Simple Ways to Get Calm When Life Feels Chaotic

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Imagine someone from the 1600s traveling through time to the present. They would probably be astonished, and perhaps even a bit mortified, at the pace at which we live today.

For many of us, stress has become a daily reality in our lives, even before the pandemic added to our stress load. So where is all this stress coming from?

At its most fundamental level, stress is an imbalance of energy inside us — partly conscious and partly subconscious. The energy that we spend focusing on negativity and fear is directly proportional to our stress level. Fortunately, this is something we all have conscious control over. One key is to recognize when we are feeling stress, and give ourselves a break.

For Nov. 3, National Stress Awareness Day, here are some things you can do to reduce your stress levels:

Review Your Roles — Are you being the most genuine and authentic you? If you find it hard to get out of bed and grit your teeth to get through each day, it may be time to review your roles. No, you can’t just give up your roles  —but perhaps you can ask for help. For instance, if you find yourself stressed out as a parent, give yourself a break by asking someone to watch the kids while you take some time to do something for you. Is your work role fulfilling anything besides your household budget? Do you need it to provide more in life than just paying the bills? Is your work a good match for your personality? Sometimes people find themselves in leadership roles, though what they long for is to work alone in a quiet setting. Perhaps you are highly successful in a powerful company, but what you really want to do is work for a small non-profit.

You may need to give yourself a break from your fast-paced, high-stress job to figure out exactly what it is you need. You may need to make some lifestyle changes to accommodate it, but find the health and wellness benefits are worth more than a higher salary.

Just Breathe — If you find yourself running at a pace that leaves you out of breath, it’s probably time to take a break. Set aside time each day to sit alone in a quiet, comfortable setting and concentrate on your breathing. This type of meditation can help to calm your nerves and renew your energy. When you feel yourself getting stressed out, anxious, or worried for any reason, there are simple practices that you can do to help you feel better. Here is a quick calming exercise to try:

  1. Get in a comfortable position and put one hand on your heart and the other hand on your abdomen. You can close your eyes if you’d like.
  2. Inhale for about four seconds through your nose. For some of us this may feel like a pretty long breath, but do your best to breathe in slowly.
  3. Hold your breath for seven seconds. This also may feel like a long time, but it is important to slow your respiration and heart rate. 
  4. Exhale from your mouth for eight seconds.

Mindful breathing exercises such as this one are designed to give your nervous system a break and help to reset it. It essentially tells your body and your nervous system that you are not in any danger, and gets you out of the fight-or-flight response that is triggered when you feel stress. This is important for your physical, mental, and emotional health, as chronic stress has been linked with all kinds of health problems, including weakening the immune system and damaging the heart.

Focus — Stop multitasking. Choose a project, errand, or activity and do only that. Concentrating on one task at a time is a way to give your ever-churning brain a break. Doing too much at once and pushing too hard on multiple tasks might compromise the quality of everything you manage to get done.

Release Trapped Emotions — If you find your days are filled with a constant feeling of dread or guilt or sadness, you need to give yourself a break by identifying the cause of these feelings. When you have an intensely difficult experience, the emotions you feel should fade with time. But sometimes they’re just too much for you to handle, and your body holds onto that negative energy in the form of what many call “emotional baggage.” We call these emotional energies Trapped Emotions, and they can lead us to unconsciously choose certain feelings, thoughts, and expectations that compound rather than relieve our sense of stress. Energy healing modalities such as Emotion Code and The Body Code can help you identify and release those Trapped Emotions.

Rid Yourself of Toxins — It may be food, drink, or negative energy in your social circle. Take stock of the things that might be toxic in your life. Try to identify bad habits, and strive for healthy living by eliminating them. Adopt a healthy way of eating to keep your system as clean as possible. If there is someone in your life that absolutely drains you, it may be time to change your relationship with that person. And, don’t be afraid to have a good cleansing cry. You may feel worlds better after!

Avoid Digital Exhaustion — Put down the devices and take a break from social media. In this time of rage tweets and cyber-bullying and just plain old bad news, you need to give yourself a break from the negativity at the tips of your fingers and in the palm of your hand.

Time Out Instead of Temper Tantrum — You need to give yourself a break from bad behaviors as well. If your emotions are getting the better of you and you’re about to blow your top, give yourself a time out. Just like you might have for the kids, have your own time out spot in your home. Or better yet, choose a comfortable spot outdoors and spend your time out communing with nature. If nothing else, lock yourself in the bathroom and breathe deeply or “chill out” for 5-10 minutes.

There are many other simple things you can do relieve stress, through physical movement such as walking or stretching, or activities such as reading and that put you in the “zone” of feeling totally immersed, such as reading or creating art. Or maybe you want to treat yourself to a nice warm bath, some time in the sauna, or a relaxing massage.

Whatever you choose, just make sure you take the time to give yourself a break. Taking some time for yourself will not only benefit you, but those you love by giving them a more happy, relaxed you!