New This Month

8 Things You Can Do to Instantly Calm Down

woman lying on floor with phone
Photography by: Hero Images/Getty

We can wax poetic about it all we like, but the fact remains: staying calm in the face of stress is easier said than done. Life could be smooth sailing and all of sudden you are walloped by an unexpected foil a moment later. It happens. And sometimes we feel woefully unprepared to deal with the aftermath, let alone properly equipped when it comes down to just establishing equilibrium once more. But, there are instant tips and tricks to help you calm down instantly. Read on to find out how you you can totally unwind in a matter of moments, regardless of the life circumstance.

 

Self Soothing Acupressure Points

Dr. Josh Kantor, kinesiologist and chiropractor explains that the best self-soothing neurovascular points on the body are based on the works of Terrence Bennett. According to Dr. Kantor, “They are located above the center of each eye, one inch above the eyebrow. These points are to be gently held for 3 minutes with one or two fingertips while sitting or lying down. While holding the points think of something peaceful and relaxing. And to take your relaxation one step further, you can combine these therapeutic touch points with a flower essence such as Rescue Remedy is extremely helpful to reset a blown “stress fuse.”

 

Breathing

While obvious, it makes a huge difference. Typically, we breath 16-18 times a minute, but those breaths are shallow according to Dr. Gelb, co-author of GASP!: Airway Health - The Hidden Path To Wellness. The remedy to this, of course, is that we become more aware of our breathing, and make sure we do so deep into our diaphragm. Dr. Kantor suggests, “for 3 minutes a few times a day. Take some deep slow breaths allowing your abdomen to relax and expand (allow your belly to stick out when you breath in). Do this for a inhale count of 2 and an exhale count of 4 with a pause of a few seconds in between. This will relax you and lower your heart rate and blood pressure.” This is practically the easiest way to calm down in any situation.

 

Stretch

When you are feeling out of whack, it could be beneficial to do a couple of stretches. Stretching, as a rule of thumb helps increase blood-flow, relaxes stressed muscles and promotes deep breathing. As we all know, this is pretty crucial.

 

Fulford Exercises

This is Dr. Kantor’s trusty relaxation sidekick. He explains that his most recommended tip for loosening up, which actually comes from Dr. Fulford’s exercise practice. Essentially you sit in an upright chair with your thighs parallel to the floor and the lower part of your leg perpendicular to the floor (basically your legs are in a 90-degree position). Bend over, placing your elbows on the inside of your knees and your hands between your feet: turn your palms away from each other, tuck your fingers under the arch of each foot and your thumb over the top of the foot. Let your spine fully stretch in this position. Breath slowly and fully for five minutes. Do this once a day and you’ll notice that walking is much easier, you can stand up straighter, and your back will feel lighter.

 

Earlier Bedtimes and Earlier Wake up Calls

Dr. Kantor also suggests a less obvious lifestyle change which will help you be calmer long-term. And by this we mean, early to bed and early to rise. If you get more sleep and avoid the morning rush, your days will unfold more easily.

 

Eat Breakfast

Not so obvious, but for those of us who forget to eat when we are stressed it’s important to note. Dr. Kantor explains, “Skipping breakfast is not a good way to start the day. When your blood sugar levels drop your body becomes stressed. Your brain is first on the list for fuel. Feed your body and refuel your brain. That cranky feeling you get when your blood sugar drops is incredibly stressful on the body (re: why we get hangry).”

 

Cut Caffeine

Because obviously. But, heed this advice: When your body is tasked to perform, it roduces cortisol, the primary stress hormone. While you may be thinking that cortisol is the bad guy here, you actually need it to make quick decisions. Adding caffeine on top of that need to perform makes you jittery and anxious, which can prevent you from making those much needed quick decisions. Try to limit yourself to one cup of coffee or tea a day to ensure that you're still able to perform under pressure, but not making matter worse by having too much caffeine.  

 

Take Daily Supplements

Oats milky seed extract, L-theanine, valerian root, Magnesium, Kava Kava, Chamomile tea, and Passion flower are all known to help with ushering in calmness. Try adding one or more of these to your daily regimine to notice a more Zen-like attitude toward stress.