Try These 5 Simple Ways To Calm Yourself Down In Stressful Situations
It all starts with a deep breath.
Minutes before speaking in front of a crowd (or should we say, those tiny circles in Zoom conferences), we take deep breaths to calm our nerves. This is also a good practice whenever we feel frustrated or annoyed. Taking deep, mindful breaths, and knowing other stress-relieving techniques can be helpful in times when you need to calm yourself down and take things slow to prevent it from becoming a full-blown panic attack. There are a number of things you can do, according to the experts.
Take deep breaths using the 2:1 technique.
“Breathing is the number one and most effective technique for reducing anger and anxiety quickly,” says Scott Dehorty, Licensed Certified Social Work-Clinical (LCSW-C) of Delphi Behavioral Health.
When you are nervous or under pressure, you tend to take quick and shallow breaths. Scott says that this sends a message to your brain to cause a fight-or-flight response. This is why it is important to be familiar with different breathing exercises, as long and deep breaths are suggested to alleviate nervousness.
Massage your hands.
In her book The Kids' Guide to Staying Awesome and In Control: Simple Stuff to Help Children Regulate their Emotions and Senses, Lauren Brukner suggests massaging your own hands when under pressure. It is a quick way to calm yourself down, and it is also very easy to do! Simply press the thumb of one hand on the palm of the other hand. Combine this with long, deep breaths, and you’ll gradually find yourself relaxing.
Close your eyes.
According to Elaine N. Aron, PhD, 80 percent of sensory stimulation comes in through the eyes. Closing your eyes every now and then gives your brain a much-needed break. You do not have to be sleeping, just having your eyes closed allows you to relax and assess situations in a calm manner.
Stretch to release tension.
Kelli Segars, personal trainer and founder of Fitness Blender, states that stretching can improve flexibility, release tight muscles, help with headaches, and lower stress levels. It does not require any equipment, and you can do this exercise anywhere.
Start by moving your head from left to right, and then going down to other parts of the body: circling your shoulders, twisting your torso, doing knee circles, and reaching your toes. However, be wary of any pain while doing stretches. Do not lock your joints as you can injure yourself, but a bit of “discomfort” is usually okay. Be sure to check with your doctor before doing any form of exercise.
Count your fingers.
Counting your fingers or counting from one to ten is a simple way to ease anxiety and nervousness. Dr. Jud Brewer, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, suggests doing the five-finger breathing, which is a way of grounding yourself by being in the moment. It involves tracing the outline of your fingers as you breathe in and out.
An article by Healthline explains that counting can sometimes bring relief quickly, but other times it might take a while. This is an effective way of calming yourself down because it gives you something to focus on other than your anxiety or nerves. If you are under pressure or in a crowded place, you can use this exercise to help ground yourself.
The next time you’re feeling out of breath, remind yourself: Kalma lang, kaya ‘yan!
These tips are helpful not just for work or school, they might also come in handy while watching TV5’s newest game show, 1000 Heartbeats, Pintig Pinoy. This new program is a franchise of the United Kingdom’s famous daytime game show “1000 Heartbeats”, hosted by Vernon Kay. In the Philippines, actor Xian Lim hosts.
The Filipino version takes the same rules as the original show: The contestants will be allotted 1000 heartbeats to answer a set of questions, so the faster your heart rate, the less time you will have to answer the quiz! The only way to win the cash prize is for the contestants to finish all seven rounds while keeping themselves relaxed under pressure.
Ready to see who has mastered the art of relaxation? Watch 1000 Heartbeats, Pintig Pinoy every Saturday, 9 pm, on TV5.