10 Instant ways to feel calm

Struggling with stress or anxiety? These 10 simple tricks will help you to immediately feel calmer. 

1. Breathe easy

breathe to feel calm

Breathe: deep breathing can help release tension in your body, reduce heart rate and regulate your brain's levels of serotonin—the neurotransmitter linked to feelings of happiness and well-being.

Breathe in through your nose for a count of five, hold for five, then breathe out through your mouth, making a sighing noise. Use your abdominal muscles to gently and completely empty your lungs.

 

2. Get some indoor greenery

houseplants can make you feel calm

House plants require patience, which is the essence of a calm lifestyle. Having plants around the house also improves air quality and they're a beautiful addition to any room. Take care picking the perfect location and pot for your new plant and enjoy its slow unfolding. 

The best houseplants for a calmer atmosphere:

Aloe Vera - purifies the air and can be used as a natural remedy to soothe burns and other skin conditions. 

Rubber plant - super low-maintenance and ideally suited to cooler climates. Watch how the leaves gradually unfurl from a central red spine into a shiny dark-green oval. 

Snake plant - scientists at NASA found that having one of these easy-to-care-for plants in your home lowers toxins in the air as well as reducing anxiety.

Bamboo palm - another air-cleaning superhero, fast-growing bamboo makes a graceful addition to your living room or office. 

 

3. Go for a walk on your own

walking can instant calm

Take time to be alone with your thoughts, breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. 

Whether you're climbing a mountain or simply taking the scenic route home from work, learning how to slow down and enjoy your own company is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself. 

 

4. Disconnect

turn your phone off to feel calmer

Turn off your phone for half an hour. Whether you feel like you get too many notifications or too few, phones are stressful, demanding little beasts and it's a good idea to take a regular break from their presence.

The world will not end if you are un-contactable for a short time each day—enjoy the silence. 

 

5. Stretch

stretch to feel calmer

Everybody loves a good stretch—try reaching up as high as you can, then roll downwards and touch your toes. 

To your muscles, a stretch is as good as a massage because it actively releases tension, leading to a more relaxed body and mind. 

Stretching has also been found to improve sleep quality and circulation and make exercise more effective. 

 

6. Read a book

read to feel instantly calmer

Most of us are in the habit of scrolling through our phones during idle moments. Instead, pick up a book—you can ignore what's going on around you and get lost in a different world. 

Get to know the characters and enjoy the gradual unfolding of a story. 

 

7. Prepare

make your mornings calmer

Get organised for tomorrow before you go to bed. If you have a hectic morning routine, think about which parts you could do in advance. 

Spending a little time getting sorted in the evening will free up precious time in the morning, making your whole routine feel that bit more relaxed. 

 

8. Ground yourself

ground yourself and feel calmer

Walking barefoot on grass, soil or sand grounds you, putting you in touch with the earth's natural energy and bringing your attention out of your mind and into your body. 

As you feel the ground beneath your feet, pay attention to the textures and sensations, taking slow, deliberate steps. 

 

9. Forgive yourself

forgive yourself to feel calmer

We all make mistakes, and it's easy to dwell on what we would have done differently with hindsight. So give yourself a break!

Give yourself permission to be a work in progress, and learn from your mistakes. Know that you are always doing your best, and that your best will always be different depending on the circumstances. 

 

10. Thumbs up

thumb hack

Heart racing? Try blowing on your thumb for four seconds. It sounds silly, but it really works!

This weirdly calming life hack works because your thumb has its own pulse. The cooling air slows the pulse and therefore the heart rate. Plus, the act of blowing forces you to deepen your breathing, which has an automatic calming effect on your whole body. 

 

For 90 more ways to feel instantly calm, try Pause: 100 Moments of Calm, £6.99, published by Summersdale Publishers