Pacifiers aren’t just for babies anymore. Believe it or not, some adults are turning to pacifiers as an unlikely tool to help curb addictions and unwanted habits.
How exactly does sucking on a rubber nipple help grown-ups? Let us explain.
Pacifiers Tap Into Inborn Sucking Reflex
Babies are born with an automatic urge to suck. It’s this deep-rooted reflex that makes breast or bottle feeding so comforting and soothing for infants. It turns out this instinct doesn’t completely go away as we get older.
The sucking motion continues to have a calming, stress-relieving effect, even into adulthood. Think about habits like chewing your fingernails when you’re anxious or biting on a pen cap during a stressful work meeting.
While some oral fixations are harmless, others like smoking or excessive nail biting can be detrimental to your health. This is where an adult pacifier can come in handy.
Pacifiers Provide Oral Stimulation That Reduces Stress
Putting a pacifier in your mouth allows you to fulfill that innate desire to suck and find oral stimulation, without relying on harmful habits. The repetitive motion can lower heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety levels.
Adult pacifiers act as a healthy substitute when you’re facing triggers or situations where you’d normally turn to your bad habit for stress relief or distraction. The pacifier gives you an alternative outlet to keep your hands and mouth busy.
Using Pacifiers May Minimize Withdrawal Symptoms
When you’re trying to quit an addictive behavior like smoking, one of the toughest parts is getting past the initial wave of withdrawal symptoms. This period is when you’re most at risk for relapsing into your old ways.
Here’s where pacifiers can help once again. Keeping a pacifier on hand for when a nicotine craving strikes can help calm those thoughts of “needing” a cigarette. The oral substitute provides temporary symptom relief as you wean yourself off smoking or your drug of choice.
Pacifiers Can Replace Emotional Eating Behaviors
Sometimes addictions aren’t really about the substance itself, but the emotions attached to it. Habits like stress eating or late night snacking to relieve boredom can be particularly hard to overcome for this reason.
Rather than reaching for comfort foods, you can opt for your pacifier when the urge strikes. This allows you to break the conditioned mental link between snacks and feeling better. Over time, you may find that you’re able to cope with your emotions without automatically eating as a distraction.
The Reminders Can Reinforce Your Commitment
Part of what makes pacifiers helpful is that they serve as a tangible reminder of your commitment to quitting your bad habit. Every time you pop your pacifier in instead of a cigarette, you’re consciously reinforcing your decision to stop smoking.
Having a physical object to hold onto can assist you in maintaining your resolve when temptation strikes. The pacifier’s presence also flags your new, healthier coping mechanism.
Pacifiers Can Help Fidgety Hands And Mouths
Some common addictions like nail biting and hair twirling stem from restless hands and mouths with nothing to do. Filling this fidgety need with something like an adult pacifier can address the source of the problem.
Rather than mindlessly chewing your nails when you’re spacing out at your desk, you’ve got a silent, non-disruptive outlet. The pacifier becomes an object to turn to when you need to occupy your hands or quell an oral fixation.
While it may seem out there, giving pacifiers a try could offer the edge you need to finally kick that stubborn habit. With determination and a designated oral substitute, you’ll be well on your way to saying goodbye to bad behaviors for good.