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A Guide To Relaxation: How To Calm Down When Stressed

Everyday life can throw all sorts of complications and challenges your way. This can often lead to a feeling of stress, which is a natural response. However, if you let this stress build up over time, it may take a toll on your health.

Fortunately, there are a number of relaxation techniques that may help you with stress management. Learn how to calm down when stressed to stay healthy and focused throughout the day.

Stress And Your Health

Stress is your body and mind’s response to pressure. It can take on many forms and be caused by a number of situations and conditions. It can make you feel overwhelmed and unable to handle feelings and emotions.1

Additionally, feelings of anxiety and stress tend to arise when you feel a loss of control over certain situations. It is completely normal to occasionally feel stressed, but too much stress over a long period may have negative effects on health.2

Signs And Effects Of Stress On The Body

Stressful situations cause the body to produce hormones to help you respond to the moment. Often, these responses can be beneficial and keep you alert or motivated. However, prolonged activation of these responses can also be detrimental to your health.3

Common Signs Of Stress

  • how to calm down when stressed | NucificAnxiety
  • Anger or intense feelings
  • Frustration
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Negative feelings
  • Irritability

Common Stress-Related Issues

  • Restlessness and trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • High heart rate
  • Sweating
  • High levels of anxiety4

Tips On How To Calm Down When Stressed

For the most part, you can’t control the external forces that cause stressful situations. But, you can control the way that you react to them. The skills below may better equip you to adapt and navigate stressful moments calmly. A mindful approach to tense moments may help ease intense anxiety and stress levels.5

Try out some of these techniques the next time you sense signs of anxiety.

Note: If you frequently experience stress, or it is taking a toll on your quality of life, speak to a health care provider right away.

Short Walks

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If you’re feeling stressed, try stepping outside for a quick walk. Walking releases endorphins in the brain that cause you to relax and release stress. Even a short walk at a slow pace may help support your mood. Research also found that people who meditated while walking experienced an even greater mood boost. They accomplished this by simply counting their steps to focus and avoid distracting thoughts.6

Slow Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are one of the simplest and most effective calming tools around. Mental health experts have long supported the idea that deep breathing techniques can create a sense of comfort and relaxation — and potentially help ease feelings of anxiety and frustration. Try a simple, slow breathing exercise to get started.7


  1. In a comfortable position, inhale for 2-4 seconds.
  2. Exhale for 4-6 seconds. Find a rhythm that works for you, but make sure the exhale is longer than the inhale.
  3. As you breathe, focus your attention on a specific peaceful image or sound. This will help keep out distractions.
  4. Perform your breaths for one minute to start, then progressively build up to longer amounts of time.8

Play A Game

how to calm down when stressed | NucificHave a little fun to help reduce stress and support your quality of life. Board games, puzzles, and other relief activities give you a creative and expressive way to escape the pressures of stress. Plus, they offer a much-needed mental break from the complex thoughts of the day. According to studies, the laughter and distraction provided by games have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Even calming video games may help support your mood and positively affect your well-being.9,10

Practice Mindfulness

More and more research suggests that mindfulness training can help build defenses against stress to create a stronger sense of well-being and relaxation. Mindfulness may positively impact how you assess and respond to your thoughts during stressful situations. It can even decrease the production of stress hormones to help ease stress levels.11

There are many mindfulness practices and meditations that may provide you with a few minutes of peace. For your next mental break, try the simple gazing meditation practice below.


  1. Select an external object, like the horizon, a tree, or a candle to focus on.
  2. Let your eyes rest softly on this object.
  3. Gaze and settle your focus onto the object. Breathe gently, and maintain soft attention on the object for as long as you can.
  4. It’s okay to blink and look away, but try to return to the object and resume your meditation.
  5. Resisting the temptation to look away and staying present with the object may help strengthen your meditation skills and support a calmer state of mind.12

Relax Your Muscles

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The body often responds to stress by tightening muscles. You may be able to ease some of that muscle tension with techniques like progressive muscle relaxation.13

Begin a progressive muscle relaxation practice to better support your ability to release tension. The steps below can help you get started.


  1. Sit in a comfortable position with a set of target muscle groups in mind.
  2. Begin by taking a deep breath and tensing one target muscle group for about five seconds.
  3. Then, quickly relax the tensed muscles. Focus on the difference between the tense and relaxed muscles. This is important because it teaches you to note the difference between tension and relaxation.
  4. Progress to the other muscle groups and repeat the process of tensing and relaxing for each of them.14

Drink Some Water

Drinking water is an easy and quick way to potentially reduce stress in daily life. Not drinking enough water may lead to physical issues, like fatigue, but it may also lead to stress. That’s because the body creates more cortisol — a chemical triggered by stress response — when it’s dehydrated. Drinking water on a regular basis may help stabilize your cortisol levels and ease stress symptoms.15

Your Path To Peace Of Mind

how to calm down when stressed | NucificIt’s normal to feel stressed at times. But, prolonged periods of stress and anxiety may disrupt your emotions, sleep, and overall health. That’s why it‘s so important to develop practices and tools for effective stress management.

You can learn how to calm down when stressed with a few of the methods above. They’re quick and simple exercises that you can do at home, in the office, or even in the car. Over time, you may learn to deal with stressful moments in a healthier, more effective way.

Note: Speak to a health professional if you have concerns about anxiety and stress in your life.

Learn More:
-Spotlight On Mental Health And Well-Being: The Difference Between Good And Bad Stress
-Spotlight On Mental Health: Try These Easy And Fun Stress Relieving Activities
-Possible Ways To Relieve Stress: Simple Relaxation Methods