Self-soothing skills are a great way for children (or anyone for that matter) to relieve stress, calm nerves, diffuse anger, and to basically manage their difficult emotions. Below is a list of self-calming behaviors that can be used when the situation dictates:
1. EXERCISE! Whether it’s jumping jacks, sit-ups, or running in place…exercise is one of the greatest ways to relieve stress and to release some of that pent up “negative energy.” Not only is exercise good for you emotionally, but also physically!
2. Take a bubble bath. A nice warm bath is not only relaxing, but it is a great way to calm one’s self down when life gets a bit chaotic. Add a couple of candles and some soft music and you just might not want to get out.
3. Listen to music. Music is very cathartic. It can set the mood, change the mood, or intensify the mood. Sometimes a good “angry” song is the best way to “get it all out of your system!” For others, relaxing music might do the trick.
4. Go for a jog/run. Just like exercising, running is a great way to release pent up negativity and to “clear the mind.” If running is a bit too much, then try jogging. If jogging is too much work then go ahead and walk…either way, get out of the house and get moving!
5. Do “brain exercises.” By this, I mean try doing a jig-saw puzzle, a crossword puzzle, a number puzzle, or any other such activity. Exercise your brain to help you stop perseverating on negative thoughts.
6. Write poetry or song lyrics. What’s more cathartic than “putting it all out there in writing?” Writing your feelings down in this manner is a great way to get those negative thoughts out of your head.
7. Write in a journal. Much like poetry and writing song lyrics, journaling is a great way to deal with negative thoughts and feelings.
8. Pet your cat or dog. Studies have shown that this behavior is very calming and therapeutic. I’m sure the cat/dog would enjoy it as well!
9. Be productive. Use some of that negative energy to get things done around the house. Do some cleaning or organizing. Not only will you feel better afterwards, but you will have a clean and/or organized house (or room).
10. Read. Nothing takes one’s mind off of negative thoughts or feelings better than a good book. Curl up with a blanket then open one up and start reading…you’ll feel better in no time.
11. Pray. Not everyone is religious…but for those that are, praying can be very comforting.