How to calm down when you’re stressed

Are you stressed out? These mindfulness tips can help you calm down right now.

If you’re stressed about school, work, relationships or anything else that’s going on in your life, you’re not alone. You may be feeling overwhelmed, anxious or upset about a problem — or even more than one. Whatever’s going on for you, it’s comforting to know there are things you can do to help yourself calm down. Here are some positive coping strategies you can use in the moment:

  • •    Ground yourself: grounding techniques can help you regain control of your mind and body. Try using your senses to feel more connected to your current environment. Focus on what you can see, touch, hear, taste and smell.
  • •    Breathe deep: breathing exercises can help your body relax and your mind focus on one thing at a time. Try taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • •    Use your imagination: sit or lie down in a safe, comfortable spot and use your mind to go somewhere else. Close your eyes and imagine you’re in a favourite place, or make up a game to play (like counting sheep) to distract yourself.
  • •    Open up: when you’re upset, you may want to spend time on your own. If you can, try to hang out with friends or family, too. Sometimes, talking about a problem with someone you trust can help you start feeling better.
  • •    Take a break: be kind to yourself and do something else for a while. You could play video games, watch a movie, listen to music, spend time with a pet, take a warm bath or meditate. Taking time out can help you move your mind off whatever is causing you stress.
  • •    Express yourself: you can try painting, writing, sculpting, singing, dancing or doing something else that helps you get your feelings out. Having an outlet to express yourself — and concentrate on a project — can help you feel some relief.
  • •    Have fun: look for something that makes you smile (e.g. a funny video, picture of friends/family, etc.) and take a few minutes to enjoy it. Laughing can help you unwind and focus on something fun.
  • •    Work it out: when you exercise, your body releases chemicals that can make you feel good (called endorphins). You could try going for a walk/run, playing a sport or doing yoga to channel your energy into something positive. You could always ask a friend to work out with you!
  • •    Take a nap: taking a few minutes to rest your mind and body can help you cope with stress. Sleep can also give your brain a chance to process and reset, making it a little easier to manage what’s on your mind.
  • •    Get support: if you’re struggling, it’s important to get support. Find someone you can talk to right away, such as a friend, parent/caregiver or teacher. Kids Help Phone’s counsellors are only a phone call away and available 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868. They can help you calm down, even if you’re really upset.

If you’re stressed out, remember there are always things you can do to feel better. When things get rough, taking a deep breath, giving your mind a break and getting support can help you calm down in the moment.

If you would like to know more about this topic, feel free to speak or chat with a counsellor.