22 Ways to Calm Yourself Down
We all worry and get upset. It is a normal part of life.
But what happens when that anxiety or anger takes over, and you can’t calm down? Being able to calm yourself in the moment is often easier said than done.
It is possible to help you when you are feeling anxious or angry with a few strategies you are familiar with. Adding these calming tactics to your arsenal is a good idea.
Here are some tips you can try to calm down.
“Breathing is the number one and most effective technique for reducing anger and anxiety quickly,” says Scott Dehorty, LCSW-C, of Delphi Behavioral Health.
When you’re anxious or angry, you tend to take quick, shallow breaths. Dehorty says this sends a message to your brain, causing a positive feedback loop reinforcing your fight-or-flight response. That’s why taking long, deep calming breaths disrupts that loop and helps you calm down.
There are various breathing techniques to help you calm down. One is three-part breathing. Three-part breathing requires you to take one deep breath in and then exhale fully while paying attention to your body.
You can change the ratio of inhalation and exhalation to 1:2 once you get used to it.
You should practice these techniques when you are calm.
2. Admit that you’re anxious or angry
Allow yourself to say that you are angry. When you let yourself express how you feel, the anxiety and anger you are experiencing may decrease.
3. Challenge your thoughts
irrational thoughts that don\’t make sense are part of being anxious or angry. These thoughts are often the worst case scenario. You can sabotage a lot of things in your life if you get caught in the “what if” cycle.
When you experience one of these thoughts, ask yourself questions.
- Is this likely to happen?
- Is this a valid thought?
- Has this happened before?
- What’s the worst that can happen? Can I handle
“It is time to re-think your thinking after you have answered the questions. I can’t walk across that bridge. If there is an earthquake, what if people walk across that bridge every day and it falls into the water?”
4. Release the anxiety or anger
Dehorty recommends getting the emotional energy out with exercise. “Go for a walk or run. [Engaging] in some physical activity [releases] serotonin to help you calm down and feel better.”
You should avoid physical activity that involves yelling or punching walls.
It has been shown that this increases feelings of anger, as it reinforces the emotions, and you end up feeling good as a result.
5. Visualize yourself calm
You have to practice breathing techniques you have learned. Take a few deep breaths and then picture yourself calm. Imagine yourself working through a situation by being calm and focused.
By creating a mental picture of what it looks like to stay calm, you can refer back to that image when you’re anxious.
6. Think it through
Have a mantra to use in critical situations. Just make sure it’s one that you find helpful. Dehorty says it can be, “Will this matter to me this time next week?” or “How important is this?” or “Am I going to allow this person/situation to steal my peace?”
You can use this to test the situation.
Rational thoughts are not important when we are anxious or angry. Dehorty explains that the mantras give us an opportunity to allow rational thought to come back and lead to a better outcome.
7. Change your focus
Leave the situation, look in another direction, or walk out of the room.
Dehorty recommends this exercise because it gives you time to make better decisions. We engage in survival thinking when we are angry or anxious. If our life is in danger, but not life threatening, we want our best thinking, not survival instincts.
8. Have a centering object
When you are angry or anxious, you spend a lot of your energy on irrational thoughts. A small stuffed animal, a polished rock, or a locket are some of the objects you can find when you are calm.
Tell yourself that you’re going to touch this object when you’re experiencing anxiety or frustration. This centers you and helps calm your thoughts. For example, if you’re at work and your boss is making you anxious, gently rub the locket around your neck.
9. Relax your body
When you’re anxious or angry, it can feel like every muscle in your body is tense (and they probably are). Practicing progressive muscle relaxation can help you calm down and center yourself.
“Lying down on the floor, with your arms out, is the way to do this. Make sure your hands are not in fists. Start at your toes and tell yourself to let go. Slowly move up your body, telling yourself to let go of the parts you don’t want to.”
10. Drop your shoulders
If your body is tense, you will have trouble with your posture. Take a deep breath and then drop your shoulders. You can bring your shoulder blades together and then down. This pulls your shoulders down. Take a few deep breaths.
You can do this many times a day.
11. Identify pressure points to calm anger and anxiety
Going for a massage or getting acupuncture is a wonderful way to manage anxiety and anger. But it’s not always easy to find time in your day to make it happen. The good news is, you can do acupressure on yourself for instant anxiety relief.
This method involves putting pressure on your body with your hands or fingers. The pressure relaxes you.
The point where the inside of your wrist forms a crease is the first area to start. For two minutes, press your thumb on this area. This can help calm the nerves.
These quick tips can help if you need to calm down quickly.
12. Get some fresh air
The temperature and air circulation in a room can increase your anxiety or anger. If you’re feeling tense and the space you’re in is hot and stuffy, this could trigger a panic attack.
Remove yourself from that environment as soon as possible and go outside — even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Change of scenery can sometimes interrupt your thought process, so fresh air and the change of scenery will help you calm down.
13. Fuel your body
Being hangry never helps. If you’re hungry or not properly hydrated, many relaxation techniques won’t work. That’s why it’s important to slow down and get something to eat — even if it’s just a small snack.
Try nibbling on some dark chocolate.
Wash it down with a cup of green tea and honey. Studies show green tea can help reduce the body’s stress response. Research has found that honey can help relieve anxiety.
14. Chew gum
Chewing on a piece of gum can help reduce anxiety (and even boost mood and productivity). In fact, research shows people who chew gum regularly are typically less stressed than non-gum chewers.
15. Listen to music
The next time you feel your anxiety level cranking up, grab some headphones and tune in to your favorite music. Listening to music can have a very calming effect on your body and mind.
16. Dance it out
Get moving to your favorite tunes. Dancing has traditionally been used as a healing art.
17. Watch funny videos
Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. Research has found that laughing provides therapeutic benefits and can help relieve stress and improve mood and quality of life. Do a quick internet search to find funny videos for an instant mood boost.
18. Write it down
If you’re too angry or anxious to talk about it, grab a journal and write out your thoughts. Don’t worry about complete sentences or punctuation — just write. Writing helps you get negative thoughts out of your head.
19. Squeeze a The ball is stress ball.
Try interacting with a stress-relief toy when you are stressed out. Options include:
- The ball is stress ball.
- There are balls with magnetic properties.
- sculpting clay
- There are puzzles.
- “The cube is called the Rubik’s cube.”
- The spinner is made of a material.
20. Try aromatherapy
Aromatherapy, or the use of essential oils, may help alleviate stress and anxiety and boost mood. Those commonly used in aromatherapy include:
- The scent of bergamot.
- cedarwood is a tree.
- It is a drug of choice.
- The lemon is fresh.
- The tea tree is tall.
If you want to get relief from your skin, add a few drops of essential oil to a diffuser or mix it with a carrier oil.
21. Seek social support
Venting to a trusted friend, family member, or coworker can do wonders. Even if you don’t have time for a full play-by-play phone call, a quick text exchange can help you let it all out and help you feel heard.
Bonus points if you have a funny friend who can help you laugh.
22. Spend time with a pet
Interacting with your favorite furry friend can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lower blood pressure. Quality time with a pet can also help you feel less alone and boost your overall mood.