There are moments when you feel pushed to the edge. It could be due to your kids arguing, a sudden work project, or something your spouse said. In such situations, you might want to learn how to quickly calm yourself down. The need to calm down immediately is different from managing general stress. Stress is a long-term background feeling, while the need to calm down is an acute presentation of anxiety or stress at the moment.....CONTINUE READING
Even if you know effective stress-coping skills like going for a walk, doing yoga, or making time for yourself, these skills might not be accessible when you’re in a high-anxiety state.
In such moments, your nervous system enters the fight-or-flight mode, making clear thinking difficult. To regain control, you need techniques that shift your body back into the rest-and-digest mode quickly.
After using one of these calming techniques, you can then make a plan to deal with the issue or figure out how to manage future stress. But in the heat of the moment, it’s essential to focus on these fast calming strategies.
Remember that not all tips will work for everyone, so choose the ones that you’re comfortable with and that suit your situation.
Here are some practical ways to quickly calm yourself down when you’re feeling stressed:
1. Acknowledge Your Stress:
When stress hits, take a moment to recognize the physical sensations it’s causing in your body. Identify feelings like tightness, restlessness, or edginess.
2. Move Your Body:
Physical movement helps your body process stress hormones. Engage in activities like jumping, dancing, or jogging in place to signal your nervous system that it’s time to switch from fight-or-flight to rest-and-digest mode.
3. Shake It Off:
Channel your inner animal by shaking your arms and legs vigorously for a few seconds. This can help bring your nervous system back into balance.
4. Soak Up the Sun:
Exposure to sunlight, even for a short duration, can have a calming effect on your mind. It’s known to affect the release of mood-regulating brain chemicals like serotonin.
5. Deep Breathing:
Taking deep breaths can quickly increase oxygen in your body, helping to calm your nervous system. Inhale through your nose, expand your lower belly and exhale through your mouth.
6. Use Cold Water or Ice:
Cold stimuli, like splashing water on your face or using an ice roller, can stimulate the vagus nerve, which controls your rest and digestion system.
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) involves listening to soothing sounds or watching calming visuals. It’s been found to reduce anxiety and can help you relax.
8. Visualize Detachment:
Imagine hovering above yourself, observing your stress from a distance. This visualization can create a sense of detachment and help you regain control.
Humming can stimulate the vagus nerve and produce soothing frequencies. A breathing practice called Bhramari, where you hum like a bee, has been shown to improve heart rate variability and counteract stress.
These techniques can provide quick relief in high-stress situations, allowing you to regain composure and calm your mind.
When to Seek Help for Stress or Anxiety
If you’re experiencing frequent and persistent episodes of high stress or anxiety that disrupt your daily life, it might be time to seek professional mental health assistance.
You should consider getting help if your ability to function at work, school, in your family, or socially is significantly impaired due to anxiety.