Happy senior woman smiling while holding a cup of tea

From Sharp Health News, a publication of Sharp HealthCare

Sometimes, life demands you pull out your self-soothe toolbox. A self-soothe kit allows you to use your five senses to cope during times of emotional stress by distracting you from the negative and helping you focus on the present. Be creative and customize the items you include in your kit to reflect your personal needs and preferences. Consider your five senses: What brings each a soothing feeling of joy and peacefulness?


Find your “sight for sore eyes.” Perhaps it’s a postcard from your favorite vacation spot or photos of your pet or loved ones. Maybe it’s a list of online links that lead you to your favorite snapshots or funny cat videos. Whether these images bring a smile to your face, make you LOL or simply manage to distract your negative thoughts for a bit, they’ll likely get the feel-good chemicals flowing.


Create a playlist of your favorite songs that lift you up and boost your mood. Not in the mood for music? Listen to an audiobook or guided meditation, or add a note to your kit that lists your favorite places to go to hear the sounds of the surf or birds singing. Sometimes when you’re feeling down, you need little reminders of where to find the things that lift you up.


Your sense of smell is located between the memory and emotion regulation centers in your brain, which is why a scent can often bring back experiences both good and bad. Focus on the good by figuring out which essential oils, hand lotions, perfumes, dried flower-filled sachets, candles or even coffee beans fill you with feelings of love and warmth.


Touch has so much power — the ability to connect people, share love and demonstrate support when there are no words. Touch can also soothe. A smooth rock collected during a peaceful walk, Silly Putty, a fidget spinner, an ice pack, heat pad or a beloved small stuffed animal — include what brings you a sense of peace, or simply distracts you from negative thoughts and emotions.


Find flavors that shift your attention away from stress. For some, adding a piece of chocolate or bag of your favorite tea can do the trick. For others, a spicy mint can provide a sort of shock to the system to bring you into the present moment. Or consider adding a gift card or a few dollars to your box to use in case you need a special— favorite ice cream or fancy coffee drink — self-soothing treat.

The VEBA Resource Center offers Healing Through Natural Medicine Classes. Learn the power of foods, herbs, teas, essential oils, acupressure points, body-mind practices and home remedies for a variety of conditions to get your health back, have energy, and feel and look fabulous. Check out our calendar to sign up for an upcoming class.