I am on a baby kick. Maybe because a friend just had one! Search all around, and there is no better example of a Being who is supremely physical and vulnerable, and has no way of soothing self: no access to “thought” nor even a concept of “self” due to the years that go into brain development. If you are holding a frightened, crying, wailing baby—you quickly learn that asking it to “stop” or yelling at it or (please don’t) shaking it, DOES NOT WORK.
What works is gently rocking it, murmuring, rubbing its back, checking the diaper, providing some warm food: taking CARE of the baby. You are not a ‘baby’, but when you and I are highly anxious, we benefit from that kind of care. Yet what do we receive from within? A Drill Sargent barking “Buck Up” or a Critic whispering “you are such a wimp! People think…blah blah blah…about you! Well, as you know by now, that kind of harshness Does. Not. Work. It doesn’t. If it did, you would no longer have anxiety. Next time you feel flooded with anxiety, try a little tenderness. Draw upon the visualizations, activities and body cues in Anxiety Soothers.