How to Comfort Yourself Effectively (2023)

When no one is available in your time of need, you can find ways to soothe and comfort yourself.

Comforting others can take many forms: a hug, a word of comfort, a well-meaning gift.

However, when it comes to your personal needs, comforting yourself can feel like uncharted territory. You may not know how to do this, or you may even feel guilty about focusing on yourself.

But personal comfort is important for emotional well-being and can be easily implemented by developing some skills. Comforting yourself can help you deal with stressful situations and life challenges.

Practicing calming and comforting techniques can also help you manage stress levels and improve your emotional health.

Comfort implies that you are not distressed. Your needs have been met and you lack nothing vital.

When you need comfort, it's often when you feel something is missing. Becomesuncomfortablebecause a need is not satisfied, and thatmay resultinside:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression

When you recover something that was missing or replace it with something that is also important, you feel comforted.

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For example, you might feel sad and hopeless after losing your job. If a friend comes out with you, brings you your favorite food, and offers advice, you may feel comforted. It didn't replace lost work, but attention, care and love can help fill the void, even temporarily.

When it comes to comforting yourself, you might think of ways to replace or make up for what you're missing.

You can also engage in activities that distract you from your uncomfortable feeling. This may not resolve the situation, but it can restore your emotional and mental state so that you can come back with a sense of peace and tranquility.

If you live with a chronic condition such as depression orpost-betweenumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you might want to find a way to be proactive, so you can get quick comfort on the days you need it most.

Comfort often comes from those around you. Support people can help you fill in your comfort gaps.

If you arefeeling alone, they can provide company, for example. If you need a new winter jacket but can't afford the money, they can lend you one.

However, support networks are not always available. When you need comfort but can't find it in other people, you can try these methods to soothe yourself:

1. Consider letting fresh air in

The spaces around you can contribute to your sense of comfort or lack thereof.

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If you're going through difficult times or feeling anxious, for example, your environment can contribute to that feeling.

Many people around the world also experiencesick building syndrome, a feeling of discomfort related to building problems such as insufficient ventilation, intrusive lighting, and electromagnetic radiation.

You can comfort or avoid additional stress by improving lighting and air quality. You can let the breeze through an open window or take a walk in the park.

Being aware of how your environment affects you and finding ways to change it is a great technique for comforting yourself.

2. Try to create a comforting space

Making your home a comfort zone can help promote your sense of security and peace when you're having a bad day. It can also help you improve your overall sense of comfort if you face ongoing challenges.

You can maximize your home's comfort levels by:

  • disposal of combustion appliances
  • exchange old furniture for certified low-emission products
  • using an air purifier
  • adding nature resources inside like plants
  • choosing soft lighting tones and avoiding high-contrast areas
  • add sound deadening features to compensate for noise pollution
  • decorate with themes that bring you joy
  • maintain a sense of order and cleanliness

If youwork from home, you may want to designate a separate comfort space. This could be your bathroom, porch or even closet. The idea is to place your attention and intention in a space that makes you feel peaceful and comforted whenever you spend time there.

You can also identify places outside your home that can help you feel comforted. You can visit these places regularly to feed this feeling or visit them on the days when you need it most.

Some ideas might include:

  • museums and art galleries
  • a lake or the beach
  • parque local
  • reserva natural
  • bike lanes
  • Animal shelter
  • your front or backyard
  • a terrace or roof
  • community gardens

3. Try Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is the practice of giving yourself the same level of kindness that you would show someone you care about. Self-pity can start with not putting yourself down. is related toRespect yourself.

To test self-pity, founder of the concept.Kristin Neffrecommends asking yourself what you would do for a dear friend if they were going through what you are going through.

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If you offer kind words, for example, you offer those kind words to yourself.

You can also practice self-compassion through:

  • writing your feelings
  • do something you love that you can't do often
  • write a love letter to yourself
  • practicingsupport touch exercises
  • engage inrelaxation techniqueswhat calms you down
  • not labeling or judging your reactions and feelings

4. Consider the possibilities of mindfulness

When you need comfort, mindfulness practices can offer a way to refocus your thoughts on the here and now and gain perspective on your situation.

You maypraticar mindfulnesstaking moments throughout the day to engage in deep breathing and let go.negative thoughtspass without dwelling on them.

Usingpositive affirmationsIt can also give you a sense of comfort on those days when you feel unmotivated or hopeless.

5. Try a cathartic method

Catharsis refers to emotional release. It's when you let it all out.

Repressing your emotions can have anegative effectover time. But finding a constructive way to express yourself can also be a challenge. The idea is that you canrelease your painful emotionswithout having a negative impact on you or someone else.

Try to feel your feelings without censoring yourself. If you feel like crying, for example, try to allow yourself to do so.

Some other ways you can find healing emotional release include:

  • diary
  • listening and singing your favorite song
  • dancing to your favorite rhythms
  • drawing or painting whatever comes to mind
  • doing exercise

6. Consider taking a shower or bath

Showers and baths can be calming and relaxing, butsearch2011 suggests that the act of cleaning yourself can also provide mental comfort.

According to the study authors, physical cleansing can help you process potential feelings of guilt or doubt about a course of action.

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When you're having a bad day, you might feel like certain things bring you comfort or relief in the moment, but that's not always the case.

You might want to spend some time identifying behaviors that you later regretted. For example:

  • substance use and alcohol
  • excessive shopping
  • connect with unpleasant people
  • Devotion
  • self-mutilation

Being aware of these behaviors you tend to regret can help you avoid them and replace them with something that provides lasting comfort.

You may not know how to comfort yourself, or you may feel guilty about taking the time to do so. But self-comfort techniques can help you increase your sense of well-being.

Journaling, creating safe spaces, and finding a cathartic method can all be effective ways to comfort and calm yourself.

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If you find that personal comfort is a challenge for you, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can explore the root cause of your difficulty and help you develop coping skills.


What is self-soothing techniques? ›

MD. Self-soothing is a coping strategy that involves engaging in pleasant, comforting, and calming activities focused on the five senses to relieve stress. These allow one to move their mind away from unwanted thoughts, feelings, and impulses.

What are self-soothing behaviors? ›

Generally, self-soothing behaviors are repetitive behaviors which were learned during a period of time when the child was under-stimulated and needed to create his or her own way of occupying his/her time, or self-soothing was used to meet the child's emotional needs at the time.

How do you calm yourself when triggered? ›

How to Quickly Calm Down When You Get Triggered at Work
  1. Take deep breaths. When you're in fight-or-flight mode, your breathing becomes irregular, fast, short, and shallow. ...
  2. Distract yourself. ...
  3. Use your words. ...
  4. Be ready with a script. ...
  5. Don't forget to process your feelings.
May 18, 2022

How do I let all the sadness out? ›

How to express sadness
  1. Let it out: vocalize your feelings (cry, yell, scream, etc.)
  2. Get creative: draw, paint or sculpt.
  3. Let loose: listen to music that reflects your sadness and dance to it.
  4. Put it in writing: write about your feelings in a journal or keep a sadness diary.
Jun 19, 2018

How do you move sadness through your body? ›

How to release emotions from the body
  1. acknowledging your feelings.
  2. working through trauma.
  3. trying shadow work.
  4. making intentional movement.
  5. practicing stillness.
Sep 16, 2021

What helps calm anxiety? ›

There are a number of things you can try to help combat anxiety, including:
  • Behavioral therapy.
  • Deep breathing.
  • Exercise.
  • Journaling.
  • Meditation.
  • Reading.
  • Socializing, following pandemic guidelines of social distancing, masking and hand hygiene)
  • Speaking with your health care provider.
Feb 10, 2021

How do I ground myself for anxiety? ›

Once you find your breath, go through the following steps to help ground yourself:
  1. 5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. ...
  2. 4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. ...
  3. 3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. ...
  4. 2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. ...
  5. 1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste.
Apr 10, 2018

What are 5 things you do to calm yourself down? ›

Relaxing and calming exercises
  1. Take a break. Focus on your breathing. Listen to music.
  2. Spend some time in nature. Try active relaxation. Think of somewhere else.
  3. Try guided meditation. Get creative.

What are the 5 types of coping strategies? ›

There are many different conceptualizations of coping strategies, but the five general types of coping strategies are problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping, social support, religious coping, and meaning making.

What does self soothing look like in adults? ›

Self-soothing can be anything that helps you self-regulate and feel more grounded, from deep breathing to channeling that energy into exercise. Working with a therapist is another great way to learn more coping skills for stress, anxiety, or trauma.

How do I stop emotionally reacting? ›

Here are some pointers to get you started.
  1. Take a look at the impact of your emotions. Intense emotions aren't all bad. ...
  2. Aim for regulation, not repression. ...
  3. Identify what you're feeling. ...
  4. Accept your emotions — all of them. ...
  5. Keep a mood journal. ...
  6. Take a deep breath. ...
  7. Know when to express yourself. ...
  8. Give yourself some space.
Apr 28, 2020

How do you know if your trauma is triggered? ›

Changes in physical and emotional reactions
  1. Being easily startled or frightened.
  2. Always being on guard for danger.
  3. Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast.
  4. Trouble sleeping.
  5. Trouble concentrating.
  6. Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior.
  7. Overwhelming guilt or shame.

What are PTSD triggers? ›

Triggers can include sights, sounds, smells, or thoughts that remind you of the traumatic event in some way. Some PTSD triggers are obvious, such as seeing a news report of an assault. Others are less clear. For example, if you were attacked on a sunny day, seeing a bright blue sky might make you upset.

What can I do to be happy again? ›

14 Tips for Finding Happiness Again
  1. Consider therapy. ...
  2. Start or return to a hobby. ...
  3. Ditch (or time limit) your social media intake. ...
  4. Journal. ...
  5. Meditate. ...
  6. Spend time with happy people. ...
  7. Say goodbye to unhealthy people in your life. ...
  8. Do what you love.
Apr 26, 2022

How do I stop dwelling on my sadness? ›

  1. Is it worth it? If you find that your mind is fixated on a certain situation, ask yourself if the dwelling is actually worth your time. ...
  2. Set aside time to think. ...
  3. Imagine the worst case scenario. ...
  4. Identify your anxiety trigger. ...
  5. Focus on the positives. ...
  6. Talk to a friend. ...
  7. Distract yourself. ...
  8. Practise mindfulness.
Nov 19, 2019

How do you release built up sadness? ›

Write in a journal, listen to music, spend time with friends or family, and/or draw to express the emotion sadness. Think about the context of the sad feelings. Are they related to a loss or an unhappy event? Think about the feelings in a non-judging way and ride the wave of the experience.

Which organ is affected by sadness? ›

Sadness affects the Lungs,61 the Liver,62 and the Heart and may influence the functional relationship between these organs. Sadness and grief induces Heart and/or Liver Blood Deficiency and may also impact the functions of the Uterus.

Where is sadness held in the body? ›

Emotional information is stored through “packages” in our organs, tissues, skin, and muscles. These “packages” allow the emotional information to stay in our body parts until we can “release” it. Negative emotions in particular have a long-lasting effect on the body.

Where trauma is stored in the body? ›

Ever since people's responses to overwhelming experiences have been systematically explored, researchers have noted that a trauma is stored in somatic memory and expressed as changes in the biological stress response.

What makes anxiety worse? ›

A big event or a buildup of smaller stressful life situations may trigger excessive anxiety — for example, a death in the family, work stress or ongoing worry about finances. Personality. People with certain personality types are more prone to anxiety disorders than others are.

What are 5 coping skills for anxiety? ›

Here are 11 tips for coping with an anxiety disorder:
  • Keep physically active. ...
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. ...
  • Quit smoking, and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages. ...
  • Use stress management and relaxation techniques. ...
  • Make sleep a priority. ...
  • Eat healthy foods. ...
  • Learn about your disorder.
Jul 20, 2021

What is the 3 rule for anxiety? ›

Follow the 3-3-3 rule.

Look around you and name three things you see. Then, name three sounds you hear. Finally, move three parts of your body — your ankle, fingers, or arm.

How do I stay grounded when I feel overwhelmed? ›

Physical Grounding
  1. Dig your heels into the floor, literally grounding them. ...
  2. Grip your chair tightly. ...
  3. Focus on your breathing. ...
  4. Carry a grounding object in your pocket. ...
  5. Run water over your hands. ...
  6. Touch various objects around you. ...
  7. Notice your body. ...
  8. Walk with intention.
Aug 24, 2020

What is the 5 4 3 2 1 method for anxiety? ›

This technique asks you to find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Using this with someone who feels anxious will help to calm them down and reduce their feelings of anxiety.

Why do I have anxiety for no reason? ›

Anxiety can be caused by a variety of things: stress, genetics, brain chemistry, traumatic events, or environmental factors. Symptoms can be reduced with anti-anxiety medication. But even with medication, people may still experience some anxiety or even panic attacks.

Why do I feel anxious for no reason? ›

A little anxiety is fine, but long-term anxiety may cause more serious health problems, such as high blood pressure (hypertension). You may also be more likely to develop infections. If you're feeling anxious all the time, or it's affecting your day-to-day life, you may have an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder.

How do I stop negative overthinking? ›

Tips for addressing ruminating thoughts
  1. Distract yourself. When you realize you're starting to ruminate, finding a distraction can break your thought cycle. ...
  2. Plan to take action. ...
  3. Take action. ...
  4. Question your thoughts. ...
  5. Readjust your life's goals. ...
  6. Work on enhancing your self-esteem. ...
  7. Try meditation. ...
  8. Understand your triggers.

Why am I so easily overwhelmed? ›

Typical reasons for feeling overwhelmed with life

This could be an accident, a natural disaster, or witnessing a crime. Other common reasons for overwhelm are life changes that take time to process, such as going away to school, breakups or divorce, a new and challenging position at work, and bereavement.

How do I relax my mind from overthinking? ›

How to stop overthinking
  1. Take some deep breaths. Close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly. ...
  2. Find a distraction. Distractions help us forget what is troubling us. ...
  3. Look at the big picture. ...
  4. Acknowledge your successes. ...
  5. Embrace your fears. ...
  6. Start journaling. ...
  7. Live in the present moment. ...
  8. Ask for help.
Apr 21, 2022

What are the three A's of coping? ›

When your stress level exceeds your ability to cope, you need to restore the balance by reducing the stressors or increasing your ability to cope or both. Try using one of the four A's: avoid, alter, accept or adapt.

What are 10 coping skills? ›

Coping Skills
  • Deep Breathing. Often when faced with a stressful situation or feeling, our breathing changes. ...
  • Writing. Writing can be an effective means of working through stress. ...
  • Physical Activity. ...
  • Self-Talk. ...
  • Art. ...
  • Meditation. ...
  • Puzzles. ...
  • Music.
Oct 22, 2019

What are positive coping skills? ›

Take brief rest periods during the day to relax. Take vacations away from home and work. Engage in pleasurable or fun activities every day. Practice relaxation exercises such as yoga, prayer, meditation or progressive muscle relaxation.

How long does it take to learn to self-soothe? ›

Babies cry a lot because it is a method of communication for them. When baby first begins to stay asleep throughout the night, it is because they are learning to self-soothe. Babies typically learn to self-soothe around 6 months. Check out what else to expect from your baby.

Is crying it out self soothing? ›

While it can sound harsh, the idea behind crying it out, as it's called, is that a baby can learn to soothe themselves to sleep versus relying on a caregiver to soothe them. And self-soothing may lead to solid and more independent sleep skills over time.

Is crying part of self soothing? ›

Crying may be one of your best mechanisms to self-soothe. Researchers have found that crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS helps your body rest and digest. The benefits aren't immediate, however.

Why do I get so upset over little things? ›

It's common to feel irritable from time to time, but if you feel unusually irritable or irritable all the time or on edge, it is important that you talk to your doctor as it could be a symptom of a mental health condition, like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, or a physical condition.

How can I train my mind to be stronger than my emotions? ›

Here are five things you can start doing now to make yourself mentally stronger this year:
  1. Practice labeling your emotions. ...
  2. Establish healthy ways to deal with uncomfortable emotions. ...
  3. Identify and replace unhealthy thought patterns. ...
  4. Take positive action. ...
  5. Give up the bad habits that rob you of mental muscle.
Jan 9, 2018

What is it called when someone overreacts to everything? ›

Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) interferes with emotional stability. People with histrionic personality disorder are prone to emotional overreaction in a wide variety of situations, and from the viewpoint of others they may seem constantly on edge.

What does a traumatized person act like? ›

Initial reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, confusion, physical arousal, and blunted affect. Most responses are normal in that they affect most survivors and are socially acceptable, psychologically effective, and self-limited.

What does PTSD look like in a woman? ›

Feeling jittery, nervous or tense.

Women experiencing PTSD are more likely to exhibit the following symptoms: Become easily startled. Have more trouble feeling emotions, experience numbness. Avoid trauma reminders.

What does a traumatized person look like? ›

Trauma often manifests physically as well as emotionally. Some common physical signs of trauma include paleness, lethargy, fatigue, poor concentration and a racing heartbeat. The victim may have anxiety or panic attacks and be unable to cope in certain circumstances.

What foods should PTSD patients avoid? ›

Animal meats, hydrogenated oils, and many of the chemicals and preservatives in processed foods all have inflammatory qualities. Take these steps to improve your mind and body health: Eat probiotics, in fermented foods (sauerkraut, pickles) yogurt and kefir for gut health.

How can you tell if someone has PTSD? ›

Common symptoms of PTSD
  1. vivid flashbacks (feeling like the trauma is happening right now)
  2. intrusive thoughts or images.
  3. nightmares.
  4. intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma.
  5. physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling.

How do doctors test for PTSD? ›

For physical health problems, this could include labs (like bloodwork), tests (like an x-ray, scan or biopsy) or a physical exam. For PTSD, an assessment includes answering questions about your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. PTSD is most often diagnosed, or confirmed, by a mental health provider.

How do I give myself mental rest? ›

5 Ways to Give Yourself a Break
  1. Acknowledge the Hardship. Self-critical thoughts often take the form of frustration. ...
  2. Get Curious. During a stressful situation, you are probably not just experiencing an emotion, but also emotions about that emotion. ...
  3. Recite a Mantra. ...
  4. Get Help from Nature. ...
  5. Savor Simple Comforts.

What gives me the most comfort? ›

Listen to soothing music, read a book or magazine, work on a puzzle, or on your hobby. Doing something that distracts you from the day's stress and anxiety can be relaxing and bring comfort. Sit outside in the sun and enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet.

What are good mental breaks? ›

Meditation is a great way to spend a short mental health break. Follow a guided meditation, or simply take deep breaths and try to calm your mind. Either way, your brain will appreciate hitting the “pause” button for a few minutes.

How do you remove stress from your brain? ›

  1. Get active. Virtually any form of physical activity can act as a stress reliever. ...
  2. Meditate. ...
  3. Laugh more. ...
  4. Connect with others. ...
  5. Assert yourself. ...
  6. Try yoga. ...
  7. Get enough sleep. ...
  8. Keep a journal.

Why do I crave comfort so much? ›

The most common thread is that they remind us of how protected and secure we may have felt in childhood, he says. “Consuming these comfort foods is an unconscious attempt by us to actively moderate our mood and to alleviate negative feelings like those many of us are experiencing during this pandemic.”

What is the most comfortable thing? ›

A Nonobjective List of the Most Comfortable Things in Existence
  • Fresh Laundry. There's something utterly indescribable about the pleasure of burying oneself in a pile of laundry straight out of the dryer. ...
  • Fuzzy Socks. Fuzzy socks and slippers are just... ...
  • Hammocks. ...
  • Real Fur Pillows. ...
  • Hot Water Bottles. ...
  • Cashmere.
Nov 3, 2017

What does comfort feel like? ›

Comfort, as a noun, is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a state or situation in which one is relaxed and does not experi- ence any or much physical or emotional pain” (“Comfort,” n.d.). Words commonly associated with comfort include calm, cheer, console, relieve, and soothe.


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