When panic sets in, the body’s first urge is to immediately go into fight, flight, or freeze. But, much like any other emergency, staying calm is essential to helping you safely make it through those moments.
With a little recentering and a little rebalance, you can regain confidence in the fact that you can handle anything, and get back to living your life on your terms.
Take A Few Deep Breaths
To help you stay calm when you’re under stress or feeling anxious, turn to your breathing. Deep breathing, especially the type that comes from your diaphragm, is a natural antidote to the body’s fight, flight, or freeze response. It’s so beneficial, in fact, that it’s a good idea for you to practice it a few times a week during times that you aren’t feeling overwhelmed.
The best part about deep breathing to help you learn how to stay calm is that it can be done anywhere, in any position. Just try to make yourself as comfortable as possible, no matter whether you are sitting, standing, laying down, etc.
Start by breathing normally, feeling your body start to relax. Then, start to breathe in deeply through your nose, feeling the way your lungs begin to fill with air. Some people like to count their breaths, or aim for a certain amount of breaths. 4-7-8 breathing is popular, where you take a big breath in for 4, hold for 7, then breathe out for 8.
Regardless, when you breathe deeply, it helps to trigger a response from the body’s parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This system is opposite from the one that triggers fight, flight, or freeze (the sympathetic nervous system - SNS), so it settles the body back down from that heightened state. Once your heart rate and blood pressure have returned back to normal, and your muscles have unclenched, your mind will naturally follow.
Another way to counteract stress and anxiety is by practicing and curating a sense of mindfulness, meaning that you live more solidly in the moment. In a lot of cases, anxiety is something that happens as a result of fears people have of what may happen in the future. Being able to recenter and ground yourself back in the current moment, and looking at your feelings from a non-judgemental place, can help you find what you need to move through it.
Mindfulness comes from regularly practicing meditation. With meditation, similar to the way that deep breathing works, you’re forced to focus on what is happening in the here and now. However, you can also practice mindfulness during your day to day, by simply making sure that you’re focusing on what you’re doing and not worrying about the past or the future.
Even just a few minutes several times a week can make a major difference, plus you’ll be able to use it to help you when you’re actively experiencing anxiety. It also helps you during your regular, non-anxious life because, when you live in the moment, you appreciate all of the gifts that normal life gives you. It also helps to improve your relationships, both personally and professionally.
Change Your Position and Scenery
If you’re feeling like the pressure and stress is really beginning to get to you, and you’re about to lose your calm and control, try a change of both position and scenery.
For one, anxiety naturally leads the body to go into self-protective mode. The body actually starts to unconsciously hunch over in an attempt to protect the organs of our upper body, like our heart and our lungs. Something that can actually help immediately loosen that stress and tension, and also work to counteract anxiety, is just sitting up straighter. Open your chest up, pull your shoulders back, and breathe.
Once that starts to work, get up and get out! Exercise has been studied and proven to help reduce symptoms of panic and anxiety. It does that in a few different ways. First, exercise releases some chemicals into the body, known as endorphins. Specifically, these endorphins work similar to the way that cannabis does, making you just feel good. Second, exercise and the change of scenery that comes with it, gives you something else to focus on instead of sinking into your anxiety.
Watch What You Eat
If you’re the type of person who deals with anxiety frequently, another key to learning how to stay calm when those moments pop up is to pay attention to what you put in your mouth.
A good example of that is sugar. Stress can drive us to seek out comfort foods, most of them aren’t all that good for you. Chocolate is a very common one, but it can actually make things temporarily worse. Try drinking a glass of water (or chocolate milk, if you really need that chocolate fix) or eating a protein bar instead.
Caffeine is something else that you should try to avoid if you are frequently anxious. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means that it naturally makes your heart race. Because that feeling is also similar to how you feel when you’re anxious, it’s almost like adding fuel to the fire.
Instead, consider a PYM Mood Chew. Because they were formulated to provide support for those feelings of overwhelm and moments of anxiousness, they can help to naturally help you move through those completely normal, common feelings when they come. Most importantly, they work together with all of the other ways that you are learning how to stay calm so that you can approach it from a well-rounded perspective.
PYM wants to help you reduce moments of stress and feelings of anxiety in your life.
When you learn how to calm down when you’re starting to get overwhelmed, it gives you some of the power back that anxiety tends to steal from us.
Breathing, a change of scenery, and mindfulness can be real game changers, and you can do each totally free of both money or equipment. What do you have to lose?