effective calming techniques | wellbeing blog

How to Calm Down Quickly: 3 Effective Techniques

Everyone is familiar with the feeling of losing control being nervous, anxious, annoyed, or even angry. And it seems that emotions take full control over you.

But it is not true because though emotions are powerful, you can still influence them, calm down, and regain control.

In this video post, I show you how to calm down quickly using three effective techniques.
Reduce anxiety, fear, panic, anger, or any other negative emotion with the help of:

  1. breathing technique “physiological sigh”
  2. rapid eye movement and
  3. short Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT or tapping

Physiological sigh

Breathing, in general, and sighs, in particular, play an important role in directly affecting your central nervous system. Natural sigh affects arousal and regulates your breathing.

Breathing continuously adapts and changes when you speak, exercise, or sleep. And sighs seem to be critical in maintaining a healthy balance between your state and breathing.

In stressful, threatening, and challenging situations, sighs play a different role. They essentially contribute to the flight-and-fight response.

Thus sighs play an essential role in regulating our emotions.

Research has found an important relationship between sighs and relief. Sighs lead to both psychological and physiological relief effects. Therefore physiological sighs can be used as a calming breathing technique by sensitive people and people with anxiety.

Physiological sigh breathing technique

how to calm down quickly | breathing technique | wellbeing blog

A physiological sigh is a breathing technique with a

  • deep double inhalation through the nose
  • exhalation through the mouth

In order to calm down, the exhalation needs to be slow and long.

In order to reduce stress, double inhalation should be kept more or less equal in length to the exhalation. This can be useful during exercise, when your agenda gets full, or when you are talking during an important meeting.

Rapid Eye Movement

rapid eye movement technique | calming technique | wellbeing blog

REM is a phase of your sleep recognized by the rapid movement of the eyes. REM follows about 90-minutes long non-REM sleep and lasts for about 10 minutes.

REM sleep plays a very important role in brain development, memory consolidation as well as emotional processing.

Rapid eye movement is used in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, successfully applied in PTSD cases.

You can mimic REM for the purpose of processing, or shaking off a negative emotion by rapid side-to-side movements of your eyes for a few moments.

For this just bring your eyes up and move them left and right breathing slowing down and deepening your breath. Continue for a few moments until your emotions calm down.

Read a blog post on how to restore your sleep fast

Emotional Freedom Technique

The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT, or tapping) combines cognitive restructuring and exposure techniques with the stimulation of acupressure points for the treatment of psychological distress. The tapping technique is effective due to the combination of these elements.

It was shown in multiple scientific studies that the emotional freedom technique decreases anxiety scores, and reduces symptoms of depression (by over 40 %), as well as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

1 to 10 EFT tapping sessions allow already achieving such positive results. These results are lasting and without any side effects.

EFT techniques are simple and can be used as self-help.

As was shown in cases of depression, EFT tapping is more effective than diaphragmatic breathing, supportive interview, or sleep hygiene education and is comparable with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing technique (EMDR).

Here is the description of the proven Emotional Freedom or Tapping (EFT) Method taught by my hypnotherapy trainer Mike Mandel:
1. name your emotion and give it a score between 1 and 10.

2. Tuning in to the negative emotion, say “I acknowledge/ accept/ let go of the (emotion)” while gently tapping each of these 5 points for a few seconds:

  • First, the top of your head, and then
  • Center of forehead
  • Temple beside the corner of the eye
  • On the cheekbone directly under the eye
  • On the collarbone, just off-center of the chest
  • Then squeeze your wrist

After that, take a deep breath in and say “Peace” while exhaling.

emotional freedom technique | tapping technique | calm down quickly | wellbeing blog

Center of forehead

emotional freedom technique | tapping technique | calm down quickly | wellbeing blog

Temple beside the corner of the eye

emotional freedom technique | tapping technique  | calm down quickly | wellbeing blog

On the cheekbone directly under the eye

emotional freedom technique | tapping technique | calm down quickly | wellbeing blog

On the collarbone, just off-center of the chest

emotional freedom technique | tapping technique | calm down quickly | wellbeing blog

Squeezing your wrist for a few seconds

3. Evaluate the emotion after each round and keep repeating the cycle until the emotion is gone, and the score turns to zero.

Calming Techniques FAQ

Should I tap only on one side?

Yes, it is sufficient to tap on one side only. It does not matter which side you tap.

What if the score got reduced during the first EFT rounds but then increased again?

This happens when a new emotion starts prevailing. In this case, you need to start from the beginning: name and score the new emotion and continue with the tapping until the new emotion disappears.

Conclusions: How to calm down quickly

You can easily learn and apply

  • easy-to-learn
  • fast and effective techniques

that will help you to calm down and gain self-control in different situations.

  1. Physiological sigh uses a natural mechanism for emotional relief.
  2. Rapid eye movement mimics REM sleep responsible for the processing of emotions.
  3. EFT tapping combines stimulation of acupressure points with cognitive restructuring and exposure techniques to regain emotional comfort.

If you continuously experience high levels of anxiety or fear consider using hypnotherapy to resolve the root cause of the issue and achieve permanent relief.

Read a blog post on dealing with anxiety

You might also find useful my posts on mental well-being about The Best Gratitude Practice and How to Sleep Better.

References

  • Ramirez JM. The integrative role of the sigh in psychology, physiology, pathology, and neurobiology. Prog Brain Res. 2014;209:91-129. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63274-6.00006-0. PMID: 24746045; PMCID: PMC4427060.
  • Vlemincx E, Van Diest I, Van den Bergh O. A sigh of relief or a sigh to relieve: The psychological and physiological relief effect of deep breaths. Physiol Behav. 2016 Oct 15;165:127-35. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.07.004. Epub 2016 Jul 9. PMID: 27404329.
  • Novo Navarro P, Landin-Romero R, Guardiola-Wanden-Berghe R, Moreno-Alcázar A, Valiente-Gómez A, Lupo W, García F, Fernández I, Pérez V, Amann BL. 25 years of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): The EMDR therapy protocol, hypotheses of its mechanism of action and a systematic review of its efficacy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Rev Psiquiatr Salud Ment (Engl Ed). 2018 Apr-Jun;11(2):101-114. English, Spanish. doi: 10.1016/j.rpsm.2015.12.002. Epub 2016 Feb 11. PMID: 26877093.
  • Church D, Stapleton P, Yang A, Gallo F. Is Tapping on Acupuncture Points an Active Ingredient in Emotional Freedom Techniques? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Comparative Studies. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2018 Oct;206(10):783-793. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000878. Erratum in: J Nerv Ment Dis. 2020 Aug;208(8):632-635. PMID: 30273275.
  • Clond M. Emotional Freedom Techniques for Anxiety: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2016 May;204(5):388-95. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000483. PMID: 26894319.
  • Nelms JA, Castel L. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized and Nonrandomized Trials of Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for the Treatment of Depression. Explore (NY). 2016 Nov-Dec;12(6):416-426. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2016.08.001. Epub 2016 Aug 18. PMID: 27843054.
  • Sebastian B, Nelms J. The Effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Meta-Analysis. Explore (NY). 2017 Jan-Feb;13(1):16-25. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2016.10.001. Epub 2016 Oct 24. PMID: 27889444.

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