|think of calm seas...|
I use music as a way to chill out and shake off my shift on the way home from the office. Every. Single. Day. The worse my day has been, the louder the music will be. I'm a huge fan of very loud singing (read: screeching) and can often be heard from several towns over, giving my own very, very original version of Miranda Lambert's biggest hits. For some reason, the louder I sing, the less tense i feel. Plus, I often find when you sing at the top of your lungs, it's far more difficult to concentrate on anything else apart from the words of the song. And the driving, obviously. Please don't forget about the driving. I am also always armed with a set of ear buds, which I store in my handbag and employ during my lunch break if I happen to be wandering around town on my own. Not only are they an introvert's favourite accessory (they put everyone off stopping for a chat). but putting on my favourite songs as I aimlessly stroll around getting some fresh air is always a good way of unwinding if something's bothering me.
As much as I hate to admit it (and believe me, I do), going to the gym, for the most part, keeps me from carrying my mood out of the office and back to the house. The little haven that is Barmouth Leisure Centre, which conveniently lies between my work place and my home, is where I like to stop of an evening and relax to take my mind off anything that's happened during the day. That way, by the time I get home, I've usually perked up and bit. And if I haven't, I've at least worked out like a crazy woman and there's a calorie burning bonus in that. It's sometimes the very last thing I want to do if I'm feeling miserable, but it's genuinely never made me feel worse.
I mean talking, not ranting. Ranting is the easiest thing to do when you're in a fit of anger, but I don't find it really helps in the long run. It might help you blow off steam in the first instance but, for me, it merely keep me agitated for a longer period of time, and that just makes it all the more difficult to calm down later on. What I like to do is find someone who might understand the situation I'm in, but not necessary just agree with me to make me feel better. Again, having someone agree with you for the Hell of it might help at first,, but if you've gone off on a tangent and have genuinely been acting unreasonable, having someone back this up is of no use. What you need is someone who isn't afraid to tell you you've been acting like an idiot and will encourage you to look at things from all sides.
Obviously, you're doing this anyway (hopefully...), but when things get too much, actually focusing on your breathing can help to slow down your heart rate and make you feel calmer. Having 5 minutes to hide yourself in the kitchen at work or, even better, locking yourself away in bathroom gives you a short break to do some exercises and focus your mind. Try closing your eyes and inhaling deeply for 3 or 4 seconds before exhaling for 3 or 4 seconds and repeating as many times as necessary. It won't solve the problem, but it might give you enough breathing space and time out to think about things instead of saying something you might regret.
It is surprisingly difficult to be super annoyed about anything when you're trying to count backwards and remember which number comes before 37. It's 36, just in case you were wondering... Anyway, the point I'm making is that saying the numbers out loud, or internally, makes no difference, it's having something else to concentrate on that help to distract you from the problem at hand. It's tough to argue with someone in your head while you're counting. It's even harder to do it while going through multiplication tables or square roots. Don't go overboard, though. No one likes a smart ass.
Write it Down:
This works for me in the vast majority of cases, but it's not always a quick fix. For the first few minutes, I can be heard attacking the life out of my keyboard before I eventually get it out of my system. You can then read it back and stare at your journal in wide eyed fear at what an angry person you've become. Alternatively, if you do it on a regular basis, it can help you pick up any traits or behaviours that you might need to work on. For me, it simply means getting it out of my head, which makes it less likely that my husband will have to put up with my talking about it for the rest of my evening/weekend/natural life.
I love anything that smells like fruit. I like it particularly if this isn't *actual* fruit. I have a mild candle obsession and love buying shower gels and lotions that make me smell like Carmen Miranda. While I don't find staring at the glow of a candle particularly relaxing in itself, when combined with, say, typing or stretching, it almost always has the desired effect. I care not about the quality of the candle, just solely about how strongly it smells like something I might like to drink on deserted beach somewhere... Citrus especially has been linked to an increase norepinephrine, which is a stress related hormone. If you have no candles, simply walk around the streets of your local town with a lemon stuffed beneath your nose and, voila! Calm seas.
I'm in no way suggesting that you approach random people on the street, because that will get you into a world of trouble that cannot be cured be even a whole tree full of lemons. I'm not even suggesting you find a human for this. The best thing in the world for you to snuggle is undoubtedly a doggo. I have tested this over many, many years and it has *never* failed to work. If you, like me, don't have your own doggo, most people are fairly amenable to you cuddling theirs, just as long as you let them go once you're done. AND, if you walk around with a pocket full of snacks, you won't even have to ask for snuggles; you will be approached by All Of The Doggos without having to make the first move. Sneaky but effective.
What are your top tips for calming down?