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Natural Comforters

 

Techniques Managing Stress > Natural Comforters

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Invoke basic human systems of comforting yourself. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Hug someone: or maybe just hug yourself.
  • Do a familiar task: from cleaning to cooking.
  • Rock back and forth: maybe holding yourself too.
  • Have a bath: relax in the enveloping warmth.
  • Back into a corner: maybe crouching down.
  • Curl into a ball: in the foetal position.
  • Eat something: that you know you like.
  • Have a good cry: just letting it all out.
  • Take vigorous exercise: such as going for a run.

You may already do some of these naturally, which is just fine. Continue doing what works for you and try new things if you think this will help.

What you actually do will depend on two things. One is is the level of stress you are feeling and the consequent need for comfort. The other is the social situation and how embarrassed you would feel by using the comforting technique.

Discussion

There are a number of common actions that humans take to comfort themselves. These can be seen in children and when people are highly stressed. There is no reason why these methods should not be used to help reduce stress.

Repetition is a particularly interesting form of comforting and has has an effect even for lower levels of stress, perhaps due to the triggering of responses to familiarity.

At a more dysfunctional level, People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) often indulge in repetitive comforting actions, such as counting or cleaning.

When you are comforting others, permit and even encourage them to use natural comforters. When they cry, for example, say 'That's ok' rather than 'Don't cry'. If appropriate, give them a hug (another natural comforter).

See also

Performing rituals

 

Keren, H, Boyer, P, Mort, J, Eilam, D (2010) Pragmatic and Idiosyncratic Acts in Human Everyday Routines: The Counterpart of Compulsive Rituals, Behavioural Brain Research, 212, 90-95

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