Understand the Difference Between Self-Care and Self-Soothing to Reduce Stress

The terms ‘self-care’ and ‘self-soothing’ refer to two distinct practices that can be used to improve psychological wellbeing. Self-care often involves taking preventive measures, such as engaging in regular exercise or getting enough sleep, to ensure good long-term health. Self-soothing, on the other hand, is concerned with attending to immediate needs through activities such as deep breathing or listening to calming music.

The Definition of Self-Soothing and Self-Care

Self-soothing and self-care can both be considered an important part of life. Yet, while they are related, they have distinct differences, like timing and the goals they carry. Self-soothing is geared towards in-the-moment needs, such as dealing with stress in a healthy way, while self-care focuses on future advancement and long-term personal progress.

These two practices form an integral part of our wellness journey that can improve mental wellbeing with regular implementation. With intentional effort, both practices can help to reduce stress levels and increase feelings of contentment.

The Benefits of Practicing Self-Soothing and Self-Care

Taking time for self-soothing or self-care has the potential to bring many helpful benefits. For example, it can help to build resilience during difficult moments, improve problem solving skills and provide a break from any stressful events.

In general, regular practice of these activities may result in improved mental health and increased satisfaction with life’s events over time.

Examples of Self-Soothing and Self-Care Practices

  • Self-Soothing: deep breathing exercises, journaling, listening to calming music or guided meditation.
  • Self-Care: engaging in physical activity or exercise, reading books or articles, attending professional counseling sessions – all aimed at improving overall health in the long run.

Tips for Incorporating Self-Soothing and Self-Care into Daily Routines

  1. Make time: Take a few minutes each day to check in with yourself – do you have anything that you need throughout the day? Are there any changes that you could make for yourself? This time is specifically for your own benefit.
  2. Take breaks: Throughout the day take breaks from tasks when possible. Slowly stretch your body and take some deep breaths while consciously pausing your thoughts. Give yourself permission to enjoy these short moments – no one else will.
  3. Grow habits: It’s easier to handle life’s curve balls if you already have good habits set up that nurture your well being. Consider what helps you to feel balanced personally then start implementing those steps into your routine.
  4. Stay connected: Don’t forget about the importance of connection – whether social or emotional – take some time each week to reach out and stay connected with friends or family members.

Strategies for Reducing Stress Through Self-Soothing and Self-Care

How to Integrate Self-Soothing and Self-Care into Your Daily Life

Integrating self care and self soothing into daily life requires taking intentional action. Start by identifying personal sources of joy – what makes you happy? Make a list of simple activities that fall into the category of ‘self care’ or ‘self soothing’ (like painting, jogging or writing). Scheduling these activities into your routine free up space for more creative pursuits over time.

Regular practice of these processes will help foster healthier coping mechanisms when stressful situations arise. Building a toolbox full of beneficial techniques provides an accessible way to manage challenges without needing external assistance. It also allows for greater levels of connnection with oneself which leads to improved relationships overall.


Can crying be a way to manage one’s emotions?

Crying can be seen as a form of self-regulation. We cry when we are overwhelmed with emotions, such as stress or sadness, which allows us to better process and cope with our feelings. It also helps to release hormones that reduce emotional distress, resulting in improved physical and mental well-being. In this way, crying can be beneficial for regulating our emotions, providing emotional comfort and clarity.

What is the idea of comforting oneself?

Self-soothing is the ability to comfort yourself when faced with difficult emotions or situations. It involves calming techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness and positive self-talk that help you to remain centred and address the problem in a constructive manner.

  • Deep breathing
  • Mindfulness
  • Positive self-talk

What is an example of controlling one’s own emotions?

Self-regulation of emotions involves noticing and understanding one’s feelings, and choosing how to respond in helpful ways. For example, when feeling angry or frustrated, one may take a few deep breaths and focus on calming down before responding. This allows for the emotion to be acknowledged in a healthy manner, instead of potentially lashing out in an uncontrolled way.

Can self-soothing be considered a form of self-regulation?

Self-soothing is a form of self-regulation that involves calming oneself and managing difficult emotions. It helps to reduce stress and promote emotional well-being by providing comfort and relaxation. Through self-soothing, individuals can gain control over how they respond to uncomfortable feelings or situations.

Should I allow my 2-year-old to comfort themselves instead of me?

It is not uncommon to see a two year old expressing their emotions through tears. As long as your child is not in any danger when left alone, allowing them to self-soothe by crying can be beneficial. Self-soothing can help teach coping mechanisms, problem solving skills and independence. Depending on the situation, these moments of self-reflection can be a great opportunity for growth and a learning experience.

At what age can a child start to self-soothe?

Self-soothing is a skill that can be beneficial to people of all ages. However, it is generally considered more appropriate for older children and adults. This is because it requires a level of emotional maturity and self-awareness in order to effectively practice self-soothing strategies. Younger children may require more guidance and assistance from an adult in order to learn how to appropriately handle difficult emotions.


Self-care and self-soothing are two key strategies to reduce stress and improve psychological wellbeing. Self-care involves taking proactive steps towards good long-term health, while self-soothing is an effective way to attend to immediate needs in the short term. Using both as part of a comprehensive approach to stress management can help increase feelings of energy, control and balance.

At the end of the day, it comes down to finding a balance between self-care and self-soothing that works for you. Taking the time to understand the difference between the two can help you create stress relief solutions that will bring lasting benefits for physical and mental wellbeing.