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Make Yourself an Emotional First-Aid Kit

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Most of us know what to do when we cut ourselves on something sharp—we go to the first-aid kit for medicines and bandages. But when we feel hurt, tired, or stressed emotionally, we don’t have clear solutions on hand.

An emotional first-aid is a resource for those times when you need a little extra help to lift your mood or turn your day around. Some things you can carry with you. Others you can keep in a drawer at home. The idea is to know what sensory experiences give you positive feelings so you can reach for them the same way you reach for an aspirin when you have a headache.

Everyone’s emotional first aid kit will look different, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

Soothing with Sight

To calm down… To perk up…
…close your eyes or visual a tranquil space …go somewhere with natural light
…view pictures of your loved ones …watch an action movie
…look up at the stars …sit in a busy area and people watch

Soothing with Sound

To calm down… To perk up…
…listen to whatever music relaxes you …listen to whatever music excites you
…call someone you like to talk to …sing a song
…read aloud …whistle

Soothing with Smell

To calm down… To perk up…
…carry essential oils like lavender …carry essential oils like lemon or peppermint
…walk into a bakery …take a walk outside near trees or other plants
…wear your husband or boyfriend’s dirty t-shirt (not the one he played basketball in, but one with a pleasant residue of his special smell) …do a 15-minute company clean and enjoy the clean smell of your home

Soothing with Taste

To calm down… To perk up…
…snack on something small and soothing …dine on a spicy cuisine, like Indian or Thai
…drink a cup of chamomile tea …drink plenty of water
…eat a small snack of carbohydrates and dairy, like a bowl of cereal, right before bed …eat a healthy, high-energy snack

Soothing with Touch

To calm down… To perk up…
…snuggle a loved one or pet …take a cold shower
…wear comfortable clothes …exercise
…carry something with a soothing touch, like a silky ribbon or smooth stone …put on an outfit that makes you feel attractive and competent

What’s in my emotional first-aid kit?

I’m still building up my emotional first-aid kit because it’s an important resource for helping me get through the bad days. For right now, I always carry pictures of my son saved on my cellphone and small dark chocolates in my purse. When I’m home, I can turn on the Juno soundtrack, don one of Adam’s favorite t-shirts, and snuggle my special feather pillow.

What do you down to calm yourself down or perk yourself up? Let us know in the comments.

2 responses »

  1. I never thought about actually having a formal “plan” or first aid kit, but I love this idea. I tend to drink a cup of tea, listen to soothing music and read a fiction book when I need to escape and calm down.

  2. Great tips, and I love the Juno soundtrack too!
    I posted my own “Good Mood Checklist” on my blog as well, many of the suggestions overlap.


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