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When you are upset or feeling stressed it is important to have ways to cope and help you relax. Seeking out support from friends and family can be helpful but it is also important to have strategies that you can use when you are alone.

Listed below are self-soothing strategies attached to the different sensory systems of the body. We all have different preferences as to what we find soothing and calming, particularly within the different sensory components.

For example: some people like to be hugged or wrap themselves tight in a blanket, while others prefer not to be touched and being restricted upsets them further; some people will like calm soothing music, while others may find a loud music with a heavy beat calms them down and helps them de-stress; and some people may want to lie somewhere quiet and practice relaxation, while for others going for a run or exercising is better for their stress relief.

It is important to try different things and see what works best for you.

Touch

  • Soaking in a warm bath
  • Getting a massage
  • Relaxing in the warmth of the sun
  • Stretching
  • Going for a swim
  • Changing into comfortable clothes
  • Playing with an animal, patting, cuddling

Taste

  • Eating a comforting meal
  • Sipping herbal tea
  • Eating healthy food
  • Sucking on hard candy, strong mints

Smell

  • Shopping for or smelling flowers
  • Smelling scents such as lavender or vanilla
  • Wear favourite perfume
  • Light scented candles
  • Lighting a scented candle
  • Deeply breathing in fresh air

Sight

  • Watching a funny movie or TV show
  • Reading a book
  • Looking at pictures of family and friends, favourite moments
  • Watching clouds

Sound

  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Singing to yourself
  • Saying positive statements to yourself, encouraging yourself outloud
  • Playing a musical instrument

Movement

  • Go for a walk, exercise
  • Think about the way your body feels when you move
  • Sit on a rocking chair or gym ball
  • Participate in repetative activies, folding clothes, swimming, walking

Activity Level

  • Cook
  • Spend time in natural environments, eg: parks
  • Try meditation, relaxation strategies
  • Find quiet spaces for time alone

 

Strategies developed from: C Brown & W Dunn (2002) Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile User Manual, Pearson: United States of America 

 

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