When you encounter a calm person amid chaos, do you admire them? Do you wish you could respond in a situation that same way with a powerful self-assurance? It’s something almost all of us can achieve through our choices (and with a little extra help if we need it!).
Although it comes easier to some, it does take work day after day. Here are some pointers that can help you stay calm and even help keep others calm, too.
Physical and Tactile Ways to Calm Down
These body-based methods, designed to help calm your fight or flight response, help calm you down when angry or anxious. If you feel your heart pounding, palms getting sweaty, or stomach-churning, try the following.
At the most basic level, taking a breath gives you an extra moment before responding to something—seconds in which you can choose to respond with composure.
But if you still haven’t calmed down, try these breathing exercises:
- Try belly breathing. Direct your inhales downward so that your abdomen expands instead of your chest.
- Deep inhales held for several seconds and long, full exhales can naturally slow your heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and lessen the stress hormone cortisol.
Walk It Off
You can take this literally or somewhat figuratively:
- When possible, physically leaving a situation works wonders. Just going into a different room or space can separate you from any stressors that are present. This will be effective for both calming yourself and how to calm someone else down, assuming you two are feeding into each other’s troubles.
- But the ideal way this works is to pop outside and literally start walking, redirecting your thoughts and actions.
You have to be open to these solutions, though. Continuing to simmer in your emotions while stomping around won’t help you calm down. You have to use the moment to your advantage.
Engage Your Muscles
We carry stress and anger in our muscles. You can stretch your muscles, relax them, or even go all out and start exercising.
- So, for example, you’ll want to unclench your jaw, drop your shoulders, relax your hands.
- Lifting your arms above your head and stretching like you’ve just woken up will release tightness in the back.
- Doing a few of your favorite yoga moves fulfills the same kind of purpose.
Exercising doesn’t really let the body relax, but it redirects stress appropriately and encourages endorphins release, which will help you feel better by the end.
Occupy Your Hands
This is a good tip for being less nervous, which can manifest as hand fidgeting. Fidgeting tends to be mindless, but by consciously choosing to occupy your hands, you’re redirecting your unsettling thoughts into focused action.
Use a “centering object” as follows:
- Trace the outline of a pendant that you’re wearing
- Hold onto or squeezing a small stuffed animal
- Feel the weight and coolness of something smooth between your palm and thumb
This might resemble fidgeting, but the trick is to stay mindful, noting the texture and feelings. Depending on the situation, other options might be things like doodling or coloring, playing an instrument, or assembling a puzzle.
Make a Snack or a Drink
You don’t want being hungry or dehydrated to rule over your emotions. Indulging in some food you like may have a soothing effect. Plus, this can go — ahem — hand in hand with the previous tip.
So, you shouldn’t rip open a family-sized bag of chips and go to town. You don’t want to stress eat here. Instead, try some fruit, a warm cup of tea, or a sandwich. Things like yogurt or ice cream can also work, and a square of chocolate is an excellent pick me up in a pinch.
Mental and Emotional Ways to Calm Down
When you’re stressed out or generally worried, you may just need help to quiet your mind. Physically calming your body is helpful. It helps re-center and relieve tension, but it won’t slow racing thoughts, let go of frustration, or help you focus on a looming pile of work.
For that, try some of these methods.
Focus on Music
There’s no better way to get out of your head than to get all wrapped up in a good song. Not only does music influence our emotions, but when you follow along closely, it leaves little room for rumination.
Consider something upbeat, with a complex rhythm, or that you can’t resist singing along to.
Write Through It
It often helps to get your thoughts out of your head by articulating them (whether through writing, typing, or even speaking aloud).
- Once you’ve acknowledged the worries or issues, you can hopefully stop rehashing them over and over.
- Afterward, for extra symbolism, you can disown the thoughts by discarding the writing.
You can also turn certain worries into a checklist or outline a plan of action.
- If you’re stressed over responsibilities, break them down into smaller, manageable steps.
- Write down how you might try to stay calmer the next time you get worked up, so you can successfully navigate a sensitive issue.
Challenge Your Thoughts
This works particularly well as you’re articulating thoughts from the tip above. You can ask yourself different questions, depending on what feeling you’re trying to combat. The goal is to find a path toward your calm despite challenging emotions.
- For anxiety, push back on the fear: Is this a rational fear? What’s more likely to be the situation or happening? If this concern is legitimate, is it something you can control or mitigate?
- For stress, push back on your attitude or approach: Is there another way to tackle this? What’s holding you back or weighing you down, and how can you address it?
- For anger, push back on your response: What’s actually upsetting you? What result would make you feel better? What might be a more helpful or productive way to respond then?
Mindfulness is being aware of and engaged in the present moment.
Often, we let emotions and thoughts swirl around us for far longer than they’re relevant or useful. Other times, we let our emotions and thoughts jump ahead of a situation.
- When you stay mindful, you try to keep track of the actual situation in front of you.
- Mindfulness doesn’t always equal staying calm, but it should help you feel less overwhelmed or purely reactive.
- It can help you not to dig up past grievances and imagine potential new ones. Plus, if you figure out certain triggers that get you upset, you can be mindful to avoid or outmaneuver them.
The Best of Physical and Mental: Try Organa Kratom
Our tenth tip for how to calm down is to use the Unwind Strain of kratom. Available as loose powder or capsules, these varieties of the kratom plant promote relaxation, restfulness, and mild pain relief.
They can give you occasional help mentally, but the physical act of taking your kratom can be relaxing in itself. Expectations don’t only come into play with placebos. By anticipating the calming effect, you’ll signal to your body that it’s OK to relax and start unwinding. Before the kratom even fully kicks in, you’ll probably be feeling calmer.
When you’re calm, it feels good. Being a calmer person offers you more peace, control, and mastery over yourself.
No matter how uncalm of a person you may think you are, getting closer to being calm happens in many little steps — from journaling and stretching to kratom and cardio.