How To Calm Down When Feeling Overwhelmed And Stressed?

Danzae Pace once said, “Stress is the trash of modern life – we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.”

When overwhelmed, it’s crucial to find ways to calm down, unwind, and regain control.

This isn’t just about feeling better at the moment; it’s about promoting long-term mental health, an often overlooked yet essential aspect of our everyday lives. 

So, let’s dive in and explore some practical strategies to help you manage stress effectively.

I.Understanding Stress and Anxiety

Stress is a physiological response to external pressures or threats, often resulting in feelings of tension, restlessness, and uneasiness. 

It can cause both physical and psychological symptoms, such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and difficulty focusing.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a persistent feeling of fear or worry that may not be linked to any specific stressor. 

It’s an ongoing mental health disorder that can interfere with daily activities and generate symptoms like restlessness, excessive worry, and trouble with concentration.

Common Causes Of Stress

  • Juggling numerous tasks and responsibilities
  • Undergoing major life changes
  • Experiencing traumatic events
  • Dealing with relationship problems
  • Working in a high-pressure job.

How Stress And Anxiety Manifest In Daily Life

Stress and anxiety often manifest in daily life through both physical and emotional symptoms. 

  • Physically- headaches insomnia, fatigue, or stomach issues.
  • Emotionally- mood swings, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of constant worry. 

It can also lead to changes in behavior like withdrawal from social activities, overeating or undereating, and increased use of alcohol or drugs. 

These manifestations can impact productivity, relationships, and overall quality of life, making it crucial to manage stress and anxiety effectively.

Short Summary:

Stress and anxiety, caused by various factors, manifest through physical and emotional symptoms, impacting daily life and overall health. Effective management is crucial.

 II.Identifying Your Stress Triggers

Stress triggers, also known as stressors, are events or conditions in your surroundings that may trigger the stress response in your body. 

They can be anything from major life changes (like a job loss or the death of a loved one), to daily hassles (like traffic jams or deadlines at work).

Understanding your stress triggers is crucial for several reasons:

  • It allows you to anticipate and prepare for stressful situations, which can help to reduce their impact. 
  • Recognizing your stress triggers can help you to develop coping strategies to manage stress more effectively. 
  • Understanding your stress triggers can also help you to avoid unnecessary stress.

Effective Techniques for Identifying Personal Stress Triggers

Identifying personal stress triggers is a crucial step in managing your stress effectively. 

Here are five techniques to help you identify these triggers:

  1. Mindfulness: This practice involves paying careful attention to your body, mind, and environment. It can help you recognize the signs of stress and become more aware of how you react to certain situations.
  1. Self-Reflection: Spend time reflecting on situations that make you feel stressed. Completing statements like “I feel overwhelmed when…” or “At work, I wish people would…” can help you pinpoint your triggers.
  1. Monitoring Physical Health: Pay attention to physical changes that occur when you’re in specific environments or dealing with certain situations. Do your hands become sweaty? Does your stomach drop? Do you often get headaches or an upset stomach?
  1. Journaling: Keeping a diary of your stress can help you identify patterns and common themes. Write down what you were doing, who you were with, and how you felt when you noticed the stress symptoms.
  1. Seeking Professional Help: If you’re struggling to identify your stress triggers, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can provide tools and strategies to help you understand and manage your stress better.

Everyone’s triggers are different, so what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. The key is to find techniques that work best for you.

Short Summary:

Identifying personal stress triggers is crucial in stress management. Mindfulness, self-reflection, monitoring physical health, journaling, and professional help are effective techniques

 III. Lifestyle Changes That Help Manage Stress

Managing stress is vital for mental health. Chronic stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. 

It can disrupt sleep, affect mood, and impair concentration. 

By identifying stress triggers and employing coping strategies, we can reduce its impact, promoting better mental well-being in everyday life.

Solution 1: Breathing Exercise

Breathing exercise is just one of a few strategies for relieving stress and improving overall well-being.

Here are some deep breathing techniques you can try:

  • Basic Deep Breathing: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, then exhale fully through your mouth. Repeat this for several minutes.
  • 4-7-8 Breathing Technique: This involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and then exhaling for 8 seconds. This technique helps to slow down your heart rate and can be particularly useful for managing anxiety.
  • Breath Focus: For relaxation, merge deep breathing with imagery. As you breathe deeply, triggering a relaxation response, visualize a serene scene or recite a soothing word or phrase to yourself.
  • Pursed Lip Breathing: Inhale slowly through your nostrils. Purse your lips, as if you were going to whistle, and exhale slowly, making the exhale two times longer than the inhale.

Incorporate these exercises into your routine regularly, even if it’s just a few minutes each day, for more effective results. 

They can aid in reducing stress, managing chronic health conditions, and fostering a sense of calm.

Solution 2: Physical Activity 

Physical activity is a potent stress reliever. It boosts endorphins, improves mood and energy, and reduces physical tension. 

Exercise lowers stress hormone levels, promoting relaxation and a positive outlook. It enhances overall health when performed regularly. 

Some of the best physical activity you can do:

  • Jogging or Running: A high-intensity workout that improves cardiovascular health.
  • Swimming: A full-body workout that is gentle on the joints.
  • Yoga: Combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation for holistic wellness.
  • Cycling: An excellent low-impact exercise for improving strength and endurance.
  • Strength Training: Lifting weights or resistance training to build muscle and improve bone density.

Solution 3: Role Of Social Support

Social support from family and friends is vital in stress management. 

It aids in reducing feelings of isolation, offering comfort and advice, encouraging healthy behaviors, and promoting a sense of well-being. 

These factors contribute to effective stress control and also help reduce anxiety.

Solution 4: Chewing Gum

Chewing gum has been found to have several stress-reducing benefits. 

It can help relieve anxiety and improve alertness by stimulating blood flow and increasing the delivery of oxygen to the brain. 

The act of chewing, likely due to its rhythmic and repetitive nature, not only promotes a sense of relaxation but also leaves you feeling relaxed afterward.

Additionally, certain flavors like mint are known to have a calming effect. However, it’s important to choose sugar-free gum to avoid dental problems.

Solution 5: Soothing Music

Listening to soothing music can help manage stress by slowing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and reducing cortisol, a hormone linked to stress. 

The rhythm and melody can promote relaxation and induce a positive mood, thereby alleviating stress.

Solution 6: Balanced Diet

A balanced diet provides essential nutrients that regulate the body’s stress response system. 

Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and B vitamins can help reduce stress levels. 

Adequate nutrition supports brain function, influences mood, fights fatigue, and boosts the immune system, all of which help manage stress effectively.

Solution 7: Quality Sleep

Adequate sleep is crucial in stress management. It decreases cortisol levels, enhancing emotional regulation and resilience to daily stressors. 

Insufficient sleep can elevate stress, impair problem-solving skills, and impact overall health. Enhancing sleep quality can help tackle a day’s stress more easily.

To understand more about the importance of sleep and discover tips for improving sleep quality, visit our blog: How to Sleep Better: 7 Secrets to Wake Up Feeling Rested & Rejuvenated.

Solution Eat: Read

Reading plays a pivotal role in stress management. It can relax your body, lower your heart rate, and ease muscle tension. 

Studies show that reading, notably fiction, immerses the mind, reducing stress levels by 68%. It’s an effective strategy for distraction from stressful thoughts. 

Learn more about the benefits of reading for stress relief on our blog.

Short Summary:

Lifestyle changes like breathing exercises, physical activity, social support, chewing gum, soothing music, a balanced diet, quality sleep, and reading can effectively manage stress.

IV. Seeking Professional Help

Feelings of sadness, anxiety, emotional distress, or if these feelings interfere with your daily activities.

Several types of therapy can be beneficial for managing stress and overwhelm:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This type of therapy aids in comprehending and altering thought patterns that result in harmful behaviors or feelings of distress, particularly when feeling anxious.

2. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR):

This involves mindfulness meditation to help you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.

3. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT focuses on teaching coping skills to combat destructive urges, regulate emotions, and improve relationships.

Remember, it’s essential to find a therapy type and a mental health professional that you feel comfortable with to ensure the best outcome.

Short Summary:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy can effectively manage stress and emotional distress.

V. Conclusion

Managing stress and overwhelm is crucial for maintaining mental health. 

Implementing strategies such as deep breathing, physical activity, mindfulness, and listening to soothing music can help calm your mind. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) are effective therapies to consider when feeling persistently stressed or overwhelmed.

It’s okay to seek help when you need it. 

Prioritizing your mental health is not a sign of weakness but rather an act of strength. Don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals if you’re struggling. 

Remember, everyone deserves to live a life free from undue stress and emotional turmoil. 

VI. Resources

Here are some resources that can provide additional support and information for managing stress and mental health:


  1. “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by David D. Burns
  2. “The Mindful Way through Depression” by Mark Williams
  3. “Emotional First Aid” by Guy Winch


  1. Grat
  3. American Psychological Association
  4. National Institute of Mental Health


  1. Calm – for meditation and sleep.
  2. Headspace – guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training.
  3. Moodpath – an interactive mental health screening and improvement program.

Additional Resources:

  1. Psychology Today – Find a therapist near you.
  2. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – If you’re in crisis, they offer immediate assistance.

Remember: It’s very important to reach out to a healthcare professional if you’re struggling with your mental health. They can provide guidance and help you find the most appropriate resources for your needs.

Take care of yourself – your mental health matters!