8 Tools You Need Now To Feel Calmer
Stress and anxiety have reached new peaks during this Covid pandemic. Life was tough enough already, right? If you have been struggling with emotions, stress, anxiety, life in general, these 8 simple practical strategies to deal with it will revolutionise your life.
Marina Passalaris, Founder of Beautiful Minds, shared her 8 favourite short practices to deal with overwhelm and stop feeling stressed.
Why do they work?
When you go into obsessive thinking, due to stress or anxiety, you activate your sympathetic nervous system. This system is the body’s biological reaction to danger, it prepares you for fight or flight situations: your heart beats faster, your muscles tense up, your hands start sweating. When you anchor yourself into the present moment, with mindfulness tools, you set off the parasympathetic nervous system. This system restores the body to a state of calm: your heartbeat reduces, your muscles relax, you can think clearly again.
YOU have TOTAL CONTROL over your parasympathetic nervous system which means you have TOTAL CONTROL OVER YOUR EMOTIONS.
Don’t believe me? Try any of these 8 amazing tools to control your stress levels:
Tool #1 5 senses check-in
If you are focused on the here and now, your mind can’t be overwhelmed by the past and the future. The 5 senses check-in is a simple mindfulness tool to turn on your five senses and turn off any negativity and overthinking.
Start breathing more slowly and lengthen your inhalations and exhalations…
Begin with your eyes open…
Look around the room, think about what you see, the shapes, the shadows, the colours.
Now close your eyes…
Breathe in deeply. What can you smell? Let these smells go through your nose and reach your mind.
Listen carefully. What can you hear, both inside and outside the room you are in?
Now move your tongue around your mouth and feel every one of your teeth.
Lastly, what are you touching with your body? Focus on the feeling of your clothes against your skin, the ground underneath your feet, your fingers touching each other.
Do the 5 senses check-in practice mindfully and you will trigger the vagus nerves, your body’s relaxation response.
This is a first-rate tool if you suffer from depression or are easily overwhelmed by external stimuli.
Tool #2 The calm palm
The calm palm is an easy technique to focus on the present. It forces your raging mind to STOP and it’s the equivalent of catching a breath of fresh air for an overworked and overwhelmed brain.
Start by taking some good solid breathes, in and out.
Pop your left palm in front of your face, as close as possible. With the index finger of your right hand, in complete silence and slowly, trace around your left hand. Focus on what you feel while you go around the hand and nothing else.
This tool is so powerful because it’s with you 24/7. Any time you start to feel like it’s getting too much, find a quiet part of the home, go to the garden, if you are in school, put your hands under the desk or go to the bathroom. Do the calm palm for a couple of times until you are calmer.
Tool #3 Holding ice
As the name says, grab two pieces of ice, one in each hand, and don’t let go until they are fully melted.
Why ice? It has two advantages:
- It quickly starts to burn and tingle. This burning feeling takes you out of your head and into the present. It’s powerfully grounding.
- When you are about to go into a panic attack, your temperature rises. The cold ice lowers your temperature.
What’s more, you can find ice pretty much anywhere nowadays, making it a tool you can rely on.
This technique it’s very powerful to help stop a child that self-harms or a teen that suffers from depression.
Tool #4 Meditation
Research shows that 15 minutes of meditation a day reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer development, memory loss and so many more health benefits. Doesn’t matter which of the several meditation techniques you choose, they all work.
Meditation reduces the production of cholesterol, the stress hormone, and instead raises the serotonin level, our happy hormone that reduces anxiety and depression.
It’s very empowering. You practically have access to an internal pharmacy! Why reach for a sleeping pill or a Xanax when you can manage and regulate your emotions in a natural and longer-lasting way?
—> Watch the short videos on each tool on our Beautiful Minds IG TV
Tool #5 Write and Rip
Write your frustrations onto the page. Let it all out. Rant, rave, complain. Write it all down and leave it there. Empty yourself of any negativity by transferring it on a white page.
Then rip it up!! Tear it into pieces. Be done with it, throw it away, get rid of it for good.
This technique works for two reasons:
- You are giving your feelings a place to land. You are not repressing them or carrying them around with you all day. You express the negative energy and pent up frustration in a safe and harmless way and then rip it up.
- It’s safe. No one is going to read it. Not your parents, not your siblings, not your partner.
- When you write something down, you stop thinking about it. Thinking about when you keep a shopping list or a task list. You write it down and your mind can stop holding that information.
Tool #6 Think of 3 things to be grateful for
Gratitude isn’t a fluff feeling unworthy of your time. Neither are your morning rituals. They set your day up. Is grabbing your phone and looking at someone else’s life and agenda, on FB, IG, Snapchat, email, etc., really how you should start your precious day?
Try starting (or ending it) with gratitude instead. Guaranteed you will feel less turmoil.
Write them down or even just think about them, 3 things that you are grateful for today.
It focuses your mind on the positives and good fortunes in your life and you will look at things differently. What you would have thought as an obstacle will now be an opportunity.
Tool #7 Take a family colour walk
Nature is a force of nature. Pardon our bad pun, but it’s true.
Try it yourself! Go for a 15 minutes walk around your neighbourhood, alone or with your family, and pick one colour you are looking for. Amazing how many things are right in front of you and you had never noticed them before, right? We are so checked-out and always somewhere else, that we don’t see the worlds around us anymore. You can also look for a specific shape or pattern.
This nature walk gets you into a grateful and appreciative state of mind; it grounds you and pushes negative thoughts of unworthiness and stress out of your mind.
It goes without saying that this is definitely a phone-free activity!
Tool #8 Use essential oils
When you are feeling overwhelmed with life or depressed, essential oils have the ability to change your mood. Your brain zooms in on that particular smell and the washing machine of emotions that was overwhelming you is stopped. They are so wonderful and important in dealing with negative emotions that, at Beautiful Minds, we have decided to develop our own range.
If you use them already, our recommended anti-anxiety blend is a mix of lavender, chamomile, bergamot, and ylang-ylang.
Have you benefited from these tools for easing anxiety and stress? They are only the tip of the iceberg. Sign up for the online course The Catalyst, based on Stanford University Master’s degree, and unpack so many more actionable exercises and life-changing practices to overcome overwhelm and stop anxiety in its tracks.
And don’t forget to bookmark this page to refer back to it when you need it the most.