Easy, simple and sometimes goofy ways to calm yourself down.
When people are stressed, they freak out in different ways.
If you're experiencing one of these freak-outs, here are some relaxation tips to try. See which ones work for you:
1. Wiggle your fingers and toes.
Then your elbows and knees. Then your shoulders and pelvis. Then your neck and chest. Repeat. This will unfreeze you.
2. Switch what you are doing with your hands.
If you are holding your phone in your right hand, put it in your left hand. This is called a pattern interrupt. It sends your brain in a totally different direction and might even make you laugh.
3. Draw with your non-dominant hand.
Just scribble. Again, it totally short-circuits your brain, in a really good way.
4. Count to 10.
Every time you think of something else besides the next number, start again at 1. If you make it to 10, keep going.
5. Check your belly button.
See if you can move your belly button when you breathe in. Put your hand over it to check.
6. Do breathing exercises.
Breathe in slowly while counting for 5+ seconds before you exhale. If you can’t quite reach 5, see how close you can get.
7. Pretend you are ooey gooey caramel syrup.
Imagine you're dri-i-i-i-i-p-p-p-ping over ice cream or running along a piece of chocolate cake. Move some part of your body like this.
And maybe even hum with your inner voice a sound that the caramel syrup might make that is in rhythm with the motion.
8. Jump up and down in place.
Even if they are itty bitty tiny jumps, this usually has an effect.
9. Hug yourself.
Hold your arms around you and embrace yourself, pull your arms in firmly (if you are in public you can do it by embracing your hands) and with an inside voice say, "I’m here with you." Say it several times.
10. Think about your pet.
Imagine your favorite pet is here with you right now. How would it make you feel better? Imagine kissing or being kissed, cuddling, snuggling, or playing fetch.
And if all else fail, try this: If the activity you’re in the middle of is what’s stressing you out, take a break. For at least 20 minutes. And try to not even think about it (although might be easier said than done), so the adrenaline coursing through your veins can metabolize.
The biggest trick to relaxing when you’re freaked out is simply to notice you’re stressed in the first place. Once you notice, there are all sorts of calming strategies to use.
Laureli Shimayo is a body psychology coach empowering people in leadership, life and love. She reads the energy in eyes, facial micro-movements, gestures, and posture to recognize underlying patterns and open expansive solutions.