How to relax nerves

How to Calm Down Fast

When stress, anxiety or fear flare up, these 9 techniques help keep you calmer.

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We all get stressed and agitated sometimes. It’s a product of our busy, over-scheduled lives and living with circumstances we can’t control.

When you’re stressed or anxious, it causes your body to release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can increase how stressed you feel. You may also feel other symptoms, like headaches, dizziness and depression. Long term stress can negatively affect your weight, heart and chronic health conditions. In addition to your physical health, untreated stress can have a negative effect on other areas of your life, including your mental health, professional life and social relationships.

When you’re feeling stressed, anxious, scared or nervous – or you have the urge to lash out – the last thing you want to hear someone say is, “Just calm down.” That never works. But here are 9 calming techniques that do work – and they work quickly at that.

  • Just breathe. Breathing seems like the most natural thing in the world. But there are ways to breathe mindfully that help calm our bodies and minds almost instantly. The 4-7-8 breathing technique, known as a “relaxing breath,” is especially effective:
          • Breathe in quietly through your nose for 4 seconds
          • Hold the breath for 7 seconds
          • Exhale forcefully through your mouth with a “whooshing” sound for 8 seconds
          • Repeat as needed
  • Close your eyes and count to 10 slowly. It really works! If you need more time, count to 20 or count backwards once you reach whatever number you are counting up to. Just taking a few minutes to concentrate on something other than your stress will do wonders for your mood.
  • Chew a piece of gum. Studies show that the slow, methodical act of chewing gum keeps blood flowing to the brain, allowing you to concentrate better and keep a level head during a bout of anxiety. It also helps you resist the urge to reach for a less-healthy option, like a pint of ice cream or a cocktail, when you’re stressed.
  • Phone a friend – preferably a funny one. Touching base with someone you love can provide instant calm. Laughing is proven to release endorphins, the “feel-good chemicals” in our brains that help release tension and elevate overall mood.
  • Smell lavender. Light a lavender candle or soak in a lavender bubble bath. In aromatherapy, lavender is one of the stars of stress-relief, along with chamomile, rose, ylang-ylang and citrus.
  • Curl up with your cat or dog. Just 10 minutes of petting your furry pal can reduce stress hormones and promote a feeling of calmness.
  • Listen to calming music. Cue up your favorite tune, but nothing with a frantic beat or depressing lyrics. Then sit back, close your eyes and concentrate on the words and the rhythm. Go ahead and sing along if you wish. Studies show singing releases endorphins.
  • Exercise your body. Physical activity of any kind helps release stress. Take a 15-minute timeout for a brisk walk around the neighborhood; the fresh air will also help clear your head. If you’re stuck indoors, try a few reps of jumping jacks, jog up and down the stairs or take a spin on your exercise bike.
  • Exercise your mind and spirit. Practice yoga, meditate, get a massage, write in your journal, give yourself a pedicure or take a relaxing nap.

If you find these calming techniques aren’t helpful, explore other methods that may provide longer-term relief for your stress and anxiety. Eat right, avoid alcohol and caffeine, exercise regularly, always get enough sleep, and if needed, consider making an appointment with a mental health professional.

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Date Last Reviewed: November 13, 2020

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How to calm your nerves: 7 quick ways


© Chester Wade/Unsplash

Author Uliana Smirnova

August 30, 2021

RBC Style shares proven methods that will help relieve emotional stress and calm down in a matter of minutes

Stressful situations happen to people almost daily. Lack of time, difficulties at work, illness of loved ones - all this can unbalance. At such moments, the heartbeat quickens, adrenaline is released, muscles tense up, breathing gets out of hand. However, the possibilities of the nervous system are not unlimited - its defenses are gradually depleted.

Prolonged stress can weaken the immune system, provoke nervous breakdowns, upset the psyche. According to doctors, many diseases arise precisely on the basis of nerves. For example, diabetes and bronchial asthma. Some experts even find a link between stress and cancer.

Protecting yourself from nervous situations is almost impossible. But learning to manage your emotions and relieve stress is quite real. Meditation, yoga and proper nutrition help a lot with this. But what about when you need to quickly pull yourself together? The main task in this state is to reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood. We talk about the most effective methods that will help calm the nervous system and return to a familiar state in a short time.

1. Restore your breathing

A five-minute deepening of the breath will help reduce the level of adrenaline and relieve tension. The best-known method is to slowly count to ten or twenty while controlling your inhalation and exhalation. Straighten your back and straighten your shoulders. Breathe slowly, without jerks, concentrating on each breath. Try to stretch the exhalation and make it longer than the inhalation. After each respiratory cycle, there is a short pause of 3-5 seconds. This exercise increases attention, calms the nervous system and reduces stress. If you feel discomfort or dizziness, return to your usual breathing rhythm.

© Natalia Figueredo/Unsplash

2. Create a virtual image

The adrenaline rush will stop if you take your mind off the stressful situation and start thinking about something else. This method is useful when you are provoked to an outburst of aggression. Start remembering the multiplication table, your favorite poem, phone numbers and friends' birthdays. It is even better to connect the imagination and visualize thoughts, presenting them in the form of pictures, colored and as detailed as possible. Try to mentally draw a cozy cafe or sea coast. Try to feel how the water gently touches your body and takes away negative emotions. If possible, take a comfortable position, relax and close your eyes. To calm down, 4-5 minutes will be enough.

3. Go for a swim or shower

A warm, powerful shower will not only relax your muscles and improve circulation, but also calm your nerves. And half an hour in the pool will relieve stress after a working day. Another way to relieve emotional stress is to turn on your favorite music and take a hot bath. The effect will be enhanced if you add a few drops of soothing chamomile, lavender, tangerine or lemon balm essential oil to the water. If there is no time for long water procedures, wet your hands and run wet palms over your face, neck and shoulders. Cold water well tones the skin and soothes the nerve receptors. Alternatively, you can use a rose water spray to help freshen up.

© Robson Hatsukami/Unsplash

4. Turn on the music and dance

Any physical activity can restore mental balance. For example, a half-hour run in the fresh air or an intense workout in the gym. Instead of exercise, you can dance, go for a walk, play badminton, or do some cleaning. During such a load, the brain produces neurotransmitters that are responsible for a good mood and reduce anxiety. It is the body's response to muscle stress. Scientists say that regular exercise is an excellent prevention of depression. And improving the appearance and physical performance will be a nice bonus.

5. Make tea with honey

A glass of clean water will help you quickly restore a normal heart rate and relax. You need to drink slowly - in short sips, taking short breaks between them. In addition to water, hot tea with dessert helps to cope with anxiety and irritation. Swallowing movements calm the nerves, and sweet stimulates the production of “happiness hormones”. At the same time, it is better to replace cookies and sweets with healthy treats. For example, honey, dried fruits or dark chocolate. The latter is good at removing cortisol and catecholamines that cause stress. You can add ginger root, a sprig of oregano, a few mint leaves or jasmine flowers to the drink - these additives are known for their calming effect.

© Rawpixel/Unsplash

6. Do a light self-massage

A good massage therapist will quickly relieve nervous tension and eliminate muscle clamps. If a professional master does not have time for a session, a relaxing massage can be done on your own. A large number of nerve endings are concentrated in the head. Wash your hands thoroughly, sit on a chair and start massaging your temples in smooth circular motions. Gradually move on to the scalp. The fingertips should slide freely over the surface (in the direction of hair growth) and not stretch the skin. Properly performed ten-minute massage improves blood circulation, relieves stress and normalizes sleep. In addition, it stimulates hair growth and strengthens hair follicles.

7. Start a personal diary

You can relieve accumulated stress with paper and a pen. Stay alone with yourself, take a blank sheet and write about an unpleasant event. When everything is ready, it is recommended to burn or tear the written paper. You can keep a permanent personal diary - in a beautiful notebook or laptop. So you can rethink the situation and quickly get rid of destructive emotions. Moreover, the more written on paper, the less disturbing thoughts will remain in your head. This method is especially useful for those who are used to restraining their emotions and words.

© Annie Spratt/Unsplash

In addition, anti-stress coloring books or regular children's coloring books help to cope with nerves. This is one of the most popular forms of art therapy.

How to calm your nerves and get rid of stress

How to calm your nerves and get rid of stress
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Getting rid of stress is not going to work at all. After all, stress is a normal physiological and psychological adaptive reaction of the body. He mobilizes when decisive action is required, helps the body to adapt to changing circumstances. But sometimes the “red light” fails and starts to light up too often - we are too nervous, for minor reasons.

Such stress, on the contrary, “paralyzes”, worsens the quality of life and deprives the ability to act effectively. For example, every student would like to pass exams without stress, using their full potential. But in order to learn how to manage your stress response, you need to try.

Helping Yourself: What Psychologists Say

  • Identify sources of stress and “deal with” them. So, it is useless to fight the stress itself - it is a reaction. Try to figure out what circumstances in life lead you to it. Sit down and make a list of "My Sources of Stress" so you know "enemies in the face."
  • Accept that you can't control everything that happens. Yes, something bad can happen to anyone, it is impossible to protect yourself from everything. But if you accept this fact, you can save yourself from unnecessary stress.
  • Separate real fears from imaginary ones. Our fears can be conditionally divided into real (life, health, loss of habitual well-being) and “virtual” (“I think that this person treats me badly…”, “I’m afraid to talk to…”, “If I leave the house and I don’t look in the mirror, something bad will happen”, “I will never find a new job if I lose this one”, etc. ).
    Some "terrible" attitudes are so firmly planted in our heads that we do not even try to check them for reality. Separate your sources of tension from the list into real fears and far-fetched attitudes.
  • Stay positive. Easy to say, you thought. Yes, inexhaustible optimism by nature is not given to everyone. But a positive attitude towards life can be developed as a skill. Review your list of stressors again and look for the positives where possible. If something is especially scary, think of a plan B - "What can I do if this happens?".
  • Be assertive, not aggressive. Strive for real results, avoid empty conflicts. Actively defend your feelings and beliefs without falling into passive anger.
  • Find time for a hobby. Be sure to include in your schedule activities that bring you pleasure and fill life with meanings that are important to you personally.
  • Be with significant people. A person is social, he needs contact with loved ones, as well as participation in joint detail (work in a team, interest groups). Loneliness is one of the most popular causes of negative experiences.

How to develop physiological resistance?

  • Eat right and exercise. Yes, these banal rules work here too. The intensity and spectrum of experiences are determined by biochemistry. Vitamin-rich nutrition and physical activity contribute to the production of “positive” hormones and neurotransmitters, with them any events are experienced easier.
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. If the body does not have time to recover and rest, it is simply not able to adequately respond to what is happening around.
  • Avoid bad habits. Drinking alcohol, smoking and overeating only relieve the condition for a short time. After many, a phenomenon occurs that can be called the pendulum effect - it gets worse, which is physiologically determined and associated with the work of the dopamine system of the body.
  • Take special vitamins. You can increase your body's resistance to stress by taking special vitamin complexes or supplements.
    • B vitamins improve metabolism and maintain general tone, and together with L-tryptophan are used by the brain to produce serotonin.
    • Taking dietary supplements with soothing herbal ingredients (hawthorn, valerian, lemon balm, hop extract) helped people even before the invention of synthetic tranquilizers.
    • We should also mention St. John's wort, which is called a natural antidepressant. Its reception can relieve the condition even with headaches.
      The listed substances can be taken separately, or as part of a single complex, for example, the CONSUMED Antistress complex.
  • Use relaxation techniques. Everything is individual here - yoga and meditation are suitable for someone, breathing techniques are suitable for someone, someone swims, and someone sings or crochets. If only it worked.
  • Walk in the fresh air and the sun. Oxygen and ultraviolet are "friends" of a good mood. And the movement itself, as we know, is life.

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