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Five Ways to Instantly Feel Calmer

03/09/2014 13:03 BST | Updated 02/11/2014 10:59 GMT

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As a human being in this hectic modern world, chances are, you know what it's like to feel stressed, or even anxious.

And you're not alone; the International Stress Management Association found that 50% of those in work experienced some stress within a year. In terms of anxiety, 5% of us suffer while a further 10% experience depression and anxiety together.

As an expert on hypnotherapy for anxiety and stress, I've collected 5 tried and tested ways to help you to feel calmer almost instantly.

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Distract yourself

Decide that when you notice anxious or stressful thoughts or feelings, that you don't need to engage with them. By continuing to focus on or ruminate over the bad feeling or sense of being overwhelmed, we give them more energy and validation. When you next notice such a thought or feeling cropping up, tell yourself loudly 'STOP' and quickly engage yourself in something else. Take 5 minutes and get out of the situation you're in. Exercise can be really helpful for distracting attention as well as producing feel good hormones. Or, try calling a friend, going for a brisk walk, listening to a favourite song, or practising focusing on your breathing. You may find that the anxiety is forgotten once you've given yourself some time and mental space to see things more rationally.

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Keep a Journal

Writing down our thoughts and feelings is so simple, but so effective. It helps us to 'get things out' on paper, as well as allowing us to see things with a clearer perspective, once it's written out in front of us in black and white. Write a stream of consciousness; as any thoughts pops into your mind, get it down on paper. This can be useful to do before bed if you suffer with insomnia, or in the morning to clear your mind before work.

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Your thoughts are not facts

It's very natural to 'believe' the thoughts in our heads as though they must be true. For example, if you have the thought', 'I'm not good enough' or "I can't cope with this', believing the thought can lead to feelings or worthlessness, negativity and overwhelm. Be aware that; 'your thoughts are not facts'. Our anxious, stressed out minds have an amazing tendency to twist and distort things and if you're having an excessively negative thought, chances are, it's not really true. Write down the negative thoughts that you have so that you are ready to 'catch' them when they pop up and recognise them as the distortions that they are.

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Calm your subconscious mind

Many of our responses to stressful events are dictated by subconscious beliefs, thought patterns and habits that we may have learned or taken on board throughout our lives. By speaking directly to the subconscious, deeper part of your mind, it's possible to make changes to the way you respond in stressful situations. Enter your details at www.calmer-me.com to get a free relaxation recording to help you to do just that.

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Breathe

Slow, deep breathing has a physiological effect on the nervous system, helping you to feel calmer instantly. As you breathe in, imagine your belly expanding like a balloon and as you exhale, imagine that it deflates. Breathe in for a count of 3 and then out for 5. This ratio is important, since lengthening the out breath helps to active the parasympathetics nervous system, getting us into rest and digest mode, the opposite of fight or flight.

Incorporating these 'tools' into your daily life can help you to gain perspective and regain control over your own mind. Make a note of these points or print out this page and take it with you, so that you can manage stress or anxiety wherever you are.

For more practical tips and details of hypnotherapy for anxiety see www.calmer-me.com

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