Five Simple Ways to Create Calm
We all experience stress from time to time. It’s just a part of life! While stress can sometimes be ‒ well, distressing ‒ there are ways you can take back control of your well-being. Here are five simple techniques that take less than five minutes that can help you create a sense of calm in your life.
Practice 4x4 Breathing
This simple breathing strategy can quickly reduce stress and anxiety levels. In fact, this technique is so effective that it’s actually taught at basic training for emergency responders. Here’s how to do it:
Inhale for four counts, hold your breath for four counts, exhale for four counts, and hold for another four counts. Repeat as many times as needed.
As you do this, try placing one hand on your chest and your other hand on your belly. You should only feel your belly rise as you breathe.
Why it works: Breathing exercises help calm down your nervous system and stop your “fight or flight” response.
Instead of focusing on what is making you stressed and anxious, use distraction to calm yourself down.
Focus your attention on what is happening around you.
Name five things you see, hear, smell, and feel. (E.g. "I feel the smooth fabric of my shirt.")
Why it works: When we’re stressed, we focus on what could go wrong, which triggers our “fight or flight” response. Since the brain can really only focus on one thing at a time, distraction stops the stress cycle.
Manage Your Energy
Another helpful practice is to pause and evaluate how much energy you have. Think of your energy level like a gas tank ‒ there are many things in our daily lives that use energy. In order to feel more energized we need to fill up the tank.
Ask yourself: What are three simple things that give me energy?
Go back to the basics: Take time for activities like listening to a favorite song, petting the dog, or having a snack.
Why it works: Doing something enjoyable can reset our system. Be sure to fill up your tank!
Move Your Body
Moving your body is a great way to reduce stress. Even 10 minutes can improve your mood!
What type of activity leaves you feeling energized and refreshed?
How can you carve out a few minutes in your day for movement?
Why it works: Movement decreases stress hormones and gives you a mental boost.
Reach Out for Support
Sometimes, all we need to do is connect with someone to create a sense of calm.
Send a quick text or make a call to a loved one to check in.
Connect with your coach for a little boost.
Why it works: Getting support helps us to feel less alone and can provide a boost to mood and energy.