5 Ways to Calm Down During Stressful Moments - Men's Health Magazine Australia

5 Ways to Calm Down During Stressful Moments

How to take a step back.

Stress is an inevitable part of our lives. In today’s world, we have more to do; more people to see, more places to be. In the midst of it all, it can be hard to juggle everything.

Practicing mindfulness can help bring a bit of peace to your day-to-day. We need to let go of unrealistic expectations around living a picture perfect life. Letting go of unrealistic expectations of how things are supposed to look goes a long way to ensure we’re not disappointed. A large part of the reason we can feel overwhelmed by stress is because we place high expectations on how things should be, instead of focussing on what is. This resistance is a huge part of what causes stress.

Tending to your mental health is all about recognising your needs and developing practises to fulfil them. Here are five ways to calm down during stressful moments:

1. Move your body

Seems pretty simple, but the challenges of the past two years have changed our routines and the way we stay active. Exercise isn’t just about running and lifting weights, it’s about finding what works for you. So, whether it be walking, dancing, bowling, snorkeling, or taking a yoga class, find an activity that brings you joy. If you find yourself in a stressful situation, stop, pause and go for a walk around the block to calm down. All of these activities can boost your mood and reduce stress.

2. Set boundaries

Boundaries allow us to feel safe and respected both physically and emotionally. Honouring our limits helps us to take better care of ourselves, prevents burnout, and infuses more meaning and authenticity into our relationships.

It’s important to listen to your body and respect your limits. Your time is a limited and valuable resource, if you try to please everyone, you not only purchase a one-way ticket to burnout and resentment, you also deny yourself on doing what you value. Next time you say yes to someone, make sure you’re not saying no to yourself.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you feel triggered, it’s important to have some methods in place to prioritise your feelings.

Find positive distractions: Ride out the storm with some gentle distractions — your favourite TV show, a walk outside, cooking, journalling or listening to a podcast. Whatever feels comforting.

Remember to breathe: When we feel anxious, our breathing tends to quicken and our breath gets shallow, which deepens our anxiety. To counter this, slow your breathing. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. Try Calm’s breathing bubble to guide you.

Take 90 seconds: Emotions have a shelf life of 90 seconds. This means that in the time it takes to brush your teeth, your brain can effectively rid itself of heated emotions. So, take yourself out of the situation and try counting to 10 (a few times).

3. Prioritise self care

Do you include self-care in your daily routine? Try and block off time for self-care in some way, each day. Take a moment now to write a list of things that keep you calm. Activities could be as simple as having a morning cup of tea, meditating or setting aside time to watch your favourite TV show. Find what works for you and schedule these little moments throughout the day.

4. Gratitude Check-In

Practicing gratitude has the power to shift our perspective and transform how we see ourselves and our lives. Digital Gratitude Check-Ins can help you develop a daily gratitude practice by recording three things they are grateful for, with the ability to change prompts to further explore appreciation.

5. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep

It’s no secret a good night’s sleep is important for our physical and emotional well-being. When so many of us drift off, we often have what scientists call ‘cycle of rumination.’ We get stuck in a cycle of thinking about stressful events that make falling asleep difficult.

If you can’t physically sleep or nap, lean into stillness and quiet by doing something relaxing like meditating or reading a book.

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