It’s fair to say that we are currently experiencing a period in our lives that is placing us all under a lot more stress and tension… so it’s only natural that we are all getting worried and upset, more than normal.
Being worried and getting upset from time to time is a normal part of life.
But what happens when those feelings stay with us for prolonged periods of time and we become anxious or even angry and find it really hard to calm down?
Being able to calm yourself at the moment is often easier said than done.
Having a few strategies you’re familiar with can really help you when you’re feeling anxious or angry. You will need to practice a few of these strategies to find the ones that you feel most comfortable with and that works for you.
Then practice the techniques you like while you are calm so you know how to do them when you’re anxious or angry.
When you’re anxious or angry, you tend to take quick, shallow breaths. This sends a message to your brain, causing a positive feedback loop reinforcing your fight-or-flight response, which will only heighten your mood and make you feel more on edge.
That’s why taking long, deep calming breaths disrupts that loop and helps you calm down.
There are various breathing techniques to help you calm down, but the basics are to try and take as deep a breath as you can and then exhale slowly. When exhaling, try to make it last twice as long as your inhalation, and focus your thoughts on calming your body.
2. Visualise yourself calm
This tip follows on from the breathing techniques you’ve learned.
After taking a few deep breaths, close your eyes, and picture yourself calm. See yourself relaxed, and picture yourself in a stressful or anxiety-causing situation, staying calm and focused.
By creating a mental picture of what it looks and feels like to stay calm, you can refer back to that image when you’re anxious. The more you practice this when you are calm, reinforcing the feeling within yourself, the easier it will be to calm yourself down at the moment.
3. Listen to music
The next time you feel your anxiety level cranking up, grab some headphones, and tune in to your favourite music. Listening to music can have a very calming effect on your body and mind.
Listening to music is easier to do than trying to distract yourself with a book or a movie, but finding anything that helps you escape the moment and control your emotions is a great way to calm down.
Leave the situation, look in another direction, walk out of the room, or go outside… just get away from it.
We don’t do our best thinking when anxious or angry, this is often when we react and say things without thinking… give yourself time to calm down before you address the situation.
4. Write it down
In those moments when you just need to get away from the situation, try grabbing a notebook and writing down how you feel, what you’re thinking, why you feel the way you feel. You can also grab your phone and make a voice note.
Writing or talking helps you get the negative thoughts out of your head. This can help you make sense of what is going on. It can also help you find a technique that helps you calm down.
5. Admit that you feel anxious or angry
Often, part of our frustration is born out of the fact that we don’t acknowledge the feelings we have within us. Allow yourself to say that you’re anxious or angry. When you label how you’re feeling and allow yourself to express it, the frustration you’re experiencing may decrease.
6. Challenge your thoughts
When we are anxious or angry we tend to have irrational thoughts that don’t necessarily make sense. These thoughts are often the “worse-case scenario” and you might find yourself caught in the “what if” cycle, which can cause you to self-sabotage a lot of things in your life.
When you experience one of these thoughts, stop and ask yourself the following questions:
*Is this likely to happen?
*Is this a rational thought?
*Has this ever happened to me before?
*What’s the worst that can happen?
*Can I handle that?
Other questions in these situations could be:
*Will this matter to me this time next week?
*How important is this?
*Am I going to allow this person/situation to steal my peace?
This allows the thinking to shift focus, and you can “reality test” the situation.
When we’re anxious or angry, we become hyper-focused on the cause, and rational thoughts leave our minds. These questions give us an opportunity to allow rational thought to come back and lead to a better outcome.
You can easily use any of these techniques throughout your day to calm your mind and keep yourself fixed in the present moment and free from your worries.
Remember to stop once in a while and breathe… you’ll thank yourself.
Please comment below if you found this article helpful. Let us know what techniques you use to stay calm and focused. Share this with someone who you know would benefit from reading this. The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.