Today we all have a great deal of stress. Unemployment, home foreclosure, cutbacks at work, businesses closing, marital problems and so on. Your stress may be leading you into distress. This can be hard on your body and on your mind. Try any one or all of these tips and see if you can help yourself to calm down quickly.
1. Ask yourself: “Is this a true emergency?” A true emergency means you are experiencing an imminent threat to your life. Most situations are not true emergencies. Everyday problems like a fight with your spouse, your car breaking down, an unexpected bill and so on, often feels like an emergency. You feel anxious, your heart races, your mind gets foggy and you are overwhelmed.
All of the above problems are false emergencies. Although none of these problems are welcomed, they are not immediately life threatening. When you ask yourself if this is a true emergency, and answer no, you will immediately start to calm down. Most daily problems are false emergencies.
2. Breathe. The first thing you naturally do when a problem occurs is to tense up and hold your breath. When you hold your breath you build up carbon dioxide in your lungs and you can not take in a deep breath. This increases anxiety.
To calm down start by breathing out through your mouth. A long slow breath out, like blowing out candles on a cake. Then breathe in normally through your nose. You can do ten of these breaths (a long slow exhale through the mouth and a regular inhale through the nose). This way of breathing will help you relax and calm down.
3. Go outside. Listen to the birds, look at the sky, smell the air, feel the sun. Research tells us just five minutes outside helps you come into a state of balance.
4. Listen to music. Your heart rate and blood pressure responds to music. Put on some soothing slow paced music that you enjoy. Your blood pressure and heart rate will slow down and you feel better.
5. Imagery. Use your imagination to focus on a calming image. The secret is to use all your senses. See it, hear it, smell it, touch it, sense it, know it. The image you use is personal for you. Ask yourself what your image is for calm. Close you eyes, do the breath you learned in #2 above, and focus on your calm image for 3-5 minutes. You will feel more relaxed.
6. Count to ten. This old advice holds truth. When you count to ten you give yourself a pause between the feeling and any action. During this pause you focus your attention on the counting. This focus and pause can help you to calm down before acting (action which may escalate the situation).
7. Write in your journal. Some people find that writing about a problem helps them to discharge the anxious feelings, and gain clarity about the situation.
THE GOOD NEWS IS: These tips work quickly, anytime, anywhere, and can be done immediately, without any special expensive tools.