There are many ways to support yourself in calming down. The one that is most commonly used, is also the one that actually keeps us stuck in feeling dysregulated. If you are trying to calm down by telling yourself to calm down, it isn’t going to work. You know those times that people will say “just don’t worry about it”, “chill out”, “it’ll be fine”? The irritation that we feel in the moment can be high, if I knew how to do that – I would. Unfortunately, we do this more to ourselves than others do it to us.
Let’s try something different in learning to calm down. Some skills that will support your body in settling down so you can actually use your mind for problem solving.
What happens when we start to feel dysregulated?
When we start to get kicked up, dysregulated, stressed (whatever you want to call it) – we lose access to problem-solving in our brain. Our brain literally starts to move into fight vs flight, which means we make decisions based on surviving rather than long term thriving. I know in the moment “fixing” the problem feels like it is going to be the only thing to calm ourselves down but more times than not, we do the opposite. We create a bigger mess that we need to clean up, or create more problems that cause more stress in the future.
So….How do I Calm Down my Body?
Here are the three main tools I give to support calming down your body before you move onto problem solving.
- Yoga Resets:
- Legs up the wall pose – do this pose for three – five minutes while trying to sync and slow your breath. This loosens your hips – which tells your body it is safe. It helps us move out of fight vs flight
- Child’s Pose – allows us to create sensory deprivation. This supports us in having less sensory input coming in and block out the rest of the world. It slows our breath and our body down.
- Ice: Using an ice pack on the back of your neck, forehead or heart helps kick in your parasympathetic nervous system (helps you feel calm)
- You can carry breakable ice packs so you have them wherever you are. Place this icepack for 5 – 10 seconds, put it down – take three deep breaths and repeat three times.
- This will calm you down and continue to this pattern until you feel more balanced and settled
- Bio-lateral Sound
- Biolateral sound moves slowly from ear to ear. To calm down your body you will need to wear headphones. Allow yourself to play the music at a lower level and focus on your breathing while you listen. Any sensations that come up throughout, try to just let them be there. Take breaths where your exhale is just a little longer than your inhale. This bilateral (aka back and forth) effect of the music can actually calm down the limbic (or emotion) part of the brain.
- Here is a link for you to try: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpZMBUinbmw
Learning to calm your body over your mind is crucial in getting to a state where you feel more at peace. If you notice yourself needing to do this multiple times per day or often over things that feel small to you, there might be some other triggers that you need to work out. This is where therapy can support. In digging into the deeper root of the problem we can actually support re-organizing it. This will mean it won’t trigger you as often or as intensely. We have 4 therapists that are ready to support you, just click here.
Patrice Flanagan-Morris, LCSW
Empowerment Within LLC