5 Quick and Easy Ways to Find Calm When You're Stressed Out

In the last two posts, we have looked at how clarity and action are the things that tackle the problem of stress and overwhelm.

However, it is important to tackle the impact of the stress and find calm as well. That is part of what is contributing to MORE stress and overwhelm. Talk about a vicious cycle.

Tackling stress in the longer term requires a systematic approach and new habits. However, here are 5 things you can do right now to calm the anxiety, get grounded and find some perspective.

Take a breath

When we are caught in the adrenaline response, we tend to breath higher in the chest and at a faster rate. In order to calm things down, we need to use our physiology to slow things down.

Try this. Put your hand on your belly below your navel. Now breathe deeply so that your belly is pushing your hand out. If you do and it doesn’t move, you are breathing into your chest. Try to move your hand. Now breath in through your nose to the count of 6, hold for 4 and breath out to the count of 6. Take 6 breaths like that.


Before you roll your eyes and tell me you don’t have time, I am not talking about hours of meditation or even 10 minutes…especially if you have never done it before.

Instead, try our 1-minute reset or our 2-minute refresh. These will both help stop your whirring mind which is contributing to the overwhelm in the first place.

Step out

Get out of your immediate environment and experience an immediate shift in mindset and perspective. You may think you are too busy to take a break, but this is a case of speculate to accumulate.

If you can, go outside and walk…the fresh air and sky will help immediately.  If you can walk in nature - even a park or small green will do - it will help to reset your energy and boost your calm. The act of walking will get you moving and shake up the 'stuckness' that you are feeling.

Even 10 minutes will make a huge difference…30–60 minutes will make you feel like a new person.

Use the Alpha Closet

There is a secret weapon that every workplace and home have for de-stressing and getting perspective, which we simply don't use enough.

If you can’t step outside go and spend some time in the “Alpha Closet” as Jack Black calls it i.e the toilet! No one is going to question you or pursue you into the toilet and it is an easy place to get 5 minutes of peace.

If you feel too self-conscious to do belly breathing or quick meditation in the space you are working, locking the door to the toilet for 5–10 minutes gives you the privacy and space that you need.

Let it go

Far from being the anthem from a Disney Pixar film about the heroine’s journey, this is a huge mindset and mantra to adopt.

Even the most ardent control freak has to admit that there are some things they can control and other things they can’t. So, take action on the things you can control, but realise that you can’t control everything. It can be hard, but you need to let that stuff go.

As the Serenity Prayer from 12 step programmes says:

“Give me the courage to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I can’t…and the wisdom to know the difference”.

It takes practice…lots of practice, but this alone can make a huge difference to your short term overwhelm…and your own physical and mental health in the long term.

Feeling calm?

Remember, overwhelm and stress are internal indicators that you have too much going on, it is time to slow down and readjust so that you can come back to centre.

It doesn’t feel good, but overwhelm and stress are our allies as they are very very clear indicators that something is out of whack and we need to do something about it. Try not to get more stressed out about the fact that you are stressed…and see it for what it is.

The big point here though is that stress and overwhelm are an internal issue, exacerbated by the outside world. To tackle it is an inside game. We have a choice in how we respond to things…and so you can choose something different. Even if today sucked, tomorrow is a new day so let’s make it better.

So, what is it for you that causes overwhelm? More to the point, how are you dealing with it? 

Leave a comment below, and let us know what you do when you feel like burying your head!