On the Spot Calming Techniques

StressWe all face stressful situations whether it’s an annoying co-worker who you wish you could set straight or the temper tantrums of your beloved toddler at the grocery store. To avoid saying something you don’t mean or doing something you will regret, you need to employ some calming techniques.

We can’t always retreat to a private sanctuary to mediate, chant omm and take ten or even five minutes to calm down.

When you’re facing a stressful situation at work, at home or during transit try these instant stress busting techniques that can be done anywhere.

8 On the Spot Calming Techniques

1)      Focus on the Present

Often times our stress comes from worrying about how the current situation will affect the future. When we’re upset, small things can become catastrophes in our mind. Remind yourself to be in the here and now by consciously coming back to the present moment and surroundings.

2)      Count Your Breaths

This technique helps distract you from the current situation and as you are more aware of your breathing, you’ll begin to breathe deeper. This helps deliver more oxygen to your brain which helps it function at a higher level and tricks your body into thinking it is relaxed.

To get the most out of this technique, breathe in with your tongue behind your upper teeth and count to 5. Make sure your belly rises and then breathe out with your tongue behind your lower teeth. Count to 5 as you breathe out and draw your belly button inwards. Repeat 5 times.

3)      Progressive Muscle Relaxation– Stress causes our bodies to tense up in a class fight or flight stress response. In order to release this pent-up muscle tension, focus on flexing and releasing all your muscles in sequence starting from your head to your toes.

4)      Walk Away the Stress– If you’re able to remove yourself from the stressful situation, take a walk, preferably outside. Walking helps release some of the built-up tension, and removes you from the situation so you can look at it from a different perspective. It may even help to take the other person involved in the stressful situation with you.

5)      Listen to Music- Music can be extremely relaxing. It usually conjures up great memories and listening to slower music can slow down your heart rate to be in sync with the song’s beat. If you don’t have access to an iPod or radio, try humming the song or mentally recalling it.

See my post on The Top 10 Most Relaxing Tunes including the song specifically designed to be the most relaxing song in the world.

6)      Visualization- This technique can be done anywhere and can be done in a number of ways. Depending on the situation, you may want to visualize yourself on a peaceful hammock in the middle of nowhere in a new job or even visualizing yourself clearly and calmly responding.

7)      Find Humour- If you can find some humour in the situation, it is likely to defuse the situation. Ask yourself if the situation will seem funny in a few hours or weeks. While you might be mortified to be standing in the middle of Walmart with a thrashing, out-of-control two–year-old, at some point it will be a humorous story to tell him how he once melted down over a toy ship.

8)      Prayer– If you believe in a higher power, prayer can be an extremely calming activity. You can send out a quick prayer at any time on any subject. Prayer has been shown to reduce stress and increase positive thinking.

Although we can’t control when stressful situations occur we can control our reactions. By being able to calm ourselves down, we can react logically and rationally to any situation.

What stressful situations do you face? What techniques do you take to calm yourself down?

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