7 Simple Ways To Calm Your Sh*t When You Feel Overwhelmed
Sometimes, we get caught up in the moment, and the stresses of everyday life can get the best of us.
We get all worked up about a given situation and need help to return to mental homeostasis. I've found numerous techniques to help in that process, which I'll share with you now.
Feel free to use all, some or none of them. It's your life — who the hell am I to tell you what to do?
1. Listen to soothing music
When I need a breather or a stress-reliever, I listen to jazz music -- maybe the "Whiplash" soundtrack, but without a chair getting hurled at my head. Think piano, jazz or coffeehouse vibes — or classical, like Beethoven or Bach.
I have my best creative explosions and ideas when I listen to soothing music. Honestly, you can listen to whatever you want as long as it helps take your mind off the stressor at hand.
You can listen to the ambient sounds of the ocean or the falling drops of rain (as long as it doesn't make you fall asleep at your desk at your customer service job).
Music can be beneficial for relaxation and idea generation.
2. Write it out
If something or someone is bothering you, write it out. Write about the entire situation, using every detail, leaving no stone unturned.
But, never share it with anyone. This process is specifically for you to rant and rave when your therapist is on vacation in Bermuda.
If you're going through a breakup or are just pissed off, write about it. Write a letter to the person you're upset with and destroy him or her with your words.
Say whatever you want to say in this letter. You want to call someone a hobgoblin? Go right ahead.
Once you get that all out, destroy the letter and empty the trashcan. Never send it. Getting it all out helps you to release the tension you've been holding within.
The act of writing it out gives you the outlet to speak freely.
3. Go for a walk
The best way to calm yourself down is to disconnect from your worries by taking a walk.
Literally, walk out of the situation, recollect your thoughts, and then return after you've calmed down.
During this time, you allow yourself to think and escape whatever the problem is. It's also during this time you allow yourself to process instead of just react.
Sometimes, we act out of emotion and say things we shouldn't. Take the time during your walk to think about what you should and shouldn't say. Also, during this time, allow yourself to take in the world around you.
The walk can lead to appreciation of the outside world and what's going on in the here and now.
If you feel like you need to get away, stand up and say, “Excuse me for a moment.” Maybe you can't leave the building, but you can go in the bathroom, splash some water on your face, and get it back together.
4. Seek out a dog
Let me explain: Dogs, at least for me, bring a sudden rush of joy. When I'm in a garbage mood, walking down the street, internally screaming, “Woe is me,” and I see a dog wagging his tail or giving people paws, my mood instantly changes.
It's as if I was in a black-and-white movie that immediately transformed into color. Everything looks brighter when I see a dog.
Dogs don't worry about their relationships, finances or careers. All they want is to be loved, just like we all do. It reminds me to stop and appreciate what is happening around me.
Now, for the record, I'm not telling you to go run outside and chase after people's dogs yelling, “HEY! You! Let me hug your dog!” But, the sight of a dog might make you realize whatever you're stressing about isn't the end of the world.
If you have a dog, take the time to hug the dog. Your furry friend will love it, and it'll bring you back down to earth.
Don't like dogs? Find a cat. Allergic to animals? Find a sock monkey.
5. Work out
Sweat out your problems. Nothing beats stress like going for a run or hitting the gym. Take out whatever it is that's bothering you on the treadmill, the weight rack or the myriad of machines.
If you're into kickboxing, mixed martial arts or wrestling, take it out on the boxing bag or your partner (without hurting him or her, of course).
Specifically, don't hurt the bag. They're expensive — and what did it ever do to you?
Running or jogging to get out of your head is a tactic many athletes use before they compete. It removes the worry and puts you in the moment to focus on the activity at hand.
Literally, just get up and dance. Turn on a pop song, like “Uptown Funk” or “Shake It Off,” and just lose control of your body. Shake your butt, slide across the floor and shimmy into every room.
Focus on shaking out every part of your body, as if you were an inflatable man/air dancer in a used car lot, and today is the blowout sale of the year.
Sing the lyrics while you do it and forget about your problems. All that matters right now is dancing like it's the end of the world.
Stop what you're doing and think about where you want to be in life. Think about your goals and your dreams: Who do you want to be? Where would you like to live? Be as specific as possible in this thought process.
Make sure to live out the moment in your head by paying attention to every detail.
If you want to be an artist, imagine how the canvas or the paintbrush feels. Picture your work in an art gallery displayed for hundreds to see.
If you want to be a writer, imagine your words on the paper and the feel of the pencil in your hand, or your fingers on the keyboard. Picture your books on shelves in stores and websites around the world.
If you want to be an actor, envision yourself memorizing your lines, getting into character and then on the big screen or center stage in a Broadway production, giving the greatest performance of your life.
Whatever it may be, picture it in your head and make it the greatest thing in the world. In this visualization, everything you want can and will come true. You are the king or queen of your world in this visualization.
Sometimes, when you imagine your goals and dreams happening, the universe works with you to make them come true.
Practice some of these techniques and get out of your head.