It's easy to underestimate, in our busy lives, the power of feeling comforted. And yet it's hard to have the components of a fulfilling life - healthy relationships, meaningful work, good health - if you're constantly feeling on edge and full of tension.
Finding ways to comfort yourself is an incredibly useful skill to have. Experimenting with different activities is a helpful way to gain an understanding what it is that soothes you - and it will be different for everyone. You probably have a fair idea of what works for you - you need only think of what you tend to do to make yourself feel better when you're under a great deal of stress.
It could be:
- Seeking connection with friends or family
- Turning toward your partner
- Writing in your diary
- Reading an inspiring book
Many years ago, during a particularly difficult relationship breakup, I was hit by a wave of anxiety that had a significant impact on my ability to function on a daily basis. One of the things that really helped was taking some very practical steps on a physical level to soothe my poor frazzled nervous system. I came across this information on how to de-activate your sympathetic nervous system and activate your parasympathetic nervous system - the sympathetic nervous system is the parts of our brain and body that ramp up when we're feeling stressed and anxious. During this time, I found that, even when you can't change your external circumstances, soothing yourself physically can be immensely comforting in difficult times.
Sometimes its quite appropriate to seek comfort from others in your life, but in certain circumstances they may be unable to provide what you need, and this can lead to disappointment and resentment.
Building your own bank of internal resources allows you to soothe yourself when you're unable to access this comfort from other people or situations in your life, and provides you with a sense of safety and refuge that is unswayed by external circumstances.
What are the things that you lean on in difficult times; the things that provide a sense of comfort and safety? How can you build more of these into daily life?