Self-Soothing or destructive behaviors?

From the time we are infants we all learn ways to soothe ourselves when we are struggling. There are some infants who struggle to soothe and often cry and struggle with regulating their emotions. If an infant is frightened or anxious it will be very difficult for him to calm down and feel safe. These self- soothing behaviors are important for each of us to develop. However, as we grow up we often mistake destructive behaviors for self-soothing ones.

As adults we continue to adapt to our environment and find ways to continue to sooth ourselves from most situations. Each of our five senses plays a role in how we soothe. Soothing is simply defined as a behavior that is used to either calm one down, cause contentment, or to help one feel confident. It can even be used to help with concentration.  Have you ever noticed that when you are on the phone you may stand up and start pacing. Or you may start doodling on a piece of paper. Others may start to jiggle their leg as they are sitting, some may even drum their fingers along the table or chew on a pen cap. These behaviors are ways that you help calm to deal with any situation.

A behavior that  once helped us through a difficult time now has become an unhealthy addiction. For example feeling poorly about yourself but stimulating your “feel good




James Miller is a licensed psychotherapist and a piano composer who is known for his weekly podcast, YouTube channel, and his Academy where he teaches successful people to simplify and transform their lives. James’ latest album, Restoration, is available for purchase on all digital music stores.