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Keeping calm is good for our mental health. And with a few simple actions, it is possible to calm down anxiety, both in yourself and others.
Read on to learn how to calm anxiety so that you really can keep calm and carry on!
How to calm down… Right now
Whether you need an escape from hyper kids or a busy work schedule, these are things you can do in the moment that should have an almost instant impact.
1. Take deep breaths
Shallow breathing is a classic stress reaction, so taking deep breaths to slow down your breathing will have the opposite affect and help you to stay calm. These breathing exercises recommended by the NHS can help you to calm down.
2. Take a break
A good way to stop a situation stressing you out is to distance yourself from it. If you can, move into a different space to your source of stress – even if that means locking yourself in the bathroom for a couple of minutes*.
3. Untense your muscles
You might not even notice you’re doing it, but muscles tense up when we’re stressed. Take a moment to notice this in your body, and start to reverse this – it could be by unclenching your fists or lowering your shoulders*. If you have a bit more time, you could try Jacobson’s progressive relaxation technique to slowly relax all your muscles.
How to calm down… In 5-15 minutes
Give yourself a short break and try these techniques to help you calm down.
4. Stretch your body
Stretching out is a great way to relax your muscles and calm your mind. Try this 5-minute wake-up workout which is a series of stretches that should set you up for the day.
5. Use your nose
Certain scents have the power to soothe us, so take a moment to sniff your way to calmness*. Lavender is well known for the relaxing effect it can have, but you could also try vanilla, jasmine or any other scent you love.
6. Have a chat
Feeling connected with friends is a great way to help you stay calm*. Even if you can’t get together in person, a phone call, instant messages or video chat can do just as much good.
7. Watch something funny
It’s hard to stay anxious when you’re laughing. Whether it’s clips of your kids, your favourite comedian or pets doing daft things, a good laugh can increase endorphins and soothe tension, and so help you to stay calm*.
How to calm down… In an hour or more
Try these long-term strategies that will keep stress at bay and help you to stay calm
8. Challenge your thoughts
How you think can have an impact on how you feel, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based on how changing these thoughts can help you to calm down and change particular behaviours. Check out this NHS video to help you reframe unhelpful thoughts.
9. Avoid unhealthy habits
It might be tempting to rely on different crutches to help you cope and calm down, but things like alcohol, caffeine and smoking won’t help in the long run. In fact, they could make it even harder to deal with the real issues. It’s better to tackle the source of your stress head-on*.
10. Write it down
A great way of getting difficult thoughts and feelings out of your system is by writing them down. Forget about spelling, grammar and punctuation – no one else is going to read this. Not only will the act of writing calm you, but it will help clear your head and could even help you to think of other coping strategies that will help you stay calm*.
How do you keep calm and carry on?
Let us know in the comments below!