If you’re prone to stress or anxiety, then you know just how hard it can be to calm down. These feelings never seem to go away, and there are times when they can be so overwhelming that all you want is for them to go away forever. But if you want a more natural solution, then read on.
Stress is a natural phenomenon that can happen to anyone, anytime. Given the amount of technology we have available, I’m surprised we can even get near that many people’s stress levels.Colin Farrell, CEO of CounselingApproach.com
Farrell believes stress is a helpful component in our overall health, especially in the context of how it impacts sleep.
Extra stress responses from adrenal gland stimulation (which are released when we deal with potentially life-threatening situations) help us to recover from an adrenal gland shock (a condition that can cause persistent health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure), and start the regeneration and repair process.
Thus, we feel better and sleep better, he explains. When we deal with stress, it works against our body and attempts to fix itself.
When our stress response is viewed and controlled properly, then it can help us react more appropriately and help us recover more quickly.
Calm Down, Fretting never Helps
There are certainly medical interventions that can be helpful, but they’re not always the most comfortable (depending on the circumstances). For example, physical exercises or mental relaxation therapy can help you calm down, but they might not always be possible. So how can you minimize the stressors that are stressful, for you and your body?
When something is painful, it’s not pleasant, and it’s not fun, that’s the worst thing you can say about it.Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD.
When something is pleasant, it’s worth it. And when something is enjoyable, that’s also a great thing to say.
Habits like stopping to appreciate the scenery, getting a massage or taking a hot bath can ease things a bit, and it’s not a stressful endeavour. As you get more gentle with your stress responses, you’ll notice more satisfaction with your experience, which will ironically lead to less stress in the future.
This leads to healthier choices (getting less stressed) during your entire day.Kostro Miller
To get a little more guidance on how to deal with stress in a less-stressful way, read this list of 10 ways to cope with stress and calm down.
Take Breeding Temptation Seriously
Several times a day, head into your bathroom, take a short shower or sink plunge for a few minutes. Then, Hydrate.
Stress is a chemical response to fight something horrible happening to our body.Dr. Leslie Jakubowski, a licensed psychotherapist and certified clinical social worker.
And the more joyful or positive your experience is, the more likely you are to throw that stress response back into gear and prevent cortisol and adrenaline from surging.
When we think negatively, we are actually setting ourselves up to react negatively.Jakubowski
Rest and recovery are key when it comes to mental health as it’s been suggested that those who sit for long periods of time have lower life expectancy than other people. When it comes to physical health, stress itself can be detrimental to lastingly strengthening your muscles and bones, according to ACE-certified personal trainer Keith Ayoob.
This is why a recovery plan, whether one built around meditation or other methods, is so important. Research strongly suggests there’s a connection between regular exercise, stress management techniques and weight loss and improvements in mental health.
The mental health benefits of exercise and stress management go beyond the physical effects. Each of these is linked to a host of issues from stress and muscular issues to sleep and immune function. Not to mention exercises like meditation have been shown to help decrease anxiety, which, in turn, can inspire positive psychological changes that lead to self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as possible weight loss.
The Relationship between Stress and Athletic Performance
Focusing on the mental health aspects of exercise, training and more can help athletes calm down better than those who haven’t tried these strategies.
When you’re racing 18-month-old foals, it’s easy to get run down; stress is good for you physically, but too much stress and too little recovery, or training when you’re injured and shattered, is no fun at all.Pete McCall, ACE’s vice president of groups, training and education.
While not everyone loves the idea of going out for an intense workout, many prefer the amount of recovery time it takes to mimic actual sports competitions. “The main difference between those who are healthy at 22 and the ones who are injured at 36 is the amount of time it takes them,” says McCall.
Whether that means watching a bodybuilding season, going to a glute- and quadricep-building Bootcamp or simply doing a few yoga poses regularly, all give you that second wind.
Talking to a therapist isn’t just a way to see if there’s a problem. It can also help you see that you’re the one who needs to change.
There’s a reason why so many people self-medicate with alcohol, drugs and sleep issues, you can often help yourself start to feel better without being a complete jerk.
Just as exercising is good for the mind and body, there are also brain-boosting strategies that can relieve stress. “Meditation has tons of documented benefits from stress relief to improving sleep and cognitive function,” says Ayoob.
Affirmations are a practice in yoga, mindful meditation and more, and often are used when you’re trying to calm down or get back to a more stable state. By stating what you’re happy (or sad) about in a simple affirmation, you’ll often prime your mind to see the situation more clearly.
WHAT ARE Affirmations? to Calm Down
Affirmations, simply put, are sentences you use to describe something positive about yourself or someone else. For instance, when you think of a happy event, you might say, “I’m happy I went to the pool today.”
When things get tough, you could say, “My friend and I are getting through it together.”
Often, you’ll see these words and phrases pop up in your social stream or conversations. For instance, I’ve seen a number of well-meaning strangers use the phrase “get through it together” or “your friend is going through a rough time” to try and console another person.
While it’s nice that you feel you can help others, it doesn’t free up your mind to move forward or create positive change in situations.
Why You should use Affirmations
The beauty of affirmations is they’re often used to help someone else and not necessarily to talk yourself down. If you find yourself having or noticing these moments of distress, try these a few times. You’re probably more likely to experience the power of these sentences sooner if you have the vocabulary to express them.
Self-talk is fairly easy to identify as neurotic, anxious and controlling. Choosing to calm down or improve your mood with affirmations can take some of that power away. By expressing your positive feelings, you’re less likely to make self-damaging decisions.
So, what can you say? Here are some basic suggested words to use with yourself, as well as some examples of how you might use them:
- smiling again
It’s hard to be upset either.
These words might seem silly on their face, but if many other people are using them, it makes a great message for you to pass on to others. Even though it may not be valuable at the moment, then it could make a difference later on.
Practice saying these four to five sentences every day for a week. Or read this chapter from “The Upside of Stress” by David Greuner. Do as many phrases as you like, and try their power. Over time, try to use more and more of the same. Say them aloud as often as you can.