Self-soothing may be the most important skill you can learn. It is important for babies to learn (see Teaching Babies To Self-Sooth) but it is no less important for you to learn to calm yourself and control your thoughts.
Self-soothing is the ability to calm yourself down, without the aid of anyone else. It is a do-it-yourself project. It is how you remain calm in the storm.
No one can force you to calm down. They can restrain you or knock you out but neither is calming. Restraint makes you angry and knocking you out with some drugs makes you groggy. If the goal is peace and calm, only you can achieve it.
Self-soothing is a skill. It is learned. We are not born or endowed with it. We must practice it…repeatedly.
Although only you can prevent forest fires (according to Smokey the Bear), and only you can calm yourself, you can nudge yourself or others toward calm. You have to do the work but others can point you toward emotional equilibrium. You’re the one who has to put it into action but I can help you with a plan.
Here Is The Plan
Here are the steps to follow in order to remain calm. There are 12 of them. Do all of them. Do all of them in this order. Do all of them in the same order every time.
Step 1: Beginning Signal
Step 2: Cleaning Breath
Step 3: Close Your Eyes
Step 4: Relax Everything
Step 5: Center Yourself
Step 6: Wait For The Healing Tone
Step 7: Self-Talk
Step 8: Sensory Scene
Step 9: Puppy Smile
Step 10: 3-2-1
Step 11: Open Your Eyes
Step 12: Ending Signal
Seeing the list isn’t as helpful as experiencing it. So here is a audio version of the 12 Self-Soothing Steps. Just listen and do.