The nervous system is a complex part of the body. It is responsible for regulating stimuli, sensations and signals and coordinates your activity based on the information it receives. Then send instructions to the rest of your body, “advising” it on how to react.
5 ways to calm your nervous system quickly
However, the nervous system is not perfect all the time. You may panic over things that aren’t that important, or you may have a hard time calming down after going into overdrive. This can affect your ability to focus and perform daily tasks. So how can you handle this? Here are 5 super-fast ways to calm your nervous system right now.
Engaging your sense of touch has a positive effect on calming the nervous system
Your senses are powerful and insightful, and the ease with which they notice and interpret stimuli makes them ideal for quick methods of calming. To start, let’s talk about how you can activate your sense of touch to bring your nervous system to a more relaxed state:
Put on comfortable clothes, hug a stuffed animal or pet, or wrap yourself in something warm and cozy. When you are stressed, this can help calm your nervous system and bring it to a more relaxed state.
Use a stress ball
Stress balls and other similar mechanisms for stress relief exist for a reason. When you’re feeling extremely aggravated, upset, or repressed, wearing one can help engage your muscles and eliminate tension and excitement in a healthy way.
Splash cold water on your skin
Do you need a more invigorating awakening from a state of stress? Take some cold water and wash your hands, face and neck with it. (If you can, taking a cold shower works too.) This can literally help you cool down, calming your nervous system and putting you in a more relaxed state.
Give your hands a massage
Take a cream or lotion that you like and use it to give your hands a nice and relaxing massage. Rub the membranes between your fingers, each joint of each finger, flex your wrists, and squeeze and loosen your palms. The stretching massage lasts only five minutes and has positive effects on anxiety and nervousness.
Get a foot massage with a tennis ball
Any hard round ball of the appropriate size will do this. Place it under your feet and roll it under the arches of each sole. Do this gently and press more firmly on the sensitive areas. It’s a cool and simple massage where you don’t even have to stop your chores.
Give your scalp a massage
Contrary to popular belief, the best scalp massage does not use one of those devices to scratch the head. Instead, it involves gently pulling your hair so that you can feel a slight lift on your scalp to reduce head tension and relieve your stress. You can also continue with a warmer massage.
Have you heard of acupuncture? Well, this is it, but without the needles! It involves finding the pressure points on your body and massaging them to help relieve feelings of stress and promote overall physical healing. You can test it by finding the divots where your skull meets your neck muscles and pressing them for about 15 seconds.
Engage your nose
As mentioned above, activating your senses offers the fastest nervous system relief. Your sense of smell takes notes of new scents quickly and you can get pleasure and enjoyment from them for better positive thinking. Here are some ways to calm your nervous system through your sense of smell:
Smell citrus aromas
Sweet orange scents have been shown to have positive effects on overall mood. Enjoying orange scented items can bring those calming effects on you in times of stress. You can also peel and eat or squeeze an orange for an even cooler focus.
Be around the flowers
If you can, buying fresh flowers regularly to keep near your work area or in your home can be a great way to stimulate your senses and calm your nervous system. Otherwise, you can also go out and look for flowers in public parks and gardens. A good walk among the wonderful floral scents can help you relax.
Use some scents
Perfumes, colognes, lotions and creams are a great way to apply scents directly to your body so that you can bring their calming effects. Plus, it smells great to boot!
Try some aromatherapy
The essential oils, placed in diffusers, create delicious and relaxing scents that you can easily and quickly enjoy. You can also mix essential oil into a carrier oil to make it safe for your skin and apply it to your hands to carry the scent with you.
Calming oils can help stimulate smell receptors and reduce anxiety and stress. The best is lavender essential oil, which has been shown in research to have incredible effects on the body, such as lowering blood pressure, better sleep, reduced depression and anxiety, greater pain tolerance, and better well-being.
Engage your muscles and your body can calm the nervous system
Overactive nervous system can elicit significant physical responses in your body. Helping to express accumulated tension by moving your body and working your muscles can quickly restore balance to your hormones and nervous system. Here are some ways to do it:
You don’t have to work out complex yoga poses for an hour to reap the benefits of a simple stretch or two. Stretching your arms, legs, and back simply and quickly can promote better blood circulation and calm your nervous system.
Go for a walk
Take a quick walk around the room, to the bathroom, or go out for tea or a snack. The act of stretching your legs and moving will help you relax your mind, and the change of scenery adds to those restorative effects.
Lift your legs
Most people spend most of their time upright. Lifting your feet, whether by leaning back and reclining with a stool or leaning your legs fully against a wall, can provide restorative effects on the mind and body. Your calves and legs will thank you for the rest and your nervous system will focus on balancing itself.
Doing physical activity that increases your heart rate stimulates circulation, creates positive hormones, and helps you burn off nervous or stressed energy. A quick, intense bout of exercise for just a couple of minutes may be all you need. Do some push-ups, dance, run in place, do a couple of jumping jacks, or try burpees.
Engage your sense of taste (digestion)
Once again, we return to the almost magical effects of engaging your senses to help relax the nervous system. Your taste buds can send many different signals to your brain and help you feel better, but if you choose the right foods, you will also get the added benefits of whatever the food and its components are. Here are some options you can try when you need to calm down:
Eat some chocolate
Dark chocolate is a guilt-free sweet, and just one square has the effective ability to calm the nervous system. Studies show that it can lower stress levels, improve your brain health, and satisfy those sweet cravings well.
Eat some mango
Mangoes are a great bittersweet mix, making them ideal for waking up your system and taking your attention away from your worries. More interestingly, it contains linalool, a compound that has positive effects on anxiety and stress.
Green tea contains a chemical known as L-theanine, which studies have found to have positive effects on the body’s responses to stress. It also has a soothing taste and a soothing smell, which is an added bonus.
Take honey from bees
Honey is famous for its calming properties, and research shows that it fights depression, reduces anxiety symptoms, provides quick energy, and helps keep the brain strong and healthy. Better yet, it’s versatile, so you can eat it straight out of the jar, mix it into drinks, or eat it with fruit, yogurt, or other healthy snacks.
Chew some gum
Chewing gum keeps your sense of taste active while giving you an excuse to work your jaw muscles. The repetitive act of chewing has positive effects on stress levels and can help you stay relaxed.
Engage your mind
Your mind is the source of the worst of your stress and anxiety, and if your nervous system is overloaded, going directly to the source of the problem is a great way to help. While it’s not quick at first, learning to engage your mind and analyze your thoughts and your mental state is a skill that you will get better at and faster over time. Here are some ways to do this:
Visualize the calm
Visualization is a great tool for relaxing the nervous system. Close your eyes and imagine your happy place, or imagine a positive outcome for things that stress you out. Visualize your body as a calm and relaxed container and release anxiety and stress with attention.
Write and reflect
If you are really in the midst of a nervous system panic, grab a piece of paper or open a document or note blog on the device of your choice. Then write without strings attached about everything that stresses you out. Do not hold back and write everything that comes to mind, even the irrational or mean things. You can also do this in a journal. Once you have done this, you will have expressed a lot of negative energy and you can reread this writing later to reflect on your emotions.
Challenge negative thoughts
Many people experience negative thoughts and emotions that send them into nervous or panic spirals, to which the nervous system responds quickly. Learn to observe these negative thoughts and challenge them. Question your rationality, reiterate your ability to be strong in the face of obstacles, ask if this will matter in a few days, and replace the worst things with positive thoughts.
Final thoughts on how to learn to calm the nervous system quickly
Nervous system responses are crucial to daily functioning, but wisdom is knowing when it’s time to calm it down again. Learning to communicate relaxation to your nervous system, so that it returns to a more positive state, is helpful, especially if you face many stressors in everyday life.