Shit often hits the fan in the usual “my life is crashing in front of my eyes and everything I have ever worked for is a sham” type-a-way. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect at everything and when one thing goes wrong it can send us spiraling into a ball of stress and day one period emotion.
Though these moments feel like the end of everything, they usually are not. And stressing about them can cause a lot more harm than good. There are plenty of simple practices for calming down when you lose your cool - here are three of our tested favorites.
1. Get out - Go for a walk, run, or bike ride.
Leave the space you are freaking in and clear your mind - Not only will it feel good to leave the moment of tension behind, exercise releases endorphins and decreases anxiety,
When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. Or, if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers — and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout.
2. Take a few meditative breaths
Buddhists, yoga practitioners, and eastern healers have believed for hundreds of years that the breath is the foundation of our life force and energy. Today, studies show that breathing exercises can actually improve cognitive function, encourage positive thought processes, and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.
3. Find the source of the anxiety - pin point it - sit with it - figure out why you are feeling that way.
This can be a really hard exercise when you are first beginning. When you become stressed out - you enter a flight or fight mode. The blood in your body flows to your extremities, not to your brain, so it can be hard to understand what triggered you in a given situation.
If you follow the steps above first, it should settle your heart rate and allow you to think more clearly about the situation. Often times, we get so consumed by our ego that we cannot see the situation from another perspective. For example, let’s say your boss yells at you in front of the office about a small error in a project you have been working on. You are angry at him for embarrassing you in front of the office and for handling the situation so inappropriately. This is completely valid and something you deserve to feel upset about. You made a minor error, and your boss reprimanded you in a childish way. It is not the error you are upset about - it is your boss humiliating you.
Once you have pin pointed that, you can identify that he may be having a bad day, or you may be working for the wrong company, or maybe your boss got yelled at by his boss and feels sorry for treating you that way. Regardless of these points, the stressor in this situation is not life or death and can be dealt with reasoning once your flight or fight subsides.
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