A Collection of Self-Soothing Activities

When you are experiencing painful feelings that are particularly hard for you to cope with, here is a list of ways you might soothe yourself. Look through the list to see if any of these ideas are helpful to you. You can also check out the relaxation video from the Mayo Clinic.

Phone a friend or relative - or stop by for a visit



Take a bath or shower

Help someone else

Have a good cry

Go shopping for something you need

Think positive thoughts


Go for a car ride - or bike ride - or a walk

Think about someone who cares about you

Work to understand and accept your feelings

Apply logic to your situation


Organize things

Listen to music

Make social plans

Write in a diary or journal


Talk yourself into a calmer state

Go to sleep

Engage in a hobby

Think about things in a realistic way

Think about the happiness of others

Spend time with your pet

Focus on your breathing

Stay busy

Take a walk

Think about someone you care about

Remember that there are others in less fortunate circumstances

Ask someone for help

Imagine talking to your therapist

Focus on the feeling until it passes

Create something

Cook or bake

Plan the future

Sit down and relax

Look for elements of humor in what you feel

Remind yourself that you’ve gotten through it before

Plan how to change the situation that led up to the feelings

Wait for the feelings to subside. They won't last forever. I promise :-)

Vent your feelings – hit something soft like a pillow

Give yourself a treat

Be around children

Drink coffee or tea

Get some sun (don't try this in January in Bellingham or you'll be sadly disappointed)


Engage in sports with others

Attend something entertaining like a movie or concert

Talk about it with someone

Get a massage

Play a musical instrument

Read something you find inspiring

Seek out sources of comedy

Involve yourself in your religion

Go to a location you find peaceful or harmonious

Try a new food recipe

Contact a person from your past

Volunteer at something you find useful

Write a letter

Buy or pick some flowers

Visit a pet store

Watch TV

Watch less TV

Page Updated 04.08.2016