When you were young, you learned ways to feel better when you were upset.
The good feeling of relief built a pathway in your brain that helps you repeat the self-soothing behavior the next time you feel bad.
By the time we reach adulthood, we have wired in a whole collection of self-soothing strategies. Some of them may have bad long-term consequences, while others are more sustainable. When you understand the power of these early circuits, you can develop the healthy ones to replace the self-soothing behaviors you’re better off without.
It can be hard to notice the link between your present habits and the self-soothing behaviors of your youth. My friend Ale León at Actuacion Apreciativa provides an amazing example. We were talking about what we did during moments of distress when we were young. She said she hid in a closet and ate Sweet Tarts and played with Barbies.