If there’s one thing I am it’s an anxious person. What is a seemingly normal occurrence for other people can be overwhelming for me. So over the years I have developed a few ‘calming practices’ when I feel stressed/overwhelmed or the panic is rising.
These may not work for everybody, after all, people respond to situations differently but these are just what work for me.
Yeah, I know you’re thinking “well, obviously” but when I say breathing I use a specific pattern that forces me to calm down and my heart to stop beating at a hundred miles per hour. I call it the 4-7-8 pattern and if you really concentrate on doing it properly it most certainly works.
First, breathe in for 4 counts (draw in deeply) then hold that for 7 counts. Next exhale for 8 counts. Repeat as much as you need.
I’m not exactly sure of the science behind this but it’s very helpful and it works so that’s enough for me!
Use anything to distract your thoughts. Run through song lyrics, read your car manual, sing, run on the spot while counting in your head. Fill your mind with something else to block out those overwhelming thoughts. Once you’re over the initial panic you can revisit your thoughts from a more calm perspective.
I mostly use this tactic at night when it’s silent and unwanted thoughts creep into my mind. I put on some music and try and concentrate on listening to that. Jazz music, white noise, acoustic and Disney soundtracks are my favourite. Audio books are great too!
I’m lucky enough to live in the beautiful hills so one thing I’ve found to be very calming is to go for a drive around. When I set out I usually have no set route or destination, I just go. There’s something about the motion of the car I think and nice scenery that really sets me at ease. I also have pretty much all my best creative ideas while driving!
The most important tactic for me is to pray. Sometimes that means just a quick ‘help me!’ and sometimes it’s a lay down on the floor and pour out everything kind of scenario. Whatever it is I know that God will hear me and give me the peace that surpasses all understanding.
As I said before everyone is different and may find other tactics are useful when stressed out. What are some of the things that work for you? What doesn’t work for you? I’d love to know what things calm you and maybe try some of your suggestions!