Ever wonder how your friends, family members, or co-workers stay calm when emotions hit them in the moment? Ever say in your head: “Better you than me. I would have gone from 0 to 100 real quick.” Or “I don’t know how you stay so calm.” Going from calm and collective to completely outraged may seem like a good idea, but within that nanosecond, your ability to be present and rational is out the window. So here are some tips to cool that down, to manage emotions, and tips for right after it happens:
Instant Tips To Manage Emotions
Breathe and Repeat
How many times have you been angry, sad, or just overwhelmed and someone recommends that you take a deep breath? This technique is still reliable when you feel like your “cap” is going to come off from bottled-up emotions. If you are around someone that triggered those emotions in the moment, move away and breathe.
Psychology Today confirmed that slow and steady breathing activates a nerve from the brain that controls the relaxation response. This response is the solution to the fight or flight response that increased your anxiety. Take three deep breaths at 10 seconds each to provide some relief.
Step Out of the Environment and Take a Walk
Stepping out can mean a lot to your well being when your emotions are on overload. You can step outside, maybe walk down the hall and say hi to someone you admire. Seeing their smiling face and hand waving to you might make you feel better. Use that 15-minute break at work to your advantage. Feel your feet on the ground. Ground yourself to the earth with each step. Be aware of how your body feels as you move and what sensations you experience after.
If you can’t physically change your environment, try putting in some earphones and listening to music. Bird music can be helpful for anxiety and stress.
Stepping out of the office or moving to another room in your home when your emotions are on high can be effective. The next tip to try out is calling someone you are close to and talking about what happened. The above mentioned 15-minute break at work can also serve some purpose with this tip.
You may not have time to or think about grabbing your phone but if you do, a good call to mom, grandma, dad, or your husband might just be the solution you need. Call someone you trust and can give you sound advice. Do not call someone that will just heighten the emotions.
Say Your Mantra
Using a meta-cognitive technique, better known as a mantra or slogan focuses our mind and provides a state of calm. Google some mantras to have on hand to calm you. It can be religious or general. I’ve tried “This too shall pass” to remind me that when I am panicked, the feeling will not last forever. As you say it, try to combine it with breathing in and out for the number of seconds it takes you to say the mantra.
Tips for Later
Sweat it Out
Move your body! Feel the burn. A good sweat session sends off all kinds of good endorphins. Some direct stress-busting benefits of exercise include: pumping up your endorphins, providing meditation but in motion, and improving your mood.
So go for that run, hike, or biking route. Or take that yoga or barre class offered at your local gym after work or in the evening. Exercise has always been advertised as good for overall health and our sense of well-being.
Have a Reflection with Your Reflection
Have you ever been able to look into someone’s eyes and see their emotions? The same can be applied to ourselves. If there is a one-person bathroom at work that you can use, take the time to look into your own eyes. You can do this at home to really dig into your emotions if work is not a good option.
Either place you chose, shift your focus only on you. Increase your self-awareness by asking yourself questions and making positive affirmations. This can further reduce your stress and increase your self-compassion in the long run.
There are a lot of actions that we can perform to manage our in the moment emotions. Remember calm and collective over “ready to blow” or outraged is the better option. The trick is using techniques that work best for you to combat that negative emotion.