Worries, difficulties, overdosed work-load, issues of the pandemic or problems with loved ones… These all may make us stressed or worried, or even furious from time to time and it may be difficult to calm yourself.
Here are 7 ways to calm yourself in these situations.
Breathing is definitely the most effective way to calm down. What basically breathing does is stimulate our nervous systems. Since there are 2 basic nervous systems being the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, breathing has different effects on both systems if used correctly.
Briefly, when we breathe, it stimulates these systems in each cycle. What inhalation does is that it affects the sympathetic activities like fight or flight responses, while exhalation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous systems that relates with the can also adjust the effect on our nervous system. There are lots of studies that show that longer exhalations directly affect the ‘rest and digest’ influence of the parasympathetic system. If we breathe diaphragmatically, then these relaxing effects may start to rise up and we immediately start to calm down. Here follows an easy technique: how we can prolong the exhalation to calm down.
2-to-1 ratio: If you are stressed out, find a quiet place and sit nice and tall, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth 2-3 times. Then start to breathe in a 2 to 1 ratio. What this means is that, for example, inhale for 3 counts, but exhale till 6 by prolonging the exhalation. Or you may use the ratio of 2-4 or 4-8 without forcing the breath. Continue this technique at least 2-3 minutes, then you will immediately feel the relaxation.
Exercises like yoga, pilates, walking in nature, running or sometimes boxing may be a perfect way to calm down. It is known that regular exercise not only changes the physical body, but also changes our mental body. Regular practice stimulates and calms the body. Furthermore, there are also verified clinical trials that use exercise to treat anxiety disorders and depression.
Listening to podcasts or music may be another option to calm yourself down. There are many studies proving that music around 60 beats per minute stimulates the brain to produce alpha brain waves which release from the brain when the body is relaxed and conscious. So music has a positive effect on calming our bodies down. As slower music is more effective in relieving stress, upbeat music may of course also be effective to calm yourself.
4) Taking a Cold Shower
Cold showers have tons of benefits according to Ayurvedic medicine techniques. The most commonly known effect of taking a cold shower is to reduce symptoms of anxiety. It is said that taking a cold shower for at least 5 minutes, 2-3 times a week helps to release tension. But it may take a while to build up the ability to have a cold shower, if you’re not used to it.
5) Massage to Calm Yourself
It is known that there are certain points on the body that immediately release tension both in the body and mind when pressure is applied. Although there is still limited research about these acupressure points, there are also promising results when used in stressful situations. Basic points like the third eye area, auricle, shoulders, hands, feet, and the pressure points of the wrists can be used to release tension. Here is a guideline on how and where to press.
It can seem very difficult or impossible to focus on something when we get stressed out. But a simple and short meditation is a great way to calm yourself. Breathing is the most readily available aspect of ourselves where we can quickly gain focus and control. Focusing on the breath or counting down each breath is a great way to make the mind steady. Focusing on breath may be combined with lengthening the exhalation and this technique definitely affects the brain release alpha brainwaves and helps us to calm down.
Moreover, you do not need to sit in a crossed-leg position to meditate. You may stand up nice and tall or sit upright and also meditate. And start to focus on your breathing or whatever emotion you want to bring awareness to during your meditation session. Whether it takes 2 minutes or 15 minutes, focusing on the breath starts to stimulate the brain and eventually you will feel more calm.
Related: Meditation For a Good Night Sleep
7) Get It Out and Write It Down
Writing is a good exercise to calm yourself when you get angry. Expressing the feeling out loud may be hard, but writing them can be more helpful to calm yourself. It is important to note, that ignoring feelings or repressing them may cause more stress in the long term. When you are stressed out, try to write out your feelings, maybe the reasons why you feel that way or etc. Then read them loudly and you will see you feel more relaxed.