15 Ways to Calm Down Right Now
Looking for strategies to deal with pent-up stress?
From loss associated with the pandemic, to the current state of affairs, the world is, uh—a little tumultuous right now. Things aren’t always, well, easy.
But they don’t have to be impossible. And if you’re experiencing stress, or frustration, or any negative emotion at all, please know that relief is well within reach.
With that, here are 15 ways to calm down right now:
1. Think logically.
You might be having a bad day. We’ve all been there. But in the grand scheme of things, how significant are the repercussions of whatever negative thing you’re dealing with? In the grand scheme of it all, is your anxiety rational?
Don’t negate how you feel. Do, however, know that the tough stuff will pass.
2. Practice deep breathing.
When we respond emotionally to challenges, we tend to breathe faster. Our breath might also become more shallow—making it all the more imperative that we regulate it. One effective breathing technique is the 4-7-8 method.
Simply inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for another seven, and exhale for eight. Then repeat the process.
3. Complete a mental scan of your body.
It can be difficult to take a step back from our anxiety. Conducting a quick scan of the body can be powerful, though. From your head to your toes, shift your focus on the physical, and evaluate which areas are experiencing the most tension.
From there, you can move from the emotional to the physical, and stay present where your senses are concerned.
4. Chew gum.
Find a dentist-approved brand, and get chewing! Research reveals that chewing gum can reduce anxiety and stress, improve mood, and stimulate blood flow to the brain. It can also help you boost your alertness and increase your focus.
Who knew gum could be such an effective remedy to stress? Next time you’re feeling down, get started on a stick.
5. Take a bath.
Soaking in the tub for even just 10 minutes can help you get a better handle on your emotions. Warm water will not only soothe sore muscles, but also relieve anxiety and encourage a greater sense of calm. Some say baths will even help you sleep better.
How does that sound? Side note: If you don’t have a tub at home, a warm shower should do the trick.
6. Take a nap.
Stressed out frequently during the day? There’s a chance you could just be tired. The American Psychological Association has announced a powerful link between sleep and mood, and we couldn’t agree more with their take on the matter.
To get the rest your body craves, take a short nap when you’re feeling overwhelmed—or at the very least, try to go to bed a bit earlier.
7. Talk to a loved one.
Ruminating is a great way to compound your stress. Instead of holding everything in, let your feelings out by talking to a trusted friend or family member. You don’t want to dump a wave of negativity on everyone around you, but there’s no harm in some mindful venting.
A reminder to let your loved ones know you’re there for them as well.
8. Take 20 minutes to journal.
Don’t have anyone to talk to at the moment? Try journaling. Jotting down your anxieties and fears can help you make better sense of them, helping you process your emotions more effectively as a result. It’s a great solution that’s bound to calm you down.
Additionally, aim to write down a list of things you’re grateful for each day. You can refer back to this list when you’re under pressure.
9. Turn on airplane mode.
Does checking your phone make you feel like the world could come crashing down at any moment? Do you ever wake up to an inbox so full you want to scream? Consider activating airplane mode, or turning your phone off altogether, to escape the stress you’re facing.
Unplugging serves as a great reminder that our phones are merely accessories, and not actual extensions of the body.
10. Get moving.
We could wax poetic about the benefits of exercise until the end of time, but there’s really no denying that movement can bring great stress relief. Even if you aren’t up for the gym, lacing up and taking a short walk can ease complex emotions.
Feeling unmotivated? Supplement your walk or workout with a podcast.
11. Pet an animal.
Animals are a major source of comfort. They’re kind, loving, and even when they irritate us, they mean so well! Interacting with a dog or cat can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lower blood pressure, and elevate calming neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
The next time you’re feeling down? Give your pet a hug for powerful results.
12. Straighten up.
When you’re stressed, cleaning your house might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But hear us out! Organizing your space can bring back the sense of control you’ve been missing. Even just 15 minutes of straightening up can clear your mind of frustration.
Looking to start small? Tackle your desk first for seamless results.
13. Choose water over caffeine and alcohol.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, coffee and alcohol can lead to irritability, shakiness, and greater stress. Drink too much of the stuff, and you’ll also be at greater risk of a panic attack.
Instead, drink water throughout the day. Take care of yourself by keeping hydrated.
14. Speaking of water—wash your face.
Don’t limit washing your face to bedtime. Instead, splash your face with a stream of cool, clean water whenever you experience stress. This can slow your heart rate and breathing, helping to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Talk about a simple yet effective tool for regulating the emotions.
15. Manage your expectations.
More often than not, the frustrations we face stem from misaligned expectations. Recognizing that you can only control your own actions will allow you to shift your mindset and improve your emotional health.
A simple mental reset can go a long way. And with these coping mechanisms in your toolkit, you can quell your anxieties faster than ever.
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