Ways To Feel Calmer
It is no joke, nor an uncommon thing to feel anxiety and stress. In todays times we are constantly pressured and pushed and pulled in our daily lives. From dealing with our day-to-day lives and learning more about issues happening globally and locally it can sometimes, no doubt, overwhelm.
Speaking from my own experience, there are days when I make ant hills into mountains. That is a little hard to admit, as if I am not strong enough, or doing enough, or being enough, and well let me just pile that on top too! As you can see it piles up quickly.
I have to say though, I hear it from my friends and family too, where they have days filled with stress and anxiety. Knowing I can reach out to them for a sympathetic ear is a blessing. I hope, if you feel this way sometimes too, you know you are not alone.
This list is things I do myself, I am not a doctor, nor claim to know how to properly treat anxiety or stress. However, I wanted to share with you what I found can work for me on tough days.
You know, on those days when I need to feel a bit more calm. To take a moment to breathe, realize I am not a super human being who needs to solve everything right in that moment. From the grocery item I forgot to pick up, to how I can contribute more to issues, like the environment?
I hope that one or two of them might work for you too. They are not solutions, I realize, but tools I find helpful and calming.
1. Getting Outdoors
Get some fresh air. Feel the sun on your face, the wind tickle your skin, let the fog lay a mist on your hair, it is invigorating, yet calming at the same time. This certainly isn’t anything new or something you haven’t heard before.
More and more studies are showing how important it is to get outside, we are spending far too much time indoors, in front of electronic screens and riding in cars stuck in traffic. Our anxiety, stress and depression is getting higher and we are spending less and less time in nature.
I read this great article on Forest Bathing. It gives scientific examples of how spending time in nature has direct healing benefits. It makes complete sense to me. I notice how much my mood lightens or changes when I sit outside, even for just 5 mins.
So leave your phone, iPad or laptop inside and give yourself 5 mins to be outside.
2. Doing Something Because It Feels Good. Period. No Strings Attached.
I find myself feeling as though if I am doing something it has to be for an end goal, for a purpose, for an outcome. I realized that when I am in this mode it is life sucking. It literally takes the joy out of things. Part of that, I believe, is our society often tells us it is good to always be busy, to always be productive, which is creating a constant sense of urgency.
Here are a couple of examples of what I mean –
Going for a walk, merely for the purpose of fresh air, not to get my heart rate up, or to make sure I am taking x amount of steps a day, but to simply enjoy the act of walking. And doing whatever I want on the walk, whether that means I end up sitting on a bench for 10 minutes, taking twenty pictures of a pretty flower, or breaking into a jog.
Listening to music, not just when stuck in traffic, or cleaning the house, or checking emails, or folding laundry etc. but simply the act of listening to music, and to sing and dance along with it if I want to.
The key to this one, I have found, is to allow yourself to do whatever you want, but more importantly letting go of any guilt that you are taking time to do it. There are no rules, maybe what you enjoy doing does have a final purpose. Such as learning a new language or gardening or whatever. The point is to do it without it “having” to produce something, if it does great, if not that is great too! Its goal is for enjoyment. Period.
3. I Love My Aromatherapy Diffuser
Here is the reason why I love my aromatherapy diffuser. Unfortunately, we cannot always stop what we are doing, we have to forge ahead with our day and stay on task. I turn to my trusty diffuser and the smell of calming essential oils.
It is so easy to use, I add a few drops of my favorite essential oil, turn it on and let it do its work. Lavender and Ylang Ylang essential oils blended together is my favorite and probably most notable for their calming effects.
There are studies that show our sense of smell has a powerful effect on us. It makes me think of how smells can bring back warm memories, or how the smell of certain foods can bring comfort.
Find an essential oil that does that for you, brings you warmth and or calmness, it is quite lovely. A great side effect of doing this is that everyone who comes over will most likely note how great your place smells and they will get the benefits of it too!
*If you are looking for an aromatherapy diffuser here is the one I use. Pictured above, it does its job and I love the way the light turns different colors too.
4. Pet Therapy
Not everyone owns a pet, I realize, but if you do, cuddle with your fur ball. Pets are wonderful and give unconditional love. When I am feeling overwhelmed I will often reach for my cat, the act of petting her soft fur and hearing her purr calms me down.
It has been noted numerous times that pets provide wonderful benefits to our health and minds. A big bonus is that it is also believed to have great benefits for your critter too. It is a win-win!
Disconnecting is a tough one, I know, especially since we are now accessible 24/7 with our smart phones, tablets and laptops. We are constantly bombarded with emails, instant news, social media, texts, and phone calls. It can be challenging to quiet that. Unfortunately, it can also add to our anxiety and stress, and sometimes even be the main cause of it.
We may not be able to take a whole day off our devices, but I found even if I give myself an hour or two “disconnected” helps a lot. Start with a half hour, or when you are having dinner with your family, friends, or alone.
It is far more freeing than I first expected, I realized being “connected” all the time, or feeling like I have to be, was becoming unhealthy and draining. I will even notify my family and friends I am going to disconnect, so they know to only reach out if it is an emergency.
6. Water Is Healing
Water has a lot of healing power it cleanses both literally and figuratively. Take a long hot bath or shower. Use essential oils in your bath or soap for an extra little soothing help.
If you live near a body of water spend time near it. Listen to it, whether it is the waves of the ocean, the gentle lapping against the shore of a lake, or the bubbling of a stream.
I don’t have a hot tub myself, but I have friends who do and they swear by them. They constantly point out they couldn’t live with out it and jump in day or night to calm down and enjoy the healing powers of the water. So, if you do have one, use it!
Oh, and drink a lot of water too! I sometimes forget how the simple act of drinking a glass of water can make me feel better.
Literally just breathe, focus on your breath, in and out. I know this is very akin to meditating. However, I am hesitant to use that word as it can imply there is a right or wrong way of doing it, and I am far from being a guru.
I have done a lot of performing in my life, in theater and music, and before I go on stage I will often close my eyes and focus only on breath. It calms me down, it reminds me in my nervousness I am still breathing, my body is still providing me with what I need to function, no matter what my brain might be saying. Here is a great grounding technique I use when I feel anxiety or stress coming on strong, it is a quick and easy exercise –
I focus on my breath and remind myself “I am breathing, my body supports me, my heart supports me, my lungs, my legs and so on.” I breath into my body and out of my body. It takes my mind away from the feeling of nerves and more into trusting my own body, my own self, in that moment.
What are some things you do when feeling anxiety or stress? Please share below in the comments, I don’t think we can ever have enough ideas or tools to help guide us through those tough days.
Main Image Via