Sometimes we don’t even realize how much stress has built up within us until all of a sudden we feel totally overwhelmed.  Then there are other times when a stressful situation is immediately thrust upon us and we are instantly overwhelmed by it.  At those times, we go from a calm state of mind to completely stressed in an instant.


Whichever situation happens to you, you need to know how to calm down quickly in a stressful, overwhelming situation.


There are several easy and quick ways to deal with that overwhelming feeling.  Then you will be better able to deal with whatever put you in that stressful situation.


The following suggestions may be helpful to you (some may be combined):


  • Take a walk.

Exercise is a great stress reliever, because it is a natural one.  We all have endorphins in our bodies, and they become excited by any type of exercise, whether it is aerobics, or just a simple walk.  When these endorphins are excited, they make us feel better naturally, thus becoming a natural stress reliever, and instantly calming us down.  Walking will give you a chance to think about whatever it is that put you in the stressful situation to begin with, and is also a quick and easy way to deal with that overwhelming feeling of stress – to relax both your mind and your body.


  • Take some deep breaths.

If you cannot leave the situation you are in, you can at least take some deep breaths.  Relaxation experts advise anywhere from five to ten deep breaths in and out slowly (to a count of 5), relaxing your body.  At the same time, they advise picking one word or phrase (some call it a “mantra”) to repeat as you breathe in, and again as you breathe out.  This will help you concentrate on your breathing, and distract you from the stressful, overwhelming situation in which you find yourself.  You may not be able to remove your body, but you can relax it.


Practicing breathing exercises has both physical and emotional benefits for you.  For one thing, you can do them anywhere and at any time.  For another thing, this type of breathing gets more oxygen into your body and will improve your ability to think clearly, helping you to better cope with the situation at hand.  With a clear mind and a relaxed body, you will be able to quickly and easily deal with that overwhelming feeling of stress.


  • Change your perspective.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.  And sometimes we create our own stress!  Negative thinking is the most obvious way we do this.  Changing your perspective can work well with the breathing exercises described above.  For instance, pick a phrase such as, “I can handle this.”  Try looking at your situation from a positive perspective.  Think, “What is the worst that can happen?” realizing that anything less than that is something you can cope with!  Then watch your stress level immediately lessen.


  • Use positive affirmations.

Again, as above, this is especially useful when practiced with the breathing exercises described previously.  Phrases such as, “I am better than this,” or “I know I can handle this, or “This too shall pass,” are all good examples of positive affirmations.  You can tailor these to fit your own situation.  Then repeat them over and over to yourself, until you feel more calm and able to deal with your situation. 


  • Be realistic.

Look at your situation realistically.  Ask yourself questions such as, “Am I responsible for this situation?” (If so, ask yourself how you can get yourself out of the situation.)  “How did I get into this?” (Again, ask yourself how you can get out of it.)  “Am I overreacting?” (If so, look at the situation realistically, and you will be able to calm yourself down.)  


You may be in this stressful, overwhelming situation because of yourself, not anyone else!  You may be trying too hard, for instance.  You may be trying to be “perfect.”  If so, just relax, and be yourself!  Think for just a few minutes, looking at your situation realistically, especially if you have been overreacting, and you will begin to relax – then watch your stress level decrease, and your situation will no longer be so overwhelming!


  • Meditate and relax.

Many people have a wrong image of meditation.  They think instantly of yoga, tai chi, and other physical or positional relaxation ways of meditation.  Yes, these are examples of meditation, but there is a very simple way of meditation that you can practice in five minutes or less. 


Find a quiet place.  Get comfortable.  Try to make it as dark as possible.  Close your eyes.  Begin the breathing techniques described above, using the phrase you have chosen as your “mantra.”  If your mind gets distracted, just keep going back to your phrase, over and over.  Relax your body – the breathing exercises will do this in the beginning; however, in meditation, we do this a little differently.  While doing the breathing exercises, start with your eyes, as they close.  Then think consciously of each part of your body (muscles) and consciously relax it in the same way you do your eyes. 


Start from the top of your body and continue to your feet.  Remember to breathe in and out, slowly.  This process will only take about five minutes, but you will feel so relaxed at the end that you will feel like it’s been about an hour!  You will feel so stress-free that you will wonder what overwhelmed you in the first place!

After you have done at least one of the above suggested ways of stress relief, you will be in a better position to deal with whatever it was that caused you to feel overwhelmed in the first place.  Also, these suggestions are not just for instant stress relief.  Practice them in your daily life as well, and watch your stress level decrease!