How to Self-Soothe: 6 Strategies When You’re Feeling Irritable

Sep 11, 2019


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Everyone has bad days. When your patience wears thin, sometimes it’s the little things that help you keep it all together. Letting life’s setbacks affect us to the point of boiling over can have long-lasting consequences. For those days when you feel like it’s all too much, you need to learn how to self-soothe.

Regaining composure can liberate you from a challenge that’s occupied too much of your attention. Most of us need a little guidance on how best to begin that process. Here are six suggestions to break the tension.

1. Take Deep Breaths

Simple solutions are often the best. The connection between the physical and mental is more powerful than you might think. Breathing techniques are used in a variety of different medical and holistic disciplines to reduce anxiety and relieve stress.

For you, it might be something as simple as taking five big cleansing breaths. You might want to experiment with more involved practices if this strategy isn’t sufficient.

2. Use Soothing Scents

Because scent is the strongest sense connected to memory, smells you associate with a relaxing state of mind can help restore your inner calm. You could light some incense, use some essential oils, make a pot of tea or use an oil-based diffuser.

This is a great complementary practice you can do at the same time as practicing mindfulness, getting organized or using a mantra.

3. Meditate

Meditation is often misunderstood, but it’s actually quite straightforward. It’s meant to help you clear your mind. That makes it an excellent method of self-soothing. The larger conversation around the use of meditation and experiencing life clear-headed and in the present is called mindfulness.

You can receive the substantial benefits of mindfulness with only a little work. It’s something everyone should try and a great way to restore some peace during a hectic day. If you need an introduction, there are plenty of apps to walk you through the basics.

4. Do Some Organizing

When your physical space is cluttered, it can make your headspace feel the same way. Sometimes, removing yourself from overwhelming circumstances and just doing some busywork to feel organized can be a helpful way to reset your head.

It’s no wonder why so many people make a habit of keeping a clean house. If you’re struggling and there’s nothing to clean up, you can tackle a larger project like an overflowing closet.

5. Get Some Exercise

Exercise can put you in a different state of mind when things are overwhelming. Your brain releases chemicals during a strenuous or even a moderate workout. If you’re struggling with how to self-soothe, start here.

The neurotransmitters that help us feel safe and relaxed can get low in periods of high stress, and going out for a jog, lifting some weights or doing yoga could be the answer to bringing things back to center.

6. Talk About It

When life is challenging, you might feel like no one understands or cares to know what you’re going through. In reality, that’s never the case. As long as you have friends and family around, you have someone to talk with.

Share your experiences. Even if there’s no immediate action your friends and family can take, you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel just vocalizing the struggles you’re facing. You might get the advice you’ve been needing.

Take a Load Off

It’s important to take a break and breathe when life becomes a little daunting. Learning how to self-soothe is only the first step – use one or all of the strategies above the next time the walls start closing in. You’ll see it’s easy to collect yourself and calm down. 

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.