The Top 5 Ways To Soothe Yourself When You’re Feeling Stressed

a woman meditating

Just pause for a moment, before you continue reading, and consider, how stressed are you feeling?

I’ll give you a minute.

How does your body feel? Tense? Is your heart racing? Is your brain foggy? Do you feel exhausted?

Then you might be feeling stressed.

How are you behaving? Are you irritable? Rushing around? Snappy? Quick to shout? 

Then you might be feeling stressed. And if so, then your nervous system will be fully activate, and you might see that you’re reacting to life rather than responding the way you’d like to

We all feel stressed from time to time. However, when you feel stressed regularly, and normal, everyday challenges trigger a big reaction in you, then something that’s really helpful to consider is whether you’re supporting yourself the way you need to?

What is stress?

Stress is the response we experience when the demands we’re under are greater than the resources we have to deal with them. It’s a natural response to many situations and something most of us experience from time to time. 

Stress can be useful; it can help us prepare adequately for job interviews, exams, and to deal with conflict or emergencies.

And it’s understandable to feel stressed in those kinds of situations or even with overwhelming workloads or your children’s big emotions.

However, too much stress can cause problems for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. If you aren’t able to support yourself when you’re feeling stressed or know how you can soothe yourself, you may be living in a constant (or frequent) state of stress. If that’s the case, life can feel very difficult, like it’s getting on top of you and you may even find that you’re not able to respond appropriately to the stressful situation.

Why do I feel so stressed?

Think about your life as a cup. The space in your cup is your emotional space – space to deal with life and its challenges. When there’s space in your cup, then you can deal with stressful events much easier – you don’t feel as overwhelmed, you’re able to think things through more easily, you’re able to pause and consider yourself and your own needs. As a result emotional outbursts or feeling completely broken are less likely.

If your cup is always full e.g. because of not getting enough sleep, too much work, problems in your relationships or trapped emotions you haven’t dealt with – then even the smallest challenges can be difficult to handle because you don’t have enough space left in your cup to deal with it.

If you think your cup is always full, or too close to the top too often, then it might be time for some life changing work. To look at your priorities and find where there may be a lack of balance in your life.

Read to the end to find out how you can transform your life; from feeling overwhelmed with no room for any stress, to creating loving space so you can tend to all the challenges in your life with grace.

What Can I Do When I’m Feeling TOO Stressed?

If the way you respond to stress is affecting your overall well being, then it will be useful to learn some techniques so you can soothe yourself in these moments.

Even if you feel like you manage stress well, these steps are lovely for soothing your nervous system and supporting you throughout your day.

  1. Breath work

Have you noticed that when you’re stressed your breathing becomes faster and more shallow? 

When we’re feeling stressed and our body is in fight-or-flight, the physical processes in our body change to help us to deal with the “threat” (whether it’s a real threat or not). One of the ways it does this is by speeding up the breath to get more oxygen into the body to help us to “fight” or “flee” the danger. 

You might not even recognise that your body is trying to breathe in oxygen quicker – but it probably is.

Even though your child’s meltdown or that looming deadline isn’t an immediate threat, your brain doesn’t know that. In fact, your brain is probably responding to your child shouting at you in exactly the same way it would if you were being attacked by a bear.

One of the fastest ways to feel less stressed is by slowing down your breath. This sends a powerful message to your brain that you’re safe and not in danger. 

Try inhaling for a count of 4 and exhaling for a count of 6. Making sure to bring the breath all the way down to your belly. And repeat 5 times.

You can do this anywhere. 

And it will help to calm your nervous system, helping you feel more relaxed and soothed. It will also make it much easier to deal with whatever challenge you’re facing.

Guided MeditationsSpending a couple of minutes connecting to yourself in silence is also a great way to pause and soothe your nervous system.
Check out my collection of guided meditations on YouTube, created for a busy mum to take a quick pause.MEDITATIONS TO HELP YOU PAUSE

2. Get Moving

When we’re feeling stressed, sometimes the best treatment is to move our body.

It’s well known that yoga stretches, whether that’s an active yoga workout or some gentle, soothing poses, can reduce stress.

Yoga works by connecting breath with movement so it helps to regulate your breathing (feel more in control and present) and helps your blood to pump round your body in a soothing, mindful way.

If you can take more than a minute to tend to yourself, find a calming space and stretch your body, then return to the stressful situation able to problem solve and respond with compassion.

Yoga With Adriene on YouTube has short, simple and free yoga practices to suit all levels.

3. Walking in Nature

If you have time to remove yourself from the stressful situation completely, then put on some comfy, sturdy shoes and move your body outside in the fresh air. If you can walk somewhere with some nature or greenery, then even better.

Take note of your steps, feel the breeze on your face, focus on what’s around you. This can help take your mind off anything that’s stressing you out and help you feel more grounded. You’ll soon feel the symptoms of stress ease up and by the time you return, you’ll be soothed enough to deal appropriately with the stressful situation.

Nature has a magical way of helping us gain some perspective, see the bigger picture, smile and feel good. We can all step outside and pause so give it a go.

4. Reflective Journaling

A great way to soothe yourself when you’re feeling stressed, is to get your feelings out by writing down what’s happening for you.

When it comes to journaling there are no rules. You can describe the stressful situation to help you solve it, or write down your feelings or thoughts, or write a kind letter to yourself to validate the stress and make yourself feel better.

Putting pen to paper is a great way to connect with your emotional self. Regular journaling will help you identify if stressful situations occur frequently in your life so you can work on doing what you need to, to ensure your cup never gets too full.

5. Soothing Bath

Or take a warm shower. Either way, immersing your body in warm water will help to calm you down. Feel the warm water on your skin, smell the lovely soaps, listen to the sounds the water makes.

Having a few mindful minutes in the bath or shower will calm your nervous system and your racing thoughts. When you return to the problem you’re trying to deal with, you’ll be able to deal with it easier.

And one bonus way: Online Nervous System Reset Sessions

Our online Nervous System Reset Sessions are designed just for busy mums like you. Can you give yourself one hour to help you feel less stressed and more soothed? All you need to do is turn up and you’ll be guided to a state of soothe, deep calm and relaxation. Through co-regulation, when you spend this hour relaxing, all of the family will benefit.

Have you heard of Self-Compassion?

When you start tending to yourself, especially in stressful moments, you will cultivate self-compassion.

Self-compassion occurs when we’re kind to ourselves.

Pausing and doing a soothing activity is great. Validating your emotions takes your self-care one step further and is great for opening up space in your cup. It also helps to prevent stressful situations from triggering you in the future.

When we’re kind to ourselves, whether that’s holding ourselves and making room for our emotions in the stressful moment, or validating what came up for us later as we reflect, we become kinder to others.

Finding self-compassion is just one of the benefits of doing my Emotional Regulation Group Programme.

It’s a way of supporting yourself with guilt, anxiety, being self-critical and feeling stressed.

Once you learn to be compassionate towards yourself, you will show compassion to others.

Struggling with your child’s meltdowns? Self-compassion will help.

Tired of the same arguments in your relationship? Self-compassion will help.

My Emotional Regulation Group Programme is 12 weeks of support that will transform your life.

As it says in the programme title, my support and teachings as a CBT therapist, will help you to regulate your emotions. In time, when a stressful situation arises, you’ll be more able to respond rather than react. And when you do react, you’ll see it as a signal that you need some attention and be able to use the tools you have to get back on track.

The programme is designed for busy mums (who find it completely manageable even when life is very busy already). And learning these tools (and having the support to put them into practice) will transform your life.

It’s delivered through weekly videos, where I will teach you why we have emotions, how to calm your nervous system when it’s triggered, the negative thoughts and beliefs that underlie your emotional reactions, and how to put yourself first so you and your family will handle life with ease and joy.

If you’re interested in joining our cohorts then click here for more details about the programme.

Does the programme sound interesting but you’re not sure you can commit yet?
No problem. Take our free Anxiety Assessment and book a free, no-obligation call where I will help you to understand where your anxiety stems from, the first thing to focus on to help you feel better and if the programme can help you overcome it. 
Let’s chat 

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