Whether you need to make a life-changing decision or a pretty minor one like editing an important essay to deliver, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed, regardless of how big or small the problem really is. While some people feed on stress to get motivated or to simply feel more alive, stressful situations can be very tough on most of us and can even affect our health.
This is why it is important to learn how to cultivate calm when life seems to go haywire. Here are a few tips to help you relax when faced with stressful situations:
Whatever is happening to you right now, take a step back from the situation for a while, even if only for a few minutes. Read something fun, go take a walk, or simply shift your focus to your breathing or concentrate on how the seat beneath you feels against your body. The latter is a simple way of cultivating mindfulness, helping you unwind and re-center no matter where you are. When you give yourself a little time to disconnect, you will be able to process the situation better and approach it with a fresh perspective.
Deep breathing can provide instant stress relief, slowing your heartbeat, stabilizing blood pressure, and calming your nervous system. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose, ensuring the air coming in fully fills your lungs and raises your lower belly. Hold it in for a few seconds and then slowly release through your mouth. With every breath you take, you will feel lighter, more relaxed, and more capable of handling the situation you’re faced with.
Avoid Asking “What If”
When faced with a dilemma or a crisis, your mind will most probably be flooded with “what if” questions. “What if I can’t finish this on time?”; “What if I make a fool of myself?”; “What if this decision will ruin my life?”
This line of questioning will never be of any help, but only induce more panic and drive you insane pointlessly. Obsessing over scenarios that haven’t occurred and may never even happen will not solve anything, so avoid falling into this trap.
I know this may seem like one of the most difficult things to do when you feel stressed out, but give it your best shot and you’ll see how beneficial it can be. Try to keep your emotions in check and think logically:
How serious is this, really? Will you remember it in a year? How about ten or twenty? Will the world end if things don’t turn out as you wish? Most probably not. Employing your rational mind and focusing on the bigger picture will help you calm down when faced with stressful situations.
Call a Friend
Whenever you feel stress or anxiety is getting the best of you, call a friend or anyone else you care about. Human interaction can give you a boost of oxytocin – the feel good hormone – and also reduce stress hormone levels. Furthermore, research shows that even a short chat can improve mental agility and thus help you more easily find solutions to the problem troubling you.
When you are anxious or stressed out about something, working out is probably the last thing on your mind. However, it can be one of the best solutions to clear your head and calm yourself when you feel you’re losing control. Whether you choose a more intense approach, such as a sprint in the park or a little bit of kickboxing, or you go for a soothing workout such as yoga, exercising even for only 10 to 15 minutes can make such a difference!
As a final thought, remember that while you cannot possibly control everything happening with or around you, what you do have power over is yourself. Cultivate that power and you will be able to face even the most challenging situations with a calm and clear mind.
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- 6 Effective Ways To Calm Yourself In Stressful Situations - March 9, 2017