Quick Calming Techniques
We all feel stressed and tense sometimes, but you don’t have to let it control you. You can take back control and achieve calmness.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your mind starts to create all kinds of scary scenarios, your body starts to feel tense and you feel out of control? Maybe during a test, maybe when you have been lying awake worrying about something, or maybe when everything in a day is going wrong.
And once you start feeling out of control, things seem even worse. But you can use some quick and easy techniques to change the negative thoughts and feelings, so that you come out focused and calm – ready to manage the situation and being back in control.
You don’t have to use all of these – just use what works for you. These techniques are tools that you can choose to use as and when you want to.
When we feel anxious and fearful, our heart rate and breathing increase. When we are relaxed, our heart rate and breathing slow down. So, if we are feeling stressed, worried or angry and we want to calm ourselves down, we can start with our breath.
1. Relax your shoulders and open your hands to make sure that they aren’t clenched.
2. Breathe in through your nose and feel the temperature of the air. Think about how it feels. Is it cold, warm, scented etc?
3. Send the breath down to your stomach and feel it expand. (Your chest shouldn’t rise very much.) Try and count to four as you breathe in.
4. As you breathe out, open your mouth slightly and focus on relaxing your lips and jaw. Let your shoulders drop down into your body.
5. Try to count to six as you breathe out, keeping the breath steady and smooth.
6. With each breath out, drop your shoulders a little further and allow your feet to feel more rooted to the floor.
7. Keep repeating this breath until you feel calm and in control.
Try and do this whenever you start feeling flustered, anxious or frustrated. You will be amazed at the effect.
Often, feeling stressed leads us to just think about the the cause of the worry or anxiety. It can just go around our head and then we feel more overwhelmed by these emotions. Re-focusing on something else can help to stop that cycle and calm our mind to be able to manage stressful situations.
Re-focusing on an object can be very helpful, but often we feel anxious when we are not at home or able to hold an object, so here are a couple of techniques that you can use wherever you are.
Two places on our hand that are linked to feeling calm are the side of our hand and the soft area between our thumb and finger.
Side of the Hand
Soft Area of the Hand
Side of the Hand Method
With the side of your hand, tap it using the tips of your first two fingers (of your other hand).
While tapping, say “Even though I feel ……(anxious/worried/uptight or any other feeling you are experiencing)…., this too will pass.” So, an example would be, “Even though I am scared of talking in public, this too will pass.”
Soft Area of the Hand Method
Use your thumb and forefinger to either press on the soft area of your hand (see the image) or to massage the area by circling your thumb.
While doing this, say “Even though I feel ……(anxious/worried/uptight or any other feeling you are experiencing)…., this too will pass.” So, an example would be, “Even though I am scared of talking in public, this too will pass.”
You will need to experiment to find out which one you prefer to use, but the great thing is you can use this anywhere, even in an exam or on a bus. Just say the words inside your head if you are with other people.
Taking control of your emotions means that you take charge rather than allowing your emotions. One way to do this, is to use visualisation.
First, label the feeling: anxiety/worry/fear/overwhelmed etc.
Then, imagine the feelings as a monster. Create it in your mind in as much detail as you can – colour, height, hair, teeth, hands, feet. Go wild!
Now, give your monster the name of the negative feeling and say, “Your name is …………..”
Right, now let’s change that monster so that he is your favourite colour. Now move the lips so that they are smiling. Maybe you would like to add some great hair onto your monster – go ahead. How about changing his size so that he’s a bit smaller? And those claws into gentle paws. What else can you change? How does your monster look now?
You have taken control of your emotion and changed it. Have a go when you feel as though your feelings are stronger than you and find out that you are stronger than you feel.
Using the five senses can help to centre and calm us when we feel overwhelming emotions.
So take a look at the room around you and focus on the small details.
1. What five things can you see? How intense are the colours? How do the colours make you feel?
2. What four things can you feel? What is texture of the floor like on your feet? How does the chair feel? Does the air feel warm or cold?
3. What three things can you hear? Music? Television? People talking? Birds singing? Wind?
4. What two things can you smell right now?
5. What one taste is in your mouth?
Focusing on our five senses reduces the impact that our emotions have on us and help us to regain control.