Feeling anxious or stressed? Here is a simple way to remain calm

Let’s face it life at times will make even the most calm and relaxed people we know feel like things are about to unravel by pushing our buttons.
Jamie McQuadeJamie McQuade
Jamie McQuade

Add into the mix that our kids are off school and the heatwave, we are experiencing more of us are feeling a little more tired and irritable and more likely to say or do something we will feel guilty about later.

When working with clients I use the comparison that we all have a bucket and into that bucket drips stress and worry from life, family, work, health and so much more.

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When we are looking after our self-care consistently it’s like putting holes into the bottom of that bucket so that the stress and worry can drain out of the bottom of the bucket regularly.

This allows us more room in that bucket to absorb the bigger stuff that life can throw at us more effectively.

What usually happens is that the stresses of working from home, running a house, looking after the kids and the pressures of life in general get in the way of us finding the time or having the energy to help get rid of the stuff in our bucket. That means that the holes in that bucket are not there to keep draining the stress and worry in our bucket however, that bucket will continue to fill up and it gets to a point where it is full.

And even the smallest thing that we can normally take in our stride is one drop too many and the bucket spills over which usually results in us feeling so stressed and overwhelmed which can lead to us feeling emotional or doing/saying something we don’t mean.

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To help manage the stress in our bucket more effectively the first tip I have is something that we are all guilty of doing which is that we focus most of our energy on things that we have no control over such as what people think of us, actions of other people, what if scenarios and the list goes on.

We need to be realistic over the things we think we have control over and the things we actually have control over because no amount of worry will change the outcome of things you cannot control.

So, take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle and on one side put the things you have control over and the other side things you have no control over. The stuff you have control over will more likely be a smaller list but when I work with clients my aim is to help them start taking control over the things they have control over.

By doing this it allows them to start gaining some momentum in a positive way and helps them start to feel more in control and regain the balance they need in their lives.

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When we worry or get anxious our fight or flight response is triggered, this is where adrenaline floods through our body to get us ready to either fight or run away.

You may have noticed that your heart rate increases, butterflies in your stomach, your mind races so fast you can’t think straight, your breathing speeds up these are some of the effects of adrenaline in our system.

So, to help you find a way to start to calm down this response the first step is to start to learn to become more aware of what is happening in our body. This is because your body is great at poking at you to give you subtle signs that you have been too stressed or anxious for too long and so often we ignore these signs such as a sore head, lack of sleep etc.

A great simple way to counteract these feelings when we are anxious is to use deep breathing exercises because deep breathing and adrenaline can’t co-exist at the same time in the body.

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So what we are doing is triggering a relaxation response to help deal with the fight or flight response which then helps calm the body and the mind down.

As a breath coach I would recommend looking up online for a video which you can find on YouTube by Lucas Rockwood when he gave a Ted Talk called ‘Change Your Breath, Change Your Life’. He teaches the audience some amazing breathing exercises and explains the science behind it in a very simple way and I use some of his techniques myself.

If you would like more daily advice and inspiration, please follow the E-Therapy NI Facebook and Instagram pages, or get in touch via private message and I would be delighted to help. If you need to talk, we are here to listen.