Have you ever been told to “get a grip?”  Maybe you’ve told yourself that.  What does it mean and how do we do it?

When we are really upset about something and our minds are going fast and our blood pressure is up and we just can’t take one more moment of this – how can we calm ourselves down?

It’s true that we make much better decisions when we are calm – so it’s really important to learn how to get back to a peaceful state.

The first thing we can do is to take deep breaths.  In and out.  Slowly and consciously.  Just breathe.

The thing about this is that we can change our moods by physically demonstrating the mood we want.  If we want to feel happy, we can smile.  If we want to feel strong and powerful, we can put our hands on our hips and stand tall.  If we want to relax, we can let our shoulders drop and breathe slowly.

If that does not help us get back to a place of calm, we can walk away.  Just until we can clear our heads, if we want.  It usually does not help anyone when we speak from a place of stress or anger.  We can take some time to let it simmer down inside of us.  We can always go back and address the situation later – unless it’s life or death – and it’s usually not.

Until we calm down, it does not help to go over and over the situation in our minds.  It does not help to tell the story over and over.  Tell it once to vent, then drop it.  When we repeat the stress, more stress comes.

We can also find things that we can do physically.  A walk can help spend some energy quickly.  A workout or bike ride.  Something you can do to distract yourself for awhile.  It’s okay to give it a break.  We can immerse ourselves in doing productive things while we calm down.

And we can find things that are soothing for us.  A cup of tea, a good meal, watching the sunset or looking at the clouds.  It helps to have lots of compassion for ourselves.  Sometimes we all need a little more patience, even with ourselves.

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