8 Curious Ways to Stay Calm in Stressful Situations, Backed up by Science
Stress can play a part in many health problems, including headaches, heart issues, and even diabetes, so it’s important that we try to reduce it as much as we can. Some techniques and exercises can help us achieve a more well-balanced, happier life and can also calm our anxious thoughts when nothing else seems to work.
We at Bright Side know how hard it can be to keep our cool when we’re anxious and panicking, so we made a list of life hacks that are proven to work in these situations.
1. Try some active breathing techniques.
If you find it hard to just sit still and take deep breaths when you’re stressed, you can try out some more active breathing techniques. For example, you can start by placing 2 of your fingers under or on the bridge of your nose and taking a few deep breaths. Another exercise is to hold your ears while you are doing the breath work, and you can even cross your arms in front of your chest for some extra comfort.
2. Put salt on your tongue.
This trick might seem a bit unconventional, but it can work well, according to experts. You only need to put a small amount of salt on your tongue, and the taste can divert your attention from racing thoughts. It will also make you want to drink some water, which can also help with calming your anxiety.
3. Put something cold, like frozen vegetables or an ice pack, on your chest.
Another anti-anxiety hack that is very simple and accessible is icing your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve runs from your head down to your chest, and it plays a very important role in regulating the nervous system.
You can cool this nerve by taking cold showers, dunking your face in ice water, or putting an ice pack on your chest and keeping it there for a few minutes. And to make the experience more comfortable, you can wrap your ice pack or frozen veggies in a towel before placing it on your chest.
4. Try out some grounding exercises.
If you don’t like cold things touching your body, you can try out this very simple grounding exercise. All you need is a chair. Sit on the chair, remove your shoes and your socks, and press your feet into the ground while taking deep breaths and closing your eyes. Notice how pressing against the chair and the floor feels while you try to clear your head from any unwanted thoughts.
5. Put an ice cube in your palm and hold onto it.
This is another trick that you only need some ice or something cold for. Open your palm and put an ice cube into it, then fold your fingers into a fist. The very cold sensation will distract you and force you to get out of your head, focusing on the coldness of the ice instead.
6. Use a jump rope for a few minutes.
If you’re feeling restless and jittery, trying to relax and take deep breaths in one place might be impossible. Instead, you can grab a jump rope and skip around for a few minutes. This little workout can reduce anxiety and allows you to detach from your thoughts. Finding your rhythm and focusing on the precision of your jumps can almost get you in a meditative state.
7. Try the butterfly hug.
You can do this exercise while standing, sitting, or even laying down. To start, you need to cross your hands over your chest, your fingers resting on your upper arms or shoulders. You can close your eyes while you are alternating the movements of your hands, copying the flapping wings of a butterfly. During the movements, focus on your breathing or the sensations around you, repeating them until you feel calmer.
8. Relax your tongue to calm anxious thoughts.
This is another technique that involves only your tongue. To start, close your eyes and press your tongue against the roof of your mouth for a few seconds. Then let your tongue fall and touch the floor of your mouth. Allow your tongue to relax and if it tenses up again, then repeat the steps.
What is your go-to hack in stressful situations? Share your tricks and tips with us in the comment section below!