When you're feeling overwhelmed, the last thing you want to do is try to figure out how to calm down. But taking a few minutes to relax can make a big difference in how you feel. And learning how to calm down when stressed BEFORE you're stressed is critical. After all, once you're in the moment, it can be hard to think clearly.
Unfortunately, stress has a way of becoming ongoing and chronic, which is when we can start to see many of the long-term consequences of stress crop up. This includes things like anxiety, depression, heart disease, and weight gain. But today, we're sharing 11 of our favorite tips for how to calm down when stressed to help you take back control of your emotions when tensions are high and overcome what's in your way.
11 Ideas for How to Calm Down When Stressed
Here are eleven ideas for how to calm down when stressed.
Breath can have a powerful effect on how we feel. When we're anxious, our breath becomes short and shallow, which can contribute to feelings of panic. Learning how to control your breath is a useful tool for how to calm down when stressed.
There are many different breathing techniques you can try. One is equal breathing, where you breathe in for the count of four and then out for the count of four. Another is box breathing which is often used by Navy SEALs. To do this, you breathe in for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, breathe out for four counts, and then hold your breath again for four counts before starting the cycle over again.
Here's another trick that can help you to slow down your breathing and feel more in control:
- Place one hand on your stomach just below your navel.
- Breath in slowly through your nose, letting your stomach expand as you do so.
- Breath out slowly through your mouth, feeling your stomach fall as you do so.
- Repeat this for ten breaths or until you feel less stressed.
Identify your feelings
Another important part of learning how to calm down when stressed involves identifying your feelings. You might be thinking, "I know what I'm feeling: stressed!" But the truth is, stress often goes beyond this, and there are deeper emotions at play.
For example, you might be feeling:
Once you've identified how you're feeling, it can be easier to address these emotions and start to feel better. Remember, it's okay to feel whatever you're feeling. The goal is not to try to feel happy all the time but rather to become more aware of your emotions and how to deal with them healthily.
Understand your feelings
Once you identify your feelings, you can begin to work on understanding them.
To do this, start by asking yourself these questions:
- Why am I stressed? This can help you to identify the root cause of your stress and start to address it.
- What can I do about this? This can help you to come up with a plan of action to take control of the situation.
- How can I take care of myself right now? This can help you to focus on self-care, which is a vital component of managing stress.
- Is it rational? Emotions aren't always grounded in facts. This question can help you to take a step back and assess whether your stress is rational or not.
- What's the worst that could happen? Thinking this question through and answering it can offer you a lot of perspectives. Often, we catastrophize things at the moment. But once we think it through, we realize even the "worst-case scenario" might not be so bad.
- Have I experienced this before? This is another way of putting things into perspective. If you've been through this before (and survived!), you can remind yourself that you can get through it again.
Use positive self-talk
The way we talk to ourselves can have a big impact on how we feel. When we're stressed, it's easy to fall into negative self-talk. This is when we tell ourselves things like "I'm not good enough" or "I can't do this."
Negative self-talk only makes us feel worse and can contribute to stress. So instead, try using positive self-talk if you want to learn how to calm down when stressed. This is when you tell yourself things like "I got this" or "I am capable."
It might feel silly at first but keep at it, and eventually, it will become second nature.
Challenge your thoughts
In addition to using positive self-talk, it's also important to challenge your thoughts. This is when you take a close look at your beliefs and ask yourself if they're true.
For example, let's say you believe that you're not good enough. But is that true? Maybe you are good enough, and you're just feeling insecure at the moment. Or maybe you're not good enough for one specific thing, but that doesn't mean you're not good enough, period.
Challenging your thoughts can help you to see things in a more realistic light which can help manage stress.
The benefits of exercise are profound, but one of the lesser-discussed benefits is that it can help to reduce stress. Exercise releases endorphins which have mood-boosting effects. It also helps to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
So if you're feeling stressed, try getting some exercise. Taking a brisk walk or going for a run are great options. But even just a few minutes of movement can make a difference.
Connect with others
When we're stressed, it's easy to feel like we're in it alone. But the truth is, we're all dealing with our stresses and challenges. Connecting with others can remind us that we're not alone and that other people understand what we're going through.
There are many ways to connect with others, such as:
- Talking to a friend or family member
- Joining a support group
- Getting involved in your community
Take some time for yourself
It's helpful to remember that you are not responsible for fixing everyone else's problems. You can only control how you respond to the stress in your life.
So make sure to take some time for yourself. This is time that you can use however you want, whether it's taking a bath, reading a book, or going for a walk. The important thing is that you're taking care of yourself and giving yourself some space from the stressors in your life.
Listening to calming music can be a great way to reduce stress. Music can have a powerful effect on our emotions and can help us to feel more relaxed.
If you're not sure where to start, many online resources can help you to find calm-inducing music. You might also want to try out different genres of music until you find something that works for you.
With the help of Xen by Neuvana headphones, you can combine the calming effects of music with the power of vagus nerve stimulation. With these headphones in your ears and plugged into your Xen by Neuvana device, you can stimulate the vagus nerve through your ear while listening to your favorite music or sounds.
Focus on something else
Another way to calm down when you're feeling stressed is to focus on something else. This can be anything that you find calming or distracting, such as:
- Your breath
- A mantra or affirmation
- A favorite memory
- A physical object
By focusing on something else, you can take your mind off of whatever is causing you stress. And over time, this can help to reduce your stress levels.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do when you're feeling stressed is to get some fresh air. This can help clear your mind and give you a new perspective.
If possible, step outside for a few minutes and take some deep breaths of fresh air. If you can't step outside, open a window or turn on a fan to get some fresh air circulating.
You might also want to try spending time in nature, which has been shown to have stress-reducing effects.
Meditation is a practice that can help to calm the mind and body. It involves focusing on your breath and letting go of any thoughts or worries that come into your mind.
If you're new to meditation, there are many free resources available to help you begin. And once you get the hang of it, you can meditate anywhere and at any time, including when you are trying to figure out how to calm down when stressed.
(Learn about the benefits of meditation before sleep)
How to Calm Down When Stressed: Recap
Stress is a normal part of life, but that doesn't mean it has to control you. With the tips in this article, you can learn how to calm down when stressed and take back control. So next time you're feeling overwhelmed, give these tips a try. And don't forget to check out Xen by Neuvana for an extra dose of calm.