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Best advises to quickly calm down: smell the lavender, wash the dishes and listen to how the waterfall roars.
Psychologists say that negative emotions can’t be constantly suppressed. Anger, resentment, sadness – important feelings that have the right to be expressed. In this case, the advice of scientists will help to calm down quickly.
1. Breathe deeply
This is an old trick. But scientists have long misunderstood why deep breathing works. Only in 2017 in the journal Science published a study that explained this.
Its authors, biochemists at Stanford University School of Medicine, discovered a tiny cluster of neurons deep in the brain stem that is supposed to link the speed and depth of breathing and emotional state. The more active and shallower the breaths, the higher the level of arousal and nervousness. And on the contrary – the deeper we breathe, the more relaxed and calmer we feel.
2. Use blue light
Blue light helps people to relax more quickly after psychosocial stress. This was discovered by scientists from the University of Granada.
Psychosocial stress is a short-term nervous shock that occurs during contacts with other people. Simple examples: you argued with a friend, had a row with a colleague, nervous because the boss is yelling about the deadline that was yesterday …
Inquisitive scientists arranged similar experiences for 12 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 37 and then took the test subjects to the so-called chromotherapy room. There was nothing in it that could help to calm down – only LEDs emitting either standard white or blue light.
It turned out that under the blue light the brain and heart activity of people returned to normal on average in 1.1 minutes, and under white – in 3.5. That is three times faster!
By the way, besides lamps, blue light radiates the screens of modern gadgets – computers, laptops, smartphones. Stress is the case when even scientists recommend: use your favorite device for about 10 minutes. This will help to relax.
3. Turn on the world’s most soothing song
Weightless was recorded in 2011. This was commissioned by the scientists of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, who decided to experiment and create a song that could calm and even put to sleep as quickly as possible.
The composition of a little more than 8 minutes is saturated with various sound effects. The trick is in the rhythm: the body adjusts to it, the heart knocks less often, breathing slows down …
The effect of the song was so astounding that Time magazine even included Weightless in the list of the 50 most significant inventions of the year.
To make the Weightless soothing effect more powerful, take care of the surroundings: put on your headphones, take a comfortable posture, relax, close your eyes.
4. Listen to the sounds of nature
A study conducted in 2017 by scientists from the Medical School of Brighton and Sussex, proved: when people listen to the sounds of nature, their level of stress decreases markedly.
Researchers exposed volunteers to natural and man-made noise. In parallel, MRI scans of the participants’ brains and control of the heart rate were performed. As it turned out, brain activity is highly dependent on the nature of the sounds.
The natural soundtrack, the focus of our attention is directed outward: we listen attentively, peer at the world around us, falling into a kind of soothing trance. The artificial soundtrack shifts the focus of attention inward: we begin to dig more deeply into ourselves, to experience, to exaggerate our own shortcomings, which ultimately aggravates stress even more.
Ideally, if you have a park near you, where you can hear birds singing and leaves rustling. Or a running stream, on the bank of which you can sit.
5. Smell something nice
Although aromatherapy as a whole looks quite doubtful from a scientific point of view, the effect of some essential oils on stress levels has been proven unequivocally and repeatedly.
Smells of lavender, rosemary, and ylang-ylang reduce blood pressure and heart rate, reduce the level of anxiety and arousal.
Carry a small bubble with that of the listed oils, the fragrance of which seems to you the most pleasant, and shake 1-2 drops on your wrist during stressful moments. A couple of breaths – and it will be much easier to calm down.
6. Do something with maximum concentration
Do the washing up. Sweep the floor. Spread out the paper. Clean your desktop on a computer or smartphone. The main thing – try to concentrate on this lesson.
A study conducted at the University of Florida in 2015 showed that washing activity is a very effective way to quickly reduce stress.
This is because, by fully concentrating on some occupation, we are distracted from negative experiences. The brain “switches” and reduces the production of stress hormones.
7. Distance from yourself
Try to look at the situation from the outside, as if all this is not happening to you. Imagine that the problems are not yours, but someone else’s. Reception is elementary but surprisingly effective: psychologists record a sharp decrease in anxiety and stress and even recommend a similar approach in combating prolonged depressions.
An old joke “If these are your problems, you can solve them. If you can’t solve them, it’s not your problem” acquires a modern, scientifically based sound. Remember this and smile. This, by the way, is also a good way to reduce stress.
Final thoughts on how to quickly calm down: 7 science-based ways
There are a lot of ways to calm down – in this article I just listed the most popular and science-approved ones. Next time you will be stressed or feel negative emotions just try one method from the list. Find your favorite way to manage your feeling and be happy!