Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Six Psychological Strategies to Calm Down

posted by Beyond Blue

Because Beyond Blue readers seemed to appreciate the physical strategies I listed on my “Six Strategies to Calm Yourself Down” post (based on the suggestions Elaine Aron gives in her book, “The Highly Sensitive Person“), I thought I’d offer her psychological strategies as well.

1. Reframe the situation
In reframing, notice what is familiar and friendly, what you have successfully dealt with that is similar.
2. Repeat a phrase, prayer, or mantra that, through daily practice, you have come to associate with deep inner calm.
When repeating a mantra or prayer, if your mind races back to what is overarousing it, it is important not to get discouraged and stop. You will still be calmer than you would be without it.
3. Witness your overarousal.
When witnessing, imagine standing to one side, watching yourself, perhaps talking about yourself with a comforting, imaginary figure. “There’s Ann again, so overwhelmed she’s failing to pieces. I really feel for her. When she’s like this, of course, she can’t see beyond right now. Tomorrow, when she’s rested, she’ll be all excited again about her work. She just has to take some rest now no matter what seems to need to be done. Once she’s rested, it will go smoothly.”
4. Love the situation.
Loving the situation sounds pretty flippant, but it’s important. An expanded, loving mind, one that is open to the whole universe, is the opposite of a tightly constricted , overaroused mind.
5. Love your overarousal.
And if you cannot love the situation, it is vitally important and even more essential that you love yourself in your state of not being able to love the situation. [Got to be honest: I don’t really get these two. Or maybe I’m constricted and overaroused so much of the time, I don’t really know what I’m supposed to love.]

Aron adds the power of music, although this isn’t really a psychological strategy:

6. The Power of Music
Finally, do not forget the power of music to change your mood (Why do you think armies have bands and buglers?) But beware that most HSPs are strongly affected by music [I wrote about this in my "Play the Blues Away" post], so the right choice is essential. When you are already aroused, you do not want to stir yourself up more with emotional pieces or something associated with important memories (the music most people, being underaroused, cannot get enough of). Sobbing violins are out at such times. And, of course, since any music increases stimulation, use it only when it seems to soothe you. Its purpose is to distract you. Sometimes you need to be distracted; at other times, you need to attend carefully.



  • bhattathiri

    Mind is very restless, forceful and strong, O Krishna, it is more
    difficult
    to control the mind than to control the wind ~ Arjuna to Sri Krishna
    Introduction
    In this modern world the art of Management has become a part and parcel
    of
    everyday life, be it at home, in the office or factory and in
    Government. In
    all organizations, where a group of human beings assemble for a common
    purpose irrespective of caste, creed, and religion, management
    principles
    come into play through the management of resources, finance and
    planning,
    priorities, policies and practice. Management is a systematic way of
    carrying out activities in any field of human effort. Management need
    to
    focus more on leadership skills, e.g., establishing vision and goals,
    communicating the vision and goals, and guiding others to accomplish
    them.
    It also assert that leadership must be more facilitative, participative
    and
    empowering in how visions and goals are established and carried out.
    Some
    people assert that this really isn’t a change in the management
    functions,
    rather it’s re-emphasizing certain aspects of management.

  • Dee

    What I hear in “love the situation” and “love the overarousal” are other aspects of being the compassionate witness, though I might have chosen other verbs.
    When I can accept the situation and accept my overarousal, I have energy freed up to make choices about what’s next. When I’m trying to ignore or pretend otherwise, my creativity dwindles and I despair or explode. In acceptance I have options.

  • Delane

    Then again, there are those individuals that were raised in abusive and/or volitile (unstable) environments and in being so the “hard wiring” to the entire nervous system, (brain- chemicals released, as well as neural pathways) is set up differently than those who are not raised in such environments. The amounts of dopamine, seratonin, etc. are forever set at a different rate of release than people raised in calm, safe environments. The nervous system is set at full bore and it is such constantly, not just in a “flight or fight” type of situation. I, myself, had no startle reflex until about the age of 45 years old, and would remain calm in all types of crisis, from car accidents to house fires, kidnapping by a serial killer, etc. This probably saved my life more than once, and I did not understand the abilities that I had to remain calm in life-threatening situations when others were going off the deep end. At a Conference I attended while working with abused women and children, I learned about the difference in the brain that comes about through abuse before the age of five. And, the fact that it does not magically “rewire” itself. We are forever different because of this, and must try to learn to accept the fact that differences are ok, especialy if they are no fault of our own. Give ourselves the same understanding that we would another person in our shoes, and we will all be better off. Thank you.

  • marisol

    hello
    i hear you … myself emotions why i not feel comfortable but i had my dauhgter a part other foster parents , i had divorced why ihve loss with my life .. i hd other boyfriend long time 4 year , i am deaf and him hear had hard …that why sitution i tired about past ….
    i trying positive …. but i wrong …
    how expalain but not hard why had culture different …
    i dont know who help notringing….
    Thank you
    Marisol

  • SuzanneWA

    I was “stimulated” at a very early age. I was told that I was in six foster homes the first nine months of my life – meaning, I had no bonding, no “mother/father” figures, nothing to hold onto. When I was adopted, as I got older, my father, while not an actual abusive parent, would suddenly get angry with no provocation, leaving me in a perpetual state of arousal. Not knowing what I’d done (or didn’t do), would always set me off.
    To this day, I feel I need a bit of a “touch” of anxiety to function. A fellow bipolar and I feel this same way. If there’s not that “buzz” of perpetually “being at attention,” I flounder and, when left to my own devices, am bored and unsettled. That’s why my work as a mystery shopper and working on the computer doing surveys for cash, is so very important to me. At one time, I typed 121 w/p/m, so typing is my “fit;” I feel comfortable while typing and getting my thoughts down on paper as soon as I think them.
    Thank you, Therese, for putting words, such as “overarousal” into my vocabulary!

  • ReGina

    I teach middle school.:(

  • Veronica

    Yes. I can identify with being overaroused. I was usually called overly sensitive. However, this made me somewhat psychic, and good at reading the “energy” of situations and people. This is on the plus side. On the minus side, having an alcoholic mother who was in my life till the age of 27 has made me chronically anxious. I still tend to wake up anxious every morning. I also have trouble staying asleep every night (always slept with “one eye open” so to speak…mom liked to get physical for no reason). Mom’s been dead many years but it doesn’t seem to matter. Even so, I choose not to take drugs to manage myself as I just feel way too wierd and “flat”.
    I have found great relief with EFT and other energy methods, along with self hypnosis tapes I listen to when I’m falling asleep. I don’t know what I’d do with out that!
    Even so, I don’t think I want to change the good aspects of being this way. When I am in nature, I connect with it so much on a very deep level that many people can’t relate to. For that reason, I’m an avid environmentalist. I also feel much more for those who are suffering, and that motivates me to help others in meaningful ways. Beauty, and things like poetry move me to tears. Those things I don’t want to change. My brother is quite the opposite of me (numb) and I wouldn’t want to trade with him for anything in this world. It’s ok to FEEL. But, we must be gentle and take care of ourselves. Thanks for the helpful article. I can always use new tips :)

  • Deng Mayom Changath

    I began to believe and affirm that with God’s help the objectives… you are endeavoring to accomplish could be achieve. A feel come over.. me that everthings was doing to be all right,It vitally important and even more essenial that you love yourself in your mentioned of not…. being able to love the situation.When you are already aroused,You do not want to stair at yourself up more with emotional,Why I not feel….. comfortable but I had my girl friend ,we departed each other for almost four years left,and I don’t feel to make any relation ship with any other lady.Am good listener and repectful guy always obey a word of God’s,any overarousal,I was usually called over senstive.However,this made me sometimes psychic,and good at reading the energy.
    Thanks
    Deng M Changath
    ABYEI-S. SUDAN

  • Anonymous

    I can relate to most of the comments here, I too am bi-polar but do not know if it was my childhood that provoked it. Being left alone often to tend to my younger sister and finding myself in the house taking care of it most the time alone. To this day I am uncomfortable with emptiness in my home thus I have puppies to break the silence as I do live alone. In my early 20′s I was abused both mentally and physically for 7 years by a husband who put his hands on me weekly and I often went around with blackened eyes and bruises from the beatings. Finally got the courage to break loose. I am now approaching 60 (this year) and still bear the scars of that relationship. Life is harsh at times and I have found turning to God and nature are my constant solace, deep meditation also keeps me calm. I pray for all that need strength every day I pray for the world and it makes me feel connected I thank God for all he has given me, in doing this I find it hard to get anxious and angry much anymore. In these later years, thru hard work and perserverance I have found a sense of peace and calm has come to my life. I grow orchids and just the fragrance of such wonderful flowers can make me calm. God bless each and every one of those here…never give up.

  • smuzetta

    This is a good article…i’m usually quite anxious…when you mentioned a child’s brain, it made me think about being slapped (only once), by my mom, before i was in grade school…I had said “no” to her, and that’s what she did to me…She’s always been a good mom, but there are things about her, even now that i don’t understand, and i’m now 60 years of age…but being slapped because of a “no”, made me scared of the word “no”…many times in my life, when someone else said that to me, i thought it meant they’d leave me, or didn’t love me…only in the last 3-4 years, have i decided that i can say it and mean it..and that is still a little hard for me to do…but it did cause me to make a lot of mistakes during my life, so i’ve asked God to forgive me…I almost died of a skull fracture, a little over 3 years ago, and i’ve always been a spiritual person, so praying with God, and enjoying His nature, and sweet animal creatures, has helped me a lot, emotionally….thanks for your advice…

  • oversensitive, c’est moi

    Although I’e never heard it put this quite this way before, it makes perfect sense. My sibs are all the same way and cope with it in various ways. I’ve been in therapy longer than most people have been alive, and am told that my problems are due to childhood issues and the “family of origin.” Probably it is but I’m no therapist so what do I know?
    My name even is the same as your example. In my particular case, I’ve been unemployed more than a year and that has pushed self-esteem down even further. Yet, I am very smart, have 3 degrees and great credentials. Objectively, I know these things, but I am still depressed and anxious about the future. Being Christian, I’m not suicidal and have had no choice but to be resilient. Thank you,
    A,

  • Roy

    DO I OWE YOU FOR OPENING UP THIS! Let me take it all in a bit of a different direction. I am 79 and was blessed, (cursed), with a very high IQ. I see and feel things that others do not even acknowledge exist. As a consequence, at this point in life, I have no idea who I really am. I have the ability to almost be who you think I am. I am a different person depending on who I am around or where I am. I wear armour plate to protect myself! I recognized early in my chosen field, chemical engr, you cannot be smarter than your boss! So you learn to “con” them into your way of thinking. Process changes had to be “cheated” into being. I thought something was wrong with me until I found out through Mensa what the problem really was. I have been married for 50+ years and am still a stranger in my own house. This information has also shown me that I am “overly sensitive”! Something else to hide! Being different in this society is very painful. You have to conform! Anything other than average makes you suspect and not to be trusted! You dare not reveal your thoughts or feelings or you get the funny looks or the “whats the matter with you” verbage! So if things are very obvious to you and no one else can understand, I suggest you take the Mensa tests to find out what your “problem” really is. If you end up like I did, (upper 0.5%) that will tell you to “dumb down” everything for the remainder of “stupid” society. It is classical also for this group to be extra sensitive and have difficulty dealing with the “idiot” you are working for. One thought to keep in mind-ALWAYS-you only “work” for one reason, AND IT IS NOT SATISFACTION, it is for the paycheck!!!!!! If you are getting satisfaction then non of this applies to you!

  • Deng Mayom Changath

    I really get these tow, or may be I’m constricted overaroused so much of the time,I don’t really know what I’m supposed to love, Think about yourself .you will always be parents, but you have to realise that you are also human being with real interests, real ideas and real need to explore these feelings. Take a few hours to do not avail yourself to meet people, most probably you will end up alone. otherwise
    psychological repeat manar,or prayer,somtimes, you stay at home with parents,relatives,and situation still ongoing!as well as if you have mental problems,
    This myth results from commitment phobia or fearof have along-term relationships.A commitment Psychological person in the case would assume the worest as away of rationalising thier avoidance or to just her/his feras, When you view realtionships objectives,you will be able to learn how to cope with the external and internal demans of social integration. haveing alcohol is sensitives situation and people this don’t concenterated matual
    Thanks

  • Lisa

    How is “listening to music” NOT a psychological strategy?

  • Karen

    Loving your overarousal is just realizing you are human, not perfect, and just uniquely you. It’s about loving yourself.

  • M

    I figured this out about myself some time ago, and thank God I received understanding and affirmation from a mentor. I then saw the blessings, strengths, and needs of my uniqueness. My parent had me thinking I was “too sensitive,” unable to survive in the world, and doomed (at best) to a mediocre fulfilling life that hinged on the philanthropy of others. Understanding and balance really are the key, so that we can do what is necessary to see to our well-being. Knowing that we tend to be very bright helps because people would have you think that you are underdeveloped intellectually and/or emotionally. “Know thy self” is sage advice. For me the truth is, in a society that moves so fast it does not appreciate beauty or life, or that recieves marketing images as a standard to live by, and public relation speeches as truth… people that have acute awareness and feeling are a gift. May you continue to appreciate your uniqueness and share it for the benefit of all.

  • Christina

    HEAVEN CAN BE ON EARTH IF YOU SLOW DOWN BREATHING IN EVERY MOEMENT .REALIZING THAT EVERY THOUGHT HAS PURPOSE AND EVERY ENCOUNTER CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOU- TIME CAN BE ON YOURSIDE IF YOU START WALKING INSTEAD OF TALKING- THE PAST CAN ONLY HAUNT YOU IF YOU CHOOSE TO LET IT.THE CHOOSE IS YOURS. GOD IS ALL YOU NEED TO REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN BE MORE THAN A CONQUERE IF YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT WEAPONS- YOURE WORDS ARE POWERFUL- EVERY WORD SPOKEN HAS A WAY OF PREDICTING THE OUTCOME
    FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU WANT RATHER THAN WHAT YOU DON’T- UNDERSTANDING WILL CLEAR YOUR VISION ALLOWING YOU TO WALK INTO YOUR GOD GIVEN PURPOSE -ALLOWING HIM TO BE YOUR SOURCE OF ALL THINGS WILL BRING A FREEDOM TO EVERY SITUATION “LET GO AND LET GOD” HE WILL FREE YOU FROM YOUR MIND AND YOU WILL BECOME WHO YOU WERE MEANT TO BE IF YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES TO THE WORLD AND LOOK INSIDE YOU. YOUR NEVER TO FAR GONE! LOOK INSIDE FOR THE ANSWER -OPEN THE BOOK OF TRUTH (BIBLE) AND YOU SHALL BE RESTORED -RENEWED AND LOVE WILL BE RETURNED TO YOUR FOR WHATEVER YOU HAVE LOST WILL ONLY PREDICT YOUR LIFE IF YOU CHOOSE TO LIVE DAILY REMEMBERING THE LOSE OR LEARN FROM IT. GOD BLESS IT’S ALL IN YOUER HANDS

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