Stress: 5 mental exercises that can instantly calm you

Do you struggle to calm yourself when stressed? If you answered yes, then you may be interested in these five mental exercises.

Stress: these five mental exercises can instantly calm you
© Unsplash
Stress: these five mental exercises can instantly calm you

When in stressful situations, it can be hard to ground yourself as you get overwhelmed by your surroundings. If you ever find yourself in one of these situations, why not try some easy mental exercises that have been proven to help calm the mind. These exercises will redirect your focus to more calming thoughts.

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1/ Think of things that start with A, B, C and so on

An easy way to calm your mind is to activate the rational part of your brain. According to Tiana Leeds, a family therapist: ‘By purposefully re-engaging our rationality, we can shift out of worry and into logic.’ A simple way to activate the rational side of your brain is to think of things that start with A, B, C and so on until you are calm or until you reach the end of the alphabet. To make it even simpler, you can pick categories such as foods, countries or anything that you can think of at the moment.

2/ Count backwards by sevens

Once again activating the rational side of your brain, counting backwards by sevens starting from 100 is a good way to redirect your attention. Often when we’re overwhelmed, it can be hard to ground ourselves and clouds our thinking. Counting backwards by sevens will definitely take your attention away from the stressful situation you’re in.

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3/ Breathwork and positive affirmations

Breathwork helps your body’s nervous system switch into a calm and parasympathetic state, according to Michael Smith, N.D., of Carolinas Natural Health Center. This will then bring a blood flow back to your brain, allowing you to think more clearly. As you focus on your breath, try taking it a step further with positive affirmations. This will further increase your positive state of mind, try some of the following positive affirmations:

  • I love myself
  • I’m going to have a great day
  • My life is abundant and full

4/ Meditation

When it comes to calming the mind, meditation is always the go-to activity. Bear in mind, meditation doesn’t mean you have to sit still for 15 minutes in silence. You could try walking meditation, or maybe you could just sit in a cosy spot sipping on your favourite hot drink or even just drawing a mandala. Meditation is simply finding a way to be present in the moment, so find what works best for you. Even cleaning the house can work as meditation.

Stress: these five mental exercises can instantly calm you  Unsplash

5/ Follow a colour

Another excellent way to ground yourself when stressed is by activating your senses. This can be by spotting things in your surroundings that are of the same colour. Simply pick a colour to start with, like red, spot all things red around you, then once you’ve done that if you still feel overwhelmed, search for another colour and so on until you feel calm. You could also make this a movement exercise too. If you have the time, why not take a walk around your neighbourhood following a particular colour until you feel grounded?

Try optimising your mental health with 'mental hygiene' tips Try optimising your mental health with 'mental hygiene' tips