How to Calm Down, Even a Little

Thursday 28 May 2020

You can do this anywhere. Honestly. You can. When you learned to ride a bicycle as a child (if you did) or bake a cake, it took practice. Everything does. And the practice can be fun. Or good, it depends on how you choose to think of it.

If you are in an uncalm state, perhaps your heart is racing, you cannot think straight, your palms are sweaty. Any or all of the above or perhaps something else is in your head and body. So, the quickest – you will probably want the quickest, won’t you, and the best way to calm down is to allow your breathing to slow down. We talked previously about breathing, slow and regular breaths. And this is where you use breathing to your best advantage.

And, also this is where the practice comes in, and trusting in the process. With the usual precautions to be careful if you are driving, operating machinery, looking after a child and so on. In that circumstance keep your eyes open to be safe. Allow your breathing to slow down. Breathe in slowly, breathe out slowly. As if you were reading the last sentence as slowly and carefully as you can. And then slower still. It can take perseverance. If that doesn’t work as you would like, imagine you are slowly down your breathing and your body will respond to that too. It does not know the difference!

Getting slower. There may be other things you do as well to calm down. That is good; you have been here before and taught yourself how to do this. If it is safe to do so and you can do it, close your eyes. Open them again if that does not seem right.

This is about what is best for you and how to get past an upset. It is about taking control, even a little bit. And calming down. It may not be easy, and you can begin here and now to breathe more easily, to allow a better balance between your body and mind. Whatever upsets you may be like an old friend, perhaps even an unwanted one, popping up and reminding you.

This is not about ignoring or squashing the upsetting feelings, rather acknowledging them. And using breathing, your breathing to find somewhere else beyond the upset, somewhere kinder. Where you can be aware of the sound of your own breathing.

In. And out. In for 3 and out for the count of 3 if you can, as we have done before. Simple breaths, concentrate on them, turn down the volume and the contrast on everything so nothing else matters except the sound of your breathing. The best you can. You have got this.

Sheelagh Starrett ©