help with your breathing techniques, you can try this Breathing Buddha. It has helped me a lot.

As your attention focuses on the sensations in your body, remember that you’re not trying to make the sensations go away but to explore them with a friendly curiosity as they come and go.

You might find it helpful to say to yourself, “It’s okay to feel this way. I’m open to whatever it is.”

Observe how you feel about these sensations in your body. Are you trying to get rid of them, or can you fully pay attention to them, breathe with them, accept them, and let them be?

Reaffirm to yourself, “It’s okay. I can be open to whatever it is.” With every breath, try to soften the feeling and become more open to it.

If you don’t have any difficulties or worries during this meditation and you want to explore it further, think about something in your life that’s bothering you.

It doesn’t have to be a major issue, just something unpleasant or unsolved.

Allow that troubling thought to rest in your mind, and then focus on the feelings it generates in your body.

Pay close attention to those bodily feelings. Get very close to them. Focus on the part of your body where you feel those emotions most strongly.

Breathe in and out of that area, acknowledging various feelings and watching their intensity change. Keep reminding yourself, “It’s here now. It’s okay to feel this way.”

Observe these feelings in your body and your attitude toward them, breathe with them, accept them, and let them be exactly as they are.

Soften your feelings and open yourself to them, letting go of tension and resistance. As you exhale, say to yourself, “Soften, open up.”

If you notice that these feelings in your body no longer demand your full attention, return to focusing on your breathing, making it the main point of concentration, and continue your meditation.

If you don’t have strong feelings for the next few minutes, breathe in and out of any feelings you notice in your body, even if they aren’t strongly charged with emotion.

a woman self-soothing

8. Befriending

To use one of my favorite self-soothing techniques and find calm, follow these steps in a warm, comfortable place where you can have some quiet time:

Find a comfortable and dignified position. If you’re sitting, keep your back straight, your shoulders relaxed, and your head balanced.

Start by focusing on your breath, and then gradually expand your awareness throughout your body until you feel calm.

When your thoughts start to drift, become aware of where they’ve gone.

Now, you have a choice: gently guide your thoughts back to your chosen focus or let your awareness descend into your body to explore where any anxious or troubled thoughts originate.

You can use the meditations you’ve practiced before to prepare for this exercise. When you’re ready, let these phrases come to mind.

Feel free to change the words to make them your own message of self-friendship:

  1. “I wish to be free from suffering.”
  2. “I desire as much happiness and health as possible for myself.”
  3. “I seek peace of mind.”

Take your time; imagine each sentence is like a rock dropping into a deep well.

Let each phrase enter your thoughts one by one and observe your reactions: thoughts, feelings in your body, and any urges to act.

Don’t judge what happens; it’s all for your benefit.

If finding a sense of self-friendship is difficult, think of someone who has loved you completely in the past or who still loves you today, even a beloved pet.

Now that you’ve thought of someone you love, wish them the same:

  1. “I wish them relief from suffering.”
  2. “I wish them as much happiness and health as possible.”
  3. “I wish them peace of mind.”

Examine your thoughts and feelings as you hold this person in your mind and heart and wish them well.

Give your body and mind time to respond. Take your time, breathe, and pause between sentences.

Now, consider a stranger. It could be someone you see regularly but don’t know personally, like a person on the street, on the bus, or on the train.

Realize that their lives are filled with hopes and fears, just like yours. They, too, want to be happy.

Keep them in your thoughts and heart and repeat these phrases, wishing them well:

  1. “I wish them relief from suffering.”
  2. “I wish them as much happiness and health as possible.”
  3. “I wish them peace of mind.”

If you want to go further with this meditation, think of someone you’ve had a hard time getting along with, either in the past or present.

It doesn’t have to be the person who has caused the most difficulties in your life; choose someone and deliberately bring them into your thoughts and heart.

Recognize that they, too, want (or have wanted) to be happy and live a life without suffering.

Repeat the same phrases:

  1. “I wish them relief from suffering.”
  2. “I wish them as much happiness and health as possible.”
  3. “I wish them peace of mind.”

Pause and notice the feelings in your body. Try to explore these feelings without censoring or criticizing yourself.

Remember that if at any point you feel overwhelmed by emotions or carried away by intense thoughts, return to your breath to recenter yourself in the present and be gentle with yourself.

Finally, extend love and care to all living beings, including those you love, strangers, and those who have caused frustration or difficulty.

The purpose of this meditation is to spread love and friendship to all living beings on our planet and to remind yourself that you are one of them.

  1. “I wish all living beings liberation from suffering.”
  2. “I wish all living beings as much happiness and health as possible.”
  3. “I wish everyone peace of mind.”

No matter what you experience during this practice, acknowledge your bravery in taking the time to be kind to yourself.

DON’T FORGET TO PIN!

a pin that says in a large font self-soothing techniques
a pin that says in a large font self-soothing techniques

What are your favorite self-soothing techniques?

Leave a Comment