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Self-soothe is a skill taught in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy that can be very helpful for distress tolerance. In times of crisis or episodes of anxiety related to trauma, self-soothing can be used to calm down significantly.

This skill is simple and personalized. The most effective way to use this skill is to create a self-soothe toolkit. The items you compile in your kit will be specific to you, the things that bring you the most peace and joy. 


To do this, we look at the five senses for inspiration and ideas! 


Some sight-related ideas of things to include in your toolkit can be photos of things that make you happy. Pictures of pets, family members, and friends are all good ideas.

You can even print out photos online of things that represent happiness. Representations of water, nature, sports, and animals can be very peaceful to look at. Get creative with the visuals you include in your box or bag!


Here is another area where you can get creative. Scents can bring us a lot of relaxation, everyone is partial to different types of smells. Essential oils or perfumes are a great thing to include.

Body lotions can also be a wonderful idea. Candles are one of the best things to keep in your kit, as they can last a long time and double as a calming scent and a visual, as well. Think of the smells that make you feel the most serene or bring positive memories and incorporate them in your toolbox. 


While this may seem like a tricky aspect to include in your self-soothe kit, it can be one of the most useful. Try to compile a playlist of songs that make you feel tranquil or happy.

You can keep it on your phone, computer, iPod. Write yourself a little note, or make a list of the songs to put in your bag or box to remind you to listen to the music. There are other ways of keeping sound elements in your box, you might just need to put a little thought into it!

Musical instruments that you can play, like guitar, ukulele, harmonica, piano, can be represented by photos that suggest you go and play!  


Think about textures that make you feel peaceful. If you have a stuffed animal or particular blanket you can include in your toolbox, it can be very comforting to hold them in times of distress.

Stress balls are also a great way to find relief and can easily fit in your bag! Think about the things that you can touch that can bring you serenity. Sand, fidget spinners, and playdough are all ideas to give you a headstart!


Taste is something that can be easily incorporated in your self-soothe kit. Compile a few of your favorite little snacks, candies, or chocolate bars. Packs of gum or mints are also smaller items that can fit compactly in your box and will last a good amount of time. The taste sensation is something that is different for every person individually, so consider some of the tastes that bring you the most happiness. 


Try to include items from each of the five senses, for the most effective defense in times of need. Be sure to keep your self-soothe bag or box somewhere in easy sight so that you can remember to open it when an anxiety attack or traumatic episode happens. Keep in mind, the goal is to help you find tranquility, and inspire joy when you need it the most. The toolkit is personal, so remember to enclose things that work the best for you! 


At The Guest House Ocala, we have personal recovery experience and over 12 years in the recovery industry. We have helped countless people recover, and we’re here to help you too. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.