Last week I talked about getting back to basics of self-care. I mentioned that I would post a series of helpful techniques you could try to use. So to kick off a series of posts about swapping bad habits for some good (self-soothing techniques) here are a few based on vision. You could try picking out one that you could try this week until you find a few you can use in an emergency situation to remain calm, distressed or re-centre yourself. Or at least add to your self-care basics on regular basis. Remember scheduling time for you is not selfish it’s a healthy practice for good mental, spiritual and physical health.
Building up an arsenal of good habits that help calm or de-stress you are brilliant to have. We use the term self-soothing as this reflects what the technique does for the body and mind when we are stressed or anxious. As children, we picked up self-soothing techniques that may have worked in stressful or anxiety-filled situations to help calm and soothe ourselves as a child but are no longer appropriate as adults, such as when we got frightened of the dark or witnessed something that distressed us. Sometimes we developed techniques that we carry on today or have built up others such as smoking, eating or drinking in excess. These are habits and all habits can be exchanged for some new and more appropriate ones. We can see an example of this in people who take up an activity such as knitting to keep their hands occupied while they try to quit smoking. Yes, the knitting is now the new habit, it gives them something to distract them and offers something for their hands to do instead of holding a cigarette.
The use of our senses helps in two ways, it distracts us from what is going on in our minds and body by concentrating on the sense and two, if we are trying to change a bad habit for a good one it gives us something to do other than what we have gotten used to doing. These techniques can be of better use if we do some meditation, as this allows us to start recognising what it is that we need to address and is causing our stress in the first place. Meditation allows us to think before we act and it is in that way we can begin to see if there is any pattern to our thoughts and behaviours that are causing our stress and anxiety.
New Habits Using Our Sense Of Vision
- Buy one beautiful flower or plant and place it where you can see it.
- Make one space in your home pretty and just for you.
- Light a candle.
- Set a pretty place at the table for dinner/lunch/breakfast.
- Use your best things.
- Go to a museum and view the art.
- Sit in the lobby of a beautiful hotel.
- Look at nature around you.
- Look at the stars.
- Walk through a park or pretty area in town.
- Fix your nails.
- Look at beautiful pictures in a book or on the internet.
- Be mindful of each sight that passes you, but don’t linger on any.
- If you collect things to put some or all on display.
- Watch the sea waves roll in or walk along a river bank.
- Watch your children/grandchildren playing.
- Paint a picture or sketch.
- Do a hobby you enjoy or take one up, that employes your sense of vision.
- Watch a sport you enjoy – either in person or on TV.
- Be a tourist in your hometown.
- Watch a movie/TV show or play.
Self-care the basics is a great place to start before you work on self-soothing.