In this era of hectic schedules, sky-high expectations, and a constant bombardment of information from media, most people are stressed. But finding even small oasis of inner calm can feel like a gargantuan task when life is racing by at light speed.
While it's important to try to find a balance in life, sometimes getting overwhelmed and stressed isn't something people can avoid. However, there are ways to find an inner calm and bring a sense of self back to the present moment. Karen Hall Ph.D. says, "Self-soothing is part of finding a middle ground, a gray area, between being detached or numb and experiencing an emotional crisis or upheaval."
Here are seven ways people of any age can soothe themselves.
Sure, you’re breathing already, since you’re alive, but likely you’re breathing shallowly and quickly. At the minimum, consciously take some slow, deep breaths to relieve the tension in your body. Or try “alternate nostril breathing,” recommends PsychCentral. Hold one nostril closed, for example, the right, and breathe in through the left. Release the right and pinch the left nostril to breathe out through the right.
Take a nap
Lack of sleep can exacerbate stress and make people more irritable and less able to function in day-to-day life. Getting sufficient sleep at night should be a major goal for everyone. The National Sleep Foundation says that your body boosts stress hormones when you don't get enough sleep.
While you can't turn back the clock and get better sleep last night, you can carve out a few minutes to take a quick nap. Lying down for a short 20-minute nap, particularly with a soft and cozy blanket and pillow in a quiet space can help lower tension, according to the foundation.
Put your hand on your heart
Help yourself let go of the stuff you’re taking to heart by putting your hand on your chest. “Just as mothers console their babies by patting their chest, you can put your hand over your heart to calm yourself,” notes Psychology Today.
Watch your thoughts
How you talk to yourself in your head has a powerful effect on mood and outlook. The Mayo Clinic reports positive self-talk can ease stress, help you cope in difficult times, reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and lower depression.
A good way to start being more positive in your inner dialogue is to identify what part of your life you're usually the most negative about. Then, stop periodically throughout the day and analyze the tone of your thoughts. Correct those thoughts as needed says the Mayo Clinic.
Practice yoga or meditation
The components of moving through poses, controlling breathing and meditating can help reduce stress and anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic. One of the most important health benefits from yoga is the calming effect it has on the nervous system, notes Psychology Today. The controlled breathing and required concentration help to relax the muscles and fight inflammation.
Ask for support from people you trust
Human beings are social animals. Families, circles of friends and professionals are available for all levels of support. The Psychiatry Journal notes the impact a high-quality social support system can have on the individual. They say that having this social need met increases the resiliency to mental illness and helps combat it when it does affect an individual.
When you express feelings and concerns to someone who cares about you, they can validate your feelings and help you to fully feel and release them when you’re ready.
With the majority of American jobs taking place inside a building, it's hard to find time to spend in the great outdoors, especially in scenes void of concrete. The American Heart Association says there is a huge correlation between time spent in nature and decreased stress levels. "Nature presents scenes that gently capture your attention instead of suddenly snatching it, calming your nerves instead of frazzling them."
So next time the world is just too much to handle, find your nearest nature walk or hiking trail and take a little walk. Leave your phone in your pocket and just focus on the present moment.
Though there are many ways to self-soothe as an adult and even for children, it's important to find the way that works best for you. Give each method a try and see what your preference is for calming down.
To get the ultimate comforting experience, climb into bed with a plush, snuggly blanket from Minky Couture.