Is there anything worse than someone telling you to, “Calm down” when you’re stressed out? I don’t know about you, but if I’m upset or angry or frustrated (or likely all 3 at the same time with some hungry mixed in there) nothing makes the situation go from a 5 to a 10 on the “I Can’t Handle It” scale like being told to, “Just relax. Take a deep breath.” If chilling out was as simple as just saying I should, I would have done that a long time ago!
The truth is, we all get stressed out from time to time, about school, work, relationships, or any number of other triggers. But how can you calm down if being told to, “Take a Chill Pill” doesn’t work for you? Here are 3 quick fixes that will help you relax and might make a stressful situation a little easier to handle.
1. The 3 Minute Rule. This is a trick a learned from a swim coach back in high school that I still use (or try to anyways). His rule was that you had 3 minutes after a race to talk about it, cry about it, yell about it, brag about it, or whatever about it. Then you had to zip it and move on to the next race. This taught me to spend a few minutes getting in touch with my feelings (whether good or bad), let them out, and then start focusing on the future. Dwelling on something, especially something negative, doesn’t do you any good. But neither does holding it in. If you’ve had a frustrating day at work or the cashier at the grocery store was rude to you, try putting a time limit on expressing your anger. Set a timer on your phone for 3 minutes, complain about your issue non-stop for your allotted time, and then when 3 minutes is up press stop. Let it out and then let it go.
2. Screenshot It. Every time you see a picture, quote, or just anything that makes you smile online snap a screenshot. It could be anything from cute puppy photos to something weird you saw on Twitter. Then when you’re feeling down, scroll through your photos for a little bit of instant inspiration. Nothing get rid of stress like a good giggle.
3. Scrunch Your Toes. When I was little my mom taught me to do this weird thing to help me fall asleep. I still do it sometimes when I really need to chill out. You start by scrunching up your toes as tight as you can while you count to ten. Then you tighten all the muscles in your legs for ten, then your tummy, then your arms . . . all the way up your body to your forehead. Then, for the grand finale, you scrunch up every part of your body as tight as you can and count to ten. Then when you let go you take a big breath in and out. You will feel better. I promise.
I hope these tips help make your day a little more stress-free!