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How to calm down: Ways to calm down anxiety, panic and nervousness

Updated on February 11, 2013
Feeling anxious, nervous or stressed out? Find out how to calm down.
Feeling anxious, nervous or stressed out? Find out how to calm down.

How to calm down? Reduce anxiety, relax your mind, stop feeling nervous and de-stress instantly with these practical ways to calm yourself down. These tips will help nervous students, stressed working professionals, hassled stay-at-home moms, anxious dads, worrying boyfriends, jittery girlfriends, restless husbands and edgy wives alike.

1) Breathe deeply

Deep breathing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to calm down and regain composure when you are feeling anxious. Whether it is just before giving a big exam, a job interview or preparing to talk to your date for the first time, breathe deeply.

Allow your chest to expand generously as you take in big gasps of air. Physically and mentally imagine replenishing your nervous body with oxygen. Inhale deeply and exhale heavily and calmly - you will automatically feel your heartbeat coming back to its normal pace.

2) Remind yourself to stop from over thinking or over reacting

What if I fail in my exams? What if my boyfriend doesn't commit? What if my best friend never talks to me? What is my dad finds out? What if everyone makes fun of me? What if she cheats on me?

Many people often find themselves in the habit of over reacting, thinking too much and worrying needlessly.

To calm down, you will need to recognize and acknowledge your habit of over reacting to small things. Remove the what-if factor from your thought process by reminding yourself about your bad habit of over thinking a situation.

Soaking in a hot tub can calm you down.
Soaking in a hot tub can calm you down. | Source

3) Take a luxurious bath and relax in the bathtub

Taking a hot water shower or soaking yourself in an aromatic bubble bath will help you to instantly de-stress and calm down. A hot shower can refresh you thoroughly and help you align your thoughts with a fresh perspective.

Those who are fond of taking luxurious baths can line their tubs with aromatic candles and other bath accessories. Drop your bathrobe and immerse yourself into warm water. Have some music playing in the background, read books, watch a movie on your laptop or sip on a glass of red. This relaxing environment will help you feel better about yourself and drive your worries away.

4) Vent out your feelings to a partner, friend or family

Bottling your feelings inside you is not the ideal way of calming yourself down. You may think that you can easily trap your emotions within yourself and eventually forget them, but doing that is like shaking a bottle of soda which will burst at one point or another.

Talk to your partner, chat with a best friend, speak to your blog followers or simply call up your mom for much needed motherly love and advice. Do anything that helps you open up and get rid of all the negativity associated with anxiety.

5) Give yourself positive self talk to calm down

Pep talk or positive self talk is a way of reassuring and calming one's psyche with a chain of continuous reaffirmations. If you are stressed about something in particular, keep reassuring yourself mentally just like how you would reassure a baby.

Use reaffirming statements like everything is fine, nothing bad will happen, don't worry about it or good things always happen to good people to bring your heartbeats down.

Yoga and stretching exercises can loosen your body and help you calm down.
Yoga and stretching exercises can loosen your body and help you calm down.

6) Do Yoga or basic stretching exercises

Exercising is known to be an effective way to get rid of unnecessary stress and tension. It will distract you immediately and also help you to restrain your reactions while you are under the effect of anxiety or anger.

Try doing Yoga or simple stretching exercises to de-stress. If you want to opt for something more exciting, dance to music, do the Zumba, skip or jog in one place to feel an instant boost of energy surge through your body. This may help you to shake the stress off your system.

7) Meditate to relax and calm down

Meditation is known to be an effective way to calm down and reduce anxiety. Whether you need to relax after having a fight with your partner of you need to regain your composure before an important presentation, meditating even for a few minutes can help you relax.

Mediation is best performed while you are alone and at peace. However you can also do this quick self-help exercise in the midst of hundreds of people on a bustling downtown street or a crowded train. Simply close your eyes and remove all the thoughts from your mind. Concentrate on your breathing and feel every breath going in from your nose, down into your body and coming out. Be at peace with yourself.

8) Read your favorite book or watch parts of your most favorite movie

Have you ever wondered why flopping onto your favorite pillow or teddy bear feels so comforting when you are stressed? That is because turning to familiar objects or people can give you a feeling of security which you may be desperately seeking while you are under an anxiety attack.

Reading your favorite book again or watching your favorite movie can help you feel secure, safe and bring that warm feeling of familiarity. This is similar to the feeling you get when you drink homemade chicken soup when you are ill.

Relaxing while listening to chill-out and ambient music will leave you in a peaceful state of mind.
Relaxing while listening to chill-out and ambient music will leave you in a peaceful state of mind.

9) Listen to ambient and chill-out music

Listening to soothing music can help you calm down instantly. You can also listen to background tracks made from natural sounds or white noise to induce blankness and peace in your mind.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath as you listen to the music. Think about a happy memory or your favorite holiday destination. Spending fifteen to twenty minutes in such a blissful state of trance will help you calm down.

10) Head to the mall for retail therapy

Retail therapy can help you calm down because it is known to release happy hormones in your body. This is especially applicable to girly girls and women who enjoy window shopping even on an odd day.

Whenever you feel anxious without any reason, simply pick up your handbag and head to the shops. Distract yourself by looking at various store displays, trying out different outfits or nibbling on goodies at food courts. This activity will detach your focus from your problems.

11) Involve yourself in labor intensive tasks

You may have noticed how easily you can lose track of time when you are continuously doing menial, labor intensive tasks. This could include organizing your closet, vacuuming the sofa or clearing expired products from your refrigerator.

This way to calm down revolves around keeping yourself constantly occupied to stop stressing out. You are likely to have reduced your levels of anxiety once you have finished a task.

12) Play with your pet

Watching your little kitty purring on its cat scratcher or playing ball with your dog can be good ways to calm down, at least temporarily. Pets are awesome companions and spending time with them can help you feel at ease.

If you don't have a pet, treat yourself to cute cat videos or viral YouTube videos of pets having fun by doing the most hilarious and cutest things.

Herbal teas are known to have a soothing and calming effect.
Herbal teas are known to have a soothing and calming effect.

13) Drink herbal teas

Herbal teas are known to be very soothing to the nerves and also have many health benefits. Brew a herbal concoction of chamomile, cinnamon, orange zest, oolong or green tea in hot water and sip slowly to calm down.

The aromas of herbal teas are also known to reduce anxiety and thaw racing thoughts. You can use easily available tea bags or buy real herbal tea leaves for a stronger soothing effect.

14) Go for a walk

People who love walking will rave about the soothing effect of a long peaceful walk on the psyche. Besides being a healthy activity, walking also helps to recollect your thoughts and regain your focus.

Simply pick up your house keys and go for a walk in the local park every time you think you are worrying unnecessarily.

15) Write your thoughts down immediately

Analyze your anxiousness problem by grabbing a pen and notepad to write down your thoughts every time you feel a pang of nervousness or anxiety. You can also do this on your computer, tablet or your iPhone.

Look back at your writings on some other day to reflect on the kind of thoughts that are causing the nervousness. You will learn to adapt and how to calm down as you synchronize with these thoughts.


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