5 simple calming techniques that you can use when you’re feeling overwhelmed

These days, it can be all too easy to feel overwhelmed. With the ongoing cost of living crisis, the hecticness of our daily schedules and our fears for the future, many of us can experience feelings of being anxious and stressed out. 

Once you enter into an anxious state, it can then feel impossible to get out of it - and this spiral usually only makes you feel worse. However, there are a few simple techniques that you can incorporate into your daily routine, to help ease your buzzing mind.

Below, we have set out 5 of the most common (and useful) calming exercises for you to try out. You might find that only a few of these are beneficial for you, but it is worth testing them all to figure out what works best for you:

1. Deep breaths 

First of all, it’s important to keep taking deep breaths! Practice this by inhaling deeply through your nose for a count of four, hold for four counts, and then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four. Focus on your breathing as much as possible, and bring your mind into the present moment. By doing this, you can help to slow down your heart rate and relax your body overall.

2. Muscle relaxation

When you’re feeling tense in your mind, your body often begins to tense up, too. You can relieve some of this stress and rigidness by tensing and then relaxing different muscles of your body. Select a different part of your body each time, tensing for a few seconds before gently releasing it to allow relaxation to flow. We would recommend starting from the bottom with your toes, and then work your way up to your head!

3. Visualisation

If you’re in a crowded and hectic environment, it can sometimes feel impossible to escape from it. This is where the power of visualisation comes in! Close your eyes and imagine a place where you feel at your most calm - perhaps a beach, a forest, or a loved one’s home. Try to immerse yourself in this setting, focusing on what you can see, hear, smell, and feel. By doing this, you will be able to distract your mind from the whirlwind that is going on around you.

4. Grounding techniques

This is one of the most preferred techniques for those living with anxiety, and there’s a reason why it is so successful! Turn your brain away from your stressed-out thoughts by attempting the "5-4-3-2-1" technique - think of five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. You’ll be amazed at how effective this is!

5. Counting numbers

Lastly, take yourself back to your primary school days and focus on counting. Choose a number and count either forwards or backwards. The only thing you need to worry about at this moment is counting - if your mind starts to drift off, try to bring it back to the numbers as much as you can. By focusing solely on counting, your brain will remain distracted from your anxious thoughts.

If you are continuing to have persistent symptoms of anxiety and stress, then we would recommend seeking out professional help through your local GP.