They say you can wake up on the wrong side of the bed. But many days it feels like you woke up on the wrong side of calm. And who can blame you? Life seems to have gotten more complicated, stressful and chaotic, making it more difficult to feel peaceful and calm.
But there are things you can do each day to get yourself on the right side of calm. Here are 3 of them:
1. Breathe Deeply
Many people are shallow breathers, meaning they take small, short breaths. But did you know shallow breathing is actually part of the “fight or flight” response? It’s an evolutionary adaptation designed to keep us safe from danger, like that angry sabretooth tiger chasing us. When faced with danger, our heartbeat speeds up and we breathe faster in order to get more oxygen for fighting or fleeing.
Our bodies don’t recognize real danger (that tiger) from modern day danger (that stack of bills). And so we spend most days breathing like our life depends on it.
One of the quickest ways to calm yourself is to slow down your breathing. Many people scoff at the idea that breathing deeply and slowly will do much of anything. Those that try it know deep breaths have an incredible calming affect.
2. Get Familiar with Your Acupressure Points
There are key acupressure points located on your hands, face, and head. These points are near bundles of nerves that, when massaged or tapped, can help relax your entire nervous system. This is why we instinctively rub our forehead and temples when we’re feeling stressed. You can subtly apply pressure to the meaty part of the hand between the thumb and forefinger when in a stressful meeting, at the airport, or any public setting when you need to calm down but don’t want to call much attention to yourself.
3. Focus on the Positive Things in Your Life
Every night before you fall asleep, think about three things that happened that day you are grateful for. They can be small, like that parking spot in front of the always-busy post office you got this morning, or big, like your son’s ankle was sprained not broken.
Feeling happy and grateful will naturally calm you down and give you a different perspective on things. And, doing this exercise night after night will train your brain to be more positive.
Have you tried these tips in the past but are still dealing with persistent anxiety and worry? Therapy can help you uncover the root cause of your anxiety and provide tools for coping.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW