We all know what it’s like to feel stressed. It’s easy to get wound up and get the adrenaline system firing on all cylinders.
But how can you calm down when things aren’t going your way?
There are certain things you can do during unsettling times that not only make you feel more relaxed, but they can also put you in a better mood.
Here are five ways to ease your mind.
1. Breathing Exercises
Breathing is great for regulating mood and emotions. It’s something we take for granted every day, but you can activate the calming response in the body through controlled breathing exercises.
One study into this subject showed that people experienced different breathing patterns depending on the emotion they were feeling. The researchers asked other people to perform the observed breathing patterns and asked how they were feeling. The results found that they felt the corresponding emotions based on the exercise.
With this in mind, one great breathing exercise you can do is as follows:
- Inhale over four seconds
- Hold for a second
- Exhale over eight seconds.
In particular, the longer exhale reduces heart rate and blood pressure, both of which rise when you’re feeling stressed out.
By doing this regularly, it will become a habit that will help you in many aspects in life, not just when you’re feeling stressed.
2. Read A Spiritually Fulfilling Book
There are many benefits of reading a spirituality book. They help you become more aware of the importance of having focus in your life, helps you discover the importance of nurturing the soul, and opens the door to a whole new way of thinking.
They are also great for improving mental health and helping to ease your mind in unsettling times. Those that read spirituality books can stay calm and composed when stressed and can find positives in the situation.
In short, they help you to change your entire thinking process and improve your lifestyle. This Cool Things Chicago guide has some good books to start with if you’re looking to get rid of the stress in your life.
People are often their worst critics. It’s thought that being self-critical can help to become more aware and motivate us to work harder. But this isn’t always the case.
In fact, there’s been a lot of research that shows self-criticism destroys resilience. Beating yourself up over a mistake won’t help you to learn from them. Instead, it’s more likely to cause anxiety and depression, making it even tougher to recover from a struggling situation.
Picture yourself running a marathon for the first time. Halfway in you trip over and fall and someone on the side calls you a loser. That’s what the self-critical person inside you is like.
On the hand, the self-compassionate person inside will tell you that it’s normal to fall over. You can still finish the race.
Self-compassion is about being aware of your emotions when something goes wrong or something unexpected occurs. Rather than identifying with the negativity, you’re merely aware of it.
Adopting this attitude means reduced stress, lower cortisol levels, more resilience and less afraid of failure – all of which enable you to improve.
4. Compassion For Others
Imagine that you’re sitting at a desk at work, you move too quickly and you spill your coffee on your lap. Naturally you’re going to feel annoyed at yourself.
But now imagine that at that same moment you get a phone call from someone in your family that they’re having a real emergency. How does your mindset and overall mood change?
All of a sudden, you’re full of energy and ready to do anything they need. This is what compassion for others does to you.
Your own well increasing dramatically when you help others, whether it’s a small random act of kindness or doing something great for the world. In terms of the body, heart rates decrease and its calming response is activated.
As noted by Harlem World Magazine, these same practices can protect you in unsettling times. A study showed that people lived shorter lives when they’d been subject to traumatic experiences. However, a small sample of people in the study kept on living.
After further investigation, the researchers found that they were helping out their friends and family. It gave them nourishment, inspiration and energy to keep going.
When was the last time you were truly present for another person? Even for your partner?
Feelings of loneliness have a devastating effect on the mind and body. They can lead to a whole world of pain. The stresses of everyday life and lack of calmness may only strengthen these feelings because they force even more self-thinking.
The greatest human need is a positive connection from other people. From birth till the last day on Earth, we all want to feel like we belong. As a species, we feel very calm when this feeling is fulfilled. According to an article at UC Berkeley, relationships and the role of community all have an effect on our resilience, especially during unsettling times.
So, the question is, how do you create that state of mind so you can feel more connected with the people in your life?
Well, start by taking care of yourself and your own wellbeing. When you’re feeling good about yourself, you’re more able to give attention to others. Exuding positive emotions will also help you feel more connected to others.
Easing your mind doesn’t just rely on keeping stress away from your life. Even when you take the time to breathe, connect, and care for others, the negative emotions you’ve been avoiding may reenter your mind.
But even so, it’s alright to feel bad. This is why things like self-compassion and taking the time to read a spiritually fulfilling book have such a positive effect.
You don’t have to be happy every second of every day, but you should be seeking the energy, mindset and support from others to overcome obstacles that come your way.