Stress is complicated – and it happens to the best of us. But, if you don’t learn how to manage your stress, it can lead to increased anxiety, depression, skin changes, hair loss, sleep deprivation, insomnia, weight fluctuations, and more. One of the best ways to get ahead of the stress curve is by adopting coping mechanisms to calm you down. Here are some easy suggestions!
When you’re stressed, it’s important to check in with how you’re breathing. When our bodies aren’t calm, our breathing becomes shallow and quick, which reinforces your fight-or-flight response. This can further increase any anxiety you are already feeling! Numerous breathing techniques and exercises (such as 4-7-8 breathing and more), can help in stressful situations. With any of them, ensure you’re taking long, deep breaths, which naturally eases your heart rate and mind.
Go for a Walk
If your stress-o-meter is high, blow off some steam by taking a short walk. Doing so will release endorphins, helping you think better and more clearly. Pick a walking buddy to get some social support, or go solo to give your brain a much-needed break. You should have a refreshed view of a stressful situation when you return.
Close Your Eyes
Most sensory stimulation comes in through sight, which means that when your eyes are open, you increase your anxiety. So give your brain a break and close your eyes; calmness should wash over you. It’s even better if you can go into a dark room.
Lean on a Centering Object
When you’re not stressed, think about what could be a good centering object. Common ones include crystals, necklaces, guitar picks, or something small that you can keep on you at all times. Start to associate this object with calm, rational thoughts. When the stress sets in, touch or rub your centering piece to subconsciously soothe your mind.
Smell Something Soothing
Aromatherapy has proven to help with anxiety and stress. The trick here is to smell something soothing. Many people swear by lavender, as it’s associated with decreased anxiety, depression, stress, and fatigue. All you have to do is light a candle or put some incense oil into a diffuser, then breathe.
If you’re overstimulated because of stress, hydration may be your best cure. Drinking a tall glass of water every hour will balance you internally, easing your mind. Hydration is important, but so is water overall. Listening to or watching water (such as a fountain, a stream, or the ocean tide) can also have similar calming effects. If you have a body of water nearby, go for a walk there on your lunch break.
What are some techniques you use to calm down? Share them with us in the comments below!