The "Calm-Down" List: practical and easy coping skills for daily life
Updated: Apr 17, 2022
Here are some of my favorite ways to calm down. I've made a list of several techniques (probably too many) that are used to help balance, regulate, and bring calm to your body and mind. You'll find quiet, sitting still practices, focused breathing exercises, active movement practices, and even energy techniques. There are many other ways to calm our system and feel safe again... and these are some of my go-to's. Stay a while, look around, find some peace!
This is a practice focused on physical touch. By offering gentle and compassionate touch to yourself you send your body a signal of safety, therefor allowing yourself to calm down and relax.
Self-Havening with "Color Breathing"
This practice offers the same physical touches as above, while adding a breathing visualization, incorporating both the physical and mental.
A practice of focusing on your breathe to slow and calm your body and mind.
Peaceful Place Visualization
Using your imagination you will create and be transported to a place which feels completely peaceful. This is an opportunity to give your mind a break and let your body feel peaceful.
Yoga for Stress
A short practice to bring movement to the body in a way that relieves tension, feels safe, and encourages relaxation. Movement is a great way to release energy, emotion, and tension that gets stored in our bodies each day.
Counting Breath Meditation
While breathing helps to relax the body and send signals of safety, counting the breath helps to focus our thoughts when our mind is busy and easily distracted.
Here's another breathing exercise. This time you're using the relaxing quality of the breath, focusing your mind on counting, and intentionally making the exhale longer than the inhale. Exhaling activates the relaxed response in your body. So by extending this, you are giving your body extra time to settle in and feel care-free.
Walking Through the Forest Visualization
Here's another visualization to give you a break from reality. If you like being in nature, and specifically surrounded by trees, this one might be for you. Using your imagination to transport you to another place is a useful tool when you need a mental break. You can get the same emotional benefits from visualizing something just as if you were there in person. You might use your mind to take you to negative places as you worry or think of angry or sad times. Here's a chance to do the opposite, bring to mind something positive and relaxing.
Tai Chi incorporates movement, energy, breathing, mindfulness, and relaxation. This is a short, gentle practice to bring calming energy and a chance to ground and connect into your body. This video is great for beginners!
Leaves on a Stream
It might be easy to get stuck to your thoughts and chase each one down the rabbit hole. When your mind is busy and your thoughts are moving quickly, it's hard to slow them down and focus. Here is a practice to help separate yourself from your thoughts, to let them move through your mind without attaching to them, and to find some peace of mind. It's another visualization exercise.
Grounding: Engaging your Senses
To ground means to bring your mind, body, and spirit into the here and now. Grounding helps reconnect your mind to your body and both of those to the present moment. Using your senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling) is an easy and effective way to do this. This practice guides you in using your senses to feel more calm and connected.
Paired Muscle Relaxation
You may hold a lot of tension in your muscles, often without awareness. If I were to just ask you to relax, you might find it difficult. This practice guides you in first tensing your muscles and then relaxing them. By doing it this way, you are able to bring more awareness to what the tension feels like and then notice the clear difference when you are relaxed. When you pair a word like "relax" to this practice, you will eventually be able to relax your whole body just by telling it to relax.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)- Tapping
Here is an energy practice which uses acupressure to "tap" different points on the body. The technique helps to move and release stored up energy and emotions. There is a physical component of tapping, as well as a mental component of repeating phrases and focusing your thoughts on a specific issue. Many people find this helpful in changing their feelings and thoughts about problems in their life.
Loving Kindness Meditation
If you are wanting more compassion and love in your life, whether for others or yourself, this is a great way to find that. This is my favorite practice to use when I am having problems in a relationship, maybe anger or resentment towards a person, or when I have lost connection or compassion towards myself.
Maybe you have limited time, maybe you don't want to hear someone else talking, maybe you need help focusing, maybe you don't want to close your eyes... maybe this is the practice for you! This a two minute practice helping you to breathe at a steady pace. There are no verbal guides, just an image you will follow as you breathe in and breathe out.
What a great way to get your morning started! In this practice you will be guided in a seated meditation where you have the opportunity to connect to your day, your body, your spirit, and your mind. This is a good way to bring awareness to how you are in this moment and how you want to be through the rest of your day.