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Self-Soothing Exercises for Sadness

Self-soothing exercises are great to have around for those days when sadness falls upon you.  Today is one of those days for me.  Usually I try to be uplifting and positive, but not every day can be that way.  I want to share from my heart ways that I have replaced food with self-soothing exercises in the hope they may help you deal with life’s challenges and upsets in a new healthy way, too.

I’m sad today because my kitty (Toby) has been having health problems.  Toby’s a sweet, sweet kitty all of about 8 or 9 years old.  Toby is a special cat to us.  She’s also a little unusual because she’s a Manx which means she was born without a tail.  Often in Manx cats when the tail doesn’t form, the final vertebrae are also missing.  This can cause problems with bowels and their rear end in general.  Toby is a pretty extreme case and that’s what makes her so special.  In spite of having severe bowel control issues, Toby maintains the best and brightest attitude I’ve ever experienced in a little ktity.  How she puts up with her own problems inspires me every day…just knowing if she can get through her life and be happy then we all can.

About 3 weeks ago Toby was rushed in for surgery because she was had blood in her abdomen.  She recovered and part of her miraculous recovery was that it helped her with an incontinence problem she’d been dealing with for the past 6-9 months.  We thought it was a blessing.  Well, after about a week and a half we noticed that her belly was feeling full again.  Doctor said as long as she’s got an appetite and is going poop regularly we shouldn’t worry about it.  A couple days ago we took her in because the belly was just too big to ignore any longer.

The vet drained Toby’s abdomen of a lot of fluid, rat a ton of tests and came up with more questions than answers.  We thought maybe Toby would be able to last a few weeks or months until her belly filled up again.  It’s early the day after her draining procedure and she’s nearly full again.  We realize that Toby’s body is shutting down somewhere and her life is coming to an end.  That’s why I feel so sad right now.

What I’d like to do with my sadness is first share a song (via a video) that was playing on Pandora when I was thinking about writing about this.  The song is called Sea Whisperer and this video is kinda sad from the movie, City of Angels with Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage.  I want to honor Toby for being my special girl for many, many years and may we continue to stay connected after she passes into the non-physical world soon.  After the video, I’ll share some self-soothing exercises for sad times like these to help you through your dark days.

What I’m doing for myself right now is listening to this beautiful song and soothing music like it to calm my vibration down to one of peace instead of sadness.  Ok, it’s mildly working but that’s because I’ve got my focus on the loss of her instead of concentrating on the joy she’s brought to my life.  I get that.

I’ve also lit some candles and am just crying away like a baby.  I know that my emotions are a good thing, so I’m allowing them to flow. I’m feeling the feelings in my body, the grief and love I feel for her.  I’m allowing my feelings to be felt and not running into the kitchen to drown my feelings with food.

I was doing a little distracting house cleaning earlier and sometimes that helps, too.  I was just reminiscing about the life Toby’s had, her good days and the joy she’s brought to my life.  The thing that trips me up is imaging life without her – life after she’s gone.  I know that time will heal this wound that I feel right now and that gives me hope.  What also gives me hope is her finding relief from suffering.  She’s mildly uncomfortable right now with her belly all filled up, but she’s still getting around and seems comfortable.  I suspect we’ll put her down tonight or in the morning.

Ok, back to the self-soothing exercises when you’re sad.  Right.  I’m not going to list all of the ways I’ve done things to soothe myself when I feel sad because it would take awhile, but I did find a pretty good of list to share with you:


Deep Breathing

Amplification of the Feeling



Positive Psychology



Talk Your Feelings Out

Thought Stoppage

Understand the Layers of Emotions

Figure Out How to Cope With Threat

Write About Your Feelings

I’m a fan of having a big cry, writing about your feelings, drinking tea, sitting in a corner with your favorite blanket and just being still.  I sometimes stare out the window and just allow my thoughts to be there and not judge them.  I realize that thoughts are like bubbles – they pop up and float by.  We don’t have to attach ourselves to them.  Just observe them.

How do you soothe yourself when you’re sad?  What self-soothing exercises work for you?  Please share your ideas below…