Have you ever been in a position where you had to calm down? Has there been a time when you either had to or wanted to tell another person to calm down?
Let me start by saying that all feelings are actually good to feel as they cause us to learn and grow. The truth is not all feelings “feel good” to us. Lately I have been writing a lot on feelings and how to overcome and work though the ones that we tend to get stuck in. These are the feelings that tend to overwhelm us, or cause our heart to ache. They may cause tears to flow and even heart palpitations. Even though it is necessary to feel these emotions – we need to learn how to cope with them when they arise. It just is not healthy to sit in them for too long.
I want to share with you 15 things that you can do when you need to calm down. They are easy and you don’t need a lot of materials to engage in them. There may be some that you are already doing and don’t even realize it. I encourage you to try them all out (or pick a few) and experience which ones work for you the best. You can then add them to your “Life Skills Tool Belt” and access them when they are needed.
Ways To Calm Down
Think About What You Are Thinking About
Our thoughts have a major impact on our feelings. When we get stuck in our feelings often it is our thoughts that are keeping us stuck. Have you ever given thought about your thoughts?
Changing our thought life from a negative one to a more positive one is possible. It is not as easy as a flick of the switch, however with some work – you can have success.
The first step is to become aware of your thoughts. We can’t change anything until we first acknowledge that it needs changing. Make a decision to start paying attention to your thoughts. What is it that you are thinking about? When you become upset or angry, take a moment and pay attention to what your thoughts were before the feeling. Are your thoughts trapping you in the feeling that you need to calm down from?
If you are wanting some guidance in how you can change your negative thoughts to more healthy positive ones, have a peek at the following: 11 Healthy Thoughts That Will Change Your Life.
Count from 1 to 10 before you speak. If you are still angry, then count to 100. You can even count backwards from 10 to 1 or 100 to 1.
The point of counting is to help you delay your response and move you towards having a healthier response. When we are counting we are not indulging in our own thoughts and mulling over the event that just took place. This helps distract us from the event and gives us time to calm down.
Take 3 deep breaths. Often when we are angry, hurt, frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed, full of fear and/ or experiencing anxiety, we forget to breathe. When we forget to breathe we are lacking the oxygen that our bodies require in order to function properly. I have written a post where I share the benefits of deep breathing and more importantly I have instructions on 2 deep breathing exercises. Engaging in these deep breathing exercises can help you to calm down long enough to move forward in a healthier manner. 2 Deep Breathing Exercises To Combat Stress
Work Off The Energy
Exercise and physical activity helps us to calm down. When we are physically active we are producing endorphins. These are chemicals in the brain that help with pain relief. This helps us get better sleep and helps us reduce the affects of stress in our lives. It can be as simple as going for a walk or even jumping up and down for a minute. I enjoy going for a swim and work off my energy doing laps in the pool. It doesn’t really matter what the physical activity is, the important thing is to get up and move.
Talk It Out – Ask For Help
Find a trusted person to talk to about what is bothering you. This could be a friend, a sponsor (if you are in a 12 step group), a pastor/priest, a counselor or even the family cat or dog. Most of the time we aren’t really looking for advice – we just want to feel heard. Now if you are looking for advice, you may not want to rely on your dog or cat. I think you get the idea.
Keeping our emotions bottled up inside is a recipe for disaster in our lives. Take a risk – let your guard down – allow yourself to be authentic – allow yourself to be vulnerable. We all need support from time to time. Seeking out support makes us stronger people in the end. Asking for help is often the bravest choice a person can make. Go ahead —— Be Brave!
Let it Out
Have you ever been so overcome with your emotions that you wanted to scream? Did you want to stomp your feet and have a temper tantrum – much like you did when you were two? Did you follow through and scream?
I know that it is not always a good idea to engage in yelling and screaming – especially in a public place. I am also not suggesting yelling and stomping your feet at any individual person. However, I am suggesting that you go to your bedroom and scream as loud as you can into your pillow. You can even stomp your feet when you are alone and in the privacy of your own room. I had a client who would take a drive to the country side and stop and yell at the top of her lungs. This helped her to not yell at the top of her lungs at her husband and children.
My friend shared with me how she was walking with someone who was diagnosed with cancer. Her friend was overcome with so many feelings. The two of them went and purchased some dishes at a local thrift store. They then took the dishes and smashed them into a dumpster. This helped her friend process her feelings and as a result she was able to calm down and ready herself to fight her battle.
Don’t hold your emotions inside as they eventually will come out. If we aren’t proactive in letting them out – they will come out in ways that will hinder our life’s journey and not enhance it.
The hardest thing that we can do when we are all worked up is to relax. However, this is the ideal time to pull out our relaxation techniques out of our life skills tool belt. There are many ways that we can relax. I know that often people will turn to alcohol and even drugs when they are overwhelmed or stuck in some difficult feelings. The truth is that this becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism and it can lead us down paths that will be detrimental to our over all wellbeing.
I am suggesting that you try to release your tension in your body by tensing and then relaxing your muscles. Alternatively, you can try and incorporate a progressive muscle relaxation exercise into your healthy coping skills routine.
Picture of an anger management art therapy project – used with permission. Thank you Brandi 😊
If you thrive on being creative or if you enjoy crafts and creating then art therapy may be a coping skill that will work for you. I plan on sharing some different projects that a person can create in future posts — so keep a look out for them😊.
For now, I want to suggest that you take some time and draw a picture of why you are angry. You don’t have to be a good drawer – maybe it will be a bunch of abstract colors and shapes. If you are wanting something that you don’t have to have much artistic skill, you can create a collage. Find some magazines, pictures, scissors, glue and a big piece of paper. Then let your creativity take over. Remember – we don’t critique our projects as they are meant as a way to release our emotions and to aid us in calming down.
The right type of music can be a healing balm to our spirit. If you are a musician, you can pick up your instrument and get lost in creating music. You can sing some of your favorite songs. Even just sitting quietly and listening can have benefit. When I am upset and need to calm down I will often put on some of my favorite praise and worship music and will sing and praise God. This allows me to get out of my head (and my stinking thinking) which calms me and I end up feeling much lighter when I am done.
The Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It also tells us that He hears us when we call out to Him (Psalm 145:18). You don’t have to “pretty up” your words – be who you are. God already knows all about you. If you need to vent – He is willing to listen. Be real – Be authentic. Seek His face and seek His wisdom for your situation.
Talk yourself into being calm: say, “Be calm, be calm” or “I can handle this”. Sometimes all we need is a reassuring word – even if it comes from our own mouths to our own ears. I often will give myself a pep talk using scriptures. One of my favorites is found in Philippians 4:13 —- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I want to encourage you to spend some time searching through the scriptures and find some faith statements that you can use when you need a bit of a self pep-talk.
Think of a peaceful place or look at a picture of a peaceful place.
Visualize yourself calming down.
Journaling is a fantastic tool to use to help us to calm down. If you don’t know how to get started with the journaling process I have shared some guidance in my post — how to start a journal to enrich your mental health. There are many different types of journaling that you can engage in. In my post 18 different types of journals to keep, I go through and explain all the different ones.
If you struggle with what to write in your journal you can use journal prompts. Every month I share a monthly journal prompts challenge. These self discovery journal prompts are questions and statements that you can respond to. Seeing the different questions helps some of us to stop looking at a blank page.
Getting our eyes off of ourselves and helping others can be helpful for when we are needing to calm down. When we are focused on helping others we are less focused on replaying the event(s) in our own thoughts that have caused us to be all worked up in the first place. Serving others and engaging in random acts of kindness not only benefits the recipient, it also blesses the giver. Getting out of our muck and helping someone in their muck – makes our muck a bit less mucky.
Even though I have already mentioned praying and I have shared one of my pep-talk scriptures with you, I want to share with you a bit more about seeking God. One of the ways we find God is in His Word. It is in the Bible that I have been able to find oodles of nuggets of truth. It is through this truth that God has healed me in various ways — including calming me down when I am all worked up. More often than not it is God’s Word that calms me down the most.
Seek out the scriptures on your own and look for ones that you can use when you are overcome with your emotions. If you spend some time preparing for the future – you are more likely to not get stuck.
Sometimes it is difficult to find the right scriptures at the right time. I have shared various posts that you can refer to when you need to calm down. May I suggest that you write them down and have them ready for when a situation arises in your life that you end up struggling with. I will leave you links to a few of them:
Scripture Resources To Help You Calm Down
Do – Do – Do — Be Prepared
It is really up to you what your response will be when your feelings take a hold of you. Are you going to allow them to overcome you or are you going to overcome them? Will you choose to be a victim to your feelings or would you rather choose to be victorious? You get to choose. My hope is that you are going to choose to not get stuck. If you are already stuck in them my hope is that you will make a choice to help yourself out of the quicksand that it feels like you are in.
Do – is an action word. Try out some of the different things that I have shared with you. Keep the things that work for you in your life skills tool belt and throw away the rest. Are you familiar with the slogan that the Boy Scouts use? It is Be Prepared
In Scouting for Boys Baden-Powell wrote that to Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body.” Let’s choose to be men and women who are prepared — prepared to know, have, and use the coping skills we need when we need to calm down.
What do you do when you need to calm down? Are you willing to try out a new way? Which one(s) are you going to add to your life skills tool belt? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you.
Be blessed 💞💞💞
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