Ways to Calm Your Mind and Body When Stressed

Posted: February 22, 2022 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 6 minutes

ways to stay calm as a studentEverybody’s feeling a little extra stressed lately. Between work, school, relationships, and checking off your daily to-do list all while being expected to get eight hours of sleep can be extremely overwhelming! The next time you’re clenching your teeth trying to get through the day, try some of these mind and body exercises to help you keep your cool.

Ways to Calm Your Mind

Take a deep breath

You have to remember to breathe. When you find yourself in a stressful situation, relax your shoulders, take your eyes away from your computer screen, and count to ten. Taking a moment to yourself to recenter and regroup before continuing on can help you regain your focus.

Take a warm shower or bath

Take some time to loosen up. Give yourself a moment to think, relax, and collect yourself. Having a moment to yourself can be helpful to gather your thoughts and process your stress. Additionally, heat on sore or tense muscles can do a lot more than you think. When you apply heat to aching or hurting muscles, your blood vessels get bigger. This allows more nutrients and oxygen to be delivered to the muscle and result in better circulation. Increased blood flow also helps transport any toxins away from the muscle while increasing muscle elasticity and decreasing pain signals because your nerve endings are being blocked.

Put on some chill music

Music can be heavily influential on a person’s mood, so try putting on some yoga or instrumental music to help you catch your breath and calm your pulse. Just doing it for 5 minutes can have a significant calming effect!

Be mindful

Pay attention to your body’s reaction to a stressful situation. Is your heart beating faster? Is your breathing shallow and rapid? Take a moment to center your focus inward on what your body is telling you. Focus on your breathing, and maybe try breathing in for five counts through your nose, holding for five, and exhaling through your mouth for five. Focusing on your breath can help stabilize your breathing and get your overwhelming emotions back under control.

Write it down

Find a comfortable space and write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal or on a piece of scratch paper. Sometimes laying everything out on paper can help you sort through the fluff and stuff that comes with feeling overwhelmed and get you back to feeling calm and collected. If you would like, when you are done, you may want to rip up the paper. For some people, this is a way of accepting what is and letting go. Others may want to keep the paper and use it to work through whatever stress they are experiencing. One way isn’t better than the other, so find what works best for you.

Try guided imagery

Guided imagery is a form of meditation that is designed to help reduce anxiety by having the participant imagine a relaxing scenario that stimulates the brain to calm the body down. There are plenty of guided imagery videos on YouTube that you can search or you could try a podcast. There are a ton of relaxation apps that you can download onto your phone for guided imagery, mediation, or some relaxing music. Whichever way you choose, sit back, relax, and enter a new world.

Ways to Calm Your Body


Some people find yoga difficult, but there are plenty of simplified exercises that you can do to help you find your balance and connect to your core. You can watch a tutorial or a guided session on YouTube, or check out a book on yoga from your local library. Just be sure to bring your stretchy pants and a yoga mat if you have one. SUU offers Yoga classes on Wednesdays if that sounds like something you would like to try.

Progressive muscle relaxation

This is where you tense up different muscles in your body and then slowly relax them. Not only can this help reduce anxiety, but it can help reduce muscle tension if you’re feeling a little tight during the day. When your muscles are relaxed, your body gets the signal that it’s time to rest. Search for tutorials on YouTube about muscle relaxation.

Take a walk

If the weather is fair, or if you don’t mind walking in the rain, then head outside for a loop around your neighborhood. If you’re feeling like you need to talk to somebody, try walking to a friend’s house. That way you have a destination in mind where you know you’ll be safe. Staying active by walking at a steady pace while paying attention to the surrounding nature can help clear your mind and ease your worries.

Do something you like

Taking a break to do something you enjoy is a good way to destress for a little bit and clear your mind. Make a craft, cook a yummy snack, play a video game, or do any sort of hobby you have to help take your mind off things for a bit. Life is worth enjoying, so offer yourself some designated time to do something you love.

Stay warm

Grab a cozy blanket and make yourself a warm, non-caffeinated drink to help ease any worries. Caffeinated drinks, while effective for staying awake, can elevate your body’s levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Instead, try herbal tea or hot chocolate or just warm milk. Anything that will help you loosen up while you focus on the task at hand. You can also take a “one-minute vacation.” While you’re in your bed, try pulling your covers over your head and focusing on the soft texture of the fabrics to help your body relax.

Get a massage

Visit a reputable spa nearby and treat yourself to a massage. Or if it’s more convenient and less expensive, have your roommate or your friend give you a back rub or even just a hug. Physical touch is one of many ways to ground yourself when feeling anxious.


Taking the time to relax when you’re stressed can help you perform better at work and at school, but more importantly, it can help you learn to listen to your body and know when you’re pushing yourself a little bit too much. Your well-being is more important than constantly working. So the next time you feel like all the pressure is going to overwhelm you, take a moment and try one of the aforementioned steps to get yourself calm and back to where you need to be. Remember, not everything may work for you, and that’s okay. Go with what helps and scrap what doesn’t. Keep trying new relaxation techniques to see what’s best for your lifestyle.

Check out the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) website for more about how you can learn to calm yourself down when you’re stressed. SUU has a beautiful campus and surrounding area, so feel free to go take a breather anywhere on campus or in the beautiful Cedar City! You can also find a nature escape up in the gorgeous Red Rock Trails for a little extra Zen. Connect yourself back to the earth and back to yourself. All it takes is a few deep breaths.

Tags: Mental Health Student Life CAPS

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