“At some point, I finally realized that stress made a really bad companion… so I had it pack its shit and leave.”
– Steve Maraboli
As a working individual, your days can have unexpected events that catapult you into a state of stress. Receiving harsh feedback, too many tasks to achieve in a day, a big unplanned project, deadlines, etc.
In those moments, it is essential to know how to calm down with quick techniques and retain focus. In the heat of the moment, everything can seem scattered and out of control, but practicing any of these 15 simple techniques will support you as you make it through the day.
How to Calm Down - 15 Techniques
- Calming music
- Have a Refreshing Drink
- Take a Short Break
- Deep Breathing
- Write It Out
- Make a Plan
- Short Guided Meditation
- Watch Funny Videos
- Sniff Lavender
- Wash Your Face
- Mini Workout
- Growth Mindset
“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.”
– George Eliot
Music is a beautiful companion. When does it not help? I don’t know. When my mind is racing and I’m worried that I won’t achieve my outcomes for the day, I hold on to music.
If you have some favorite songs that always relax you, take a few minutes out to listen to them, without distractions. Play soothing music in the background as you work. Let the music be your friend that you can always lean on.
Here are my favorites:
Have a Refreshing Drink
Fill your system with a beverage that energizes you. Fresh juice, Earl Grey tea, Lemonade, whichever suits you best.
Drink with attention, focus on the taste, notice how it feels as the drink moves down your throat to your stomach. Immerse yourself in the feeling of refreshment.
Take a Short Break
I have a nasty habit of staying stuck to my desk all through the day. Taking a short 10-15 minute break will not reduce how much you achieve but will surely give that space to your mind to take a step back and hold itself together.
Walk around, look at nature, if you can, have a quick chat, etc. This break might even give you perspective on how to handle things better by looking at it all from a distance.
Related: 6 Simple Tips to Live a Simple Life
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.”
- Etty Hillesum
Breathing exercises are quite effective. Here’s one that you can try:
- Take a breath as you count to 4
- Then, hold your breath for 4
- Finally, breathe out for 4 again
Focused breathing exercises help we can’t focus on two things at the same time. Counting helps keep our mind on the breath, improving our focus.
I started doing these exercises in the morning before work every day, and it surely is helping me have calmer days.
Write It Out
“When you are stressed on mind…to pour it out, is the behavior, most kind!”
- Sujit Lalwani
Keep a stress journal and dump your frenzied thoughts in it every time you lose your calm. Don’t worry about good handwriting or complete sentences. Your thoughts aren’t cohesive at that moment, how will your writing be?
This journal will help you get your stress out of your mind. And, when you look back on it in a calmer state, you will understand yourself better. It could show patterns and unhelpful reactions that you have in face of a problem, prompting you to improve them.
Make a Plan
Imagine these two people in the same situation:
Person A (while they are working): "Oh God, there’s so much to do! I really don’t think I can complete all of this in a single day. I don’t want to disappoint my boss. This is too hard."
Person B (analyzing the situation): "Okay, I see that there is a list of unfinished tasks waiting for me. I will spend some time prioritizing them, finish off the quick ones first, and take the big ones one at a time. I got this!"
I used to be Person A and now I am Person B, thankfully. Give your best shot. Freaking out and discouraging yourself will do no good. Instead, be rational and encourage yourself with positive words.
Shutting the book before you have even started is not an effective way to tackle work. You handled things before, you can do it this time too. Trust yourself.
Like breathing exercises, humming is also used to focus your mind and steer away from overwhelming thoughts.
Here’s how you can go out doing this:
- Close your eyes and cover your ears with both hands
- Take a deep breath
- Start humming in a monotone as you slowly breathe out
- Take a pause and repeat
Short Guided Meditation
Take 5-15 minutes out to meditate. Guided meditations are a good option because they automatically attract your attention to them, and you don’t have to keep pulling your mind back to the center.
For More: Here are 5 Guided Meditations for You
Watch Funny Videos
“Laughter helps bring balance to a stressful situation.”
– Kala Stevenson
Humor makes life so rich. It’s not just entertainment but very much a method of healing. The way a chuckle can break the ice, laughing to relieve yourself in stress is a great technique. Watch videos like the one below to calm yourself down and know that you can feel better.
Studies have shown that lavender fragrance has calming effects. It is not only pleasing but also helps make you feel relaxed and at ease.
Inhaling lavender can even lower your blood pressure and heart rate, according to research published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand.
Here are some tips on using lavender essential oil for relaxation and stress relief.
Wash your face
Another quick tip is to wash your face to cool down your stressed mind. Don’t just do it once. Keep splashing water until you feel a little lighter.
In addition to this, lightly massage your head to further let off the load that you are currently experiencing.
“If you think too far ahead, then it’ll just stress you out.”
– Laurie Hernandez
Grounding is a helpful technique to involve all five senses to become intentionally aware and attentive of the present moment.
Notice everything around you with deep focus. What is under your feet? What do you feel in your hands? What sounds do you hear? How does the air smell and feel? What are the objects around you?
This helps bring you back to the present moment and detach you from the overwhelming thoughts related to the tasks at your hand.
Related: 8 Easy Ways to Worry Less from Today
Mini Workout or Stretch
Move your body to get out of the tension in your mind and release it. Do 15 jumping jacks, run around the block, stretch to touch your feet or dance for more fun.
According to Harvard Health, When you exercise, you also release endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood enhancers, as well as reduce your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
“In a year you’ll barely remember why you felt so stressed, so why stress about it now?”
In the moment, stress becomes all-consuming and hijacks reflective thinking. But, take a step back and remember the last time when you felt stressed and how did that situation turn out.
Most times, we do end up achieving what we had to, and even if we didn’t, we could make up for it. With time, it gets easier. You could overcome this before, you can do it again.
Though keep a check on how often this happens. If it’s impacting your health negatively, take steps to prioritize your wellness.
“Times of stress and difficulty are seasons of opportunity when the seeds of progress are sown.”
– Thomas F. Woodlock
Maybe this is an opportunity for you to grow. Not all kinds of stress are bad, and not always will we be in a comfortable position.
Look at this as quick training for you to become a more resilient and smarter person. Search for the underlying lessons that will become a part of your life.
Some changes will form in you as you overcome challenges to become a greater version of yourself.
And, that's all! I hope you that found these techniques helpful and will start using some of them to help yourself calm down when you're stressed at work.
Have a joyful day!
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