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10 Ways To Calm Down Your Nervous System:


The following things allow you to calm down your body and mind.  Or more specifically, your nervous system: it is the part of your body that controls whether you feel calm (then your parasympathetic nervous system is active) or on the edge, fighting or fleeing or frozen/stuck. (then your sympathetic nervous system response is active). And a calm mind and body is necessary for a relaxation response. And a relaxed body is good for your immune system that fights diseases and that masters the effect of stress and anxiety on your mind and body, long-term.

Our mind/emotions/body can feel like going into “freeze” or “collapse” if we experience a longer period of stress. If you feel you are slowed down (e.g., feel your brain is foggy, feel you cannot move, feel too heavy to get out of bed), seek some (therapeutic or mental health) support to gently release the stress response of your body. All of the above strategies can help you to move from feeling stuck or “frozen” to alive and pursuing YOUR true mission.

Let’s get started: Try out the following strategies of stress management:

-Calm Down Your Autonomic Nervous System Through Deep Breaths:

E.g., Inhale through one nostril, exhale through the other (as many times as you can)

-Bilateral Body Movements:

Move your body’s left and right sides in an alternating fashion, e.g., tap your right and then your left foot, right, left, right left,… (50 repetitions)

-Light Exercise:

Take a walk; run a flight of stairs, go for a swim. It will get the “feel good” chemicals in your body going (especially after having exercised). It also get your blood pressure and heart rate down.


  • Avoid talking to people who are not sensitive to your current needs;
  • Take breaks from talking about this difficult topic (especially early in the morning and after 8 p.m. at night);
  • Communicate to those not as sensitive to you during times of the day conducive to your schedule and energy levels.

-(Online) Support:

Talk to (and possibly share) people who are sensitive to your current needs. If you are dealing with an addiction (or an addiction in a loved one), consider a 12 step community for education and support. E.g. 24 hours online support: or look up an in-person 12 step meeting by googling “12 Step meeting locator”.


  • If you cannot fall asleep, see your time as time of resting instead. Resting helps your body relax and replenish. Listen to this “Resting” script instead of trying to fall asleep.
  • Look up and listen to Youtube “EMDR Bilateral Stimulation Music”. Listen to that music using head sets- it will calm down your brain.

Thought & Emotion Stopping Strategies:

With our thoughts we can increase our mental health or release stress response. Use some of the following strategies to stop your thoughts and emotions and reroute your thinking and feelings to create health in your mind and body:

Strategy 1: “The Three Second Rule”:

This strategy will take you about three seconds to create a change. Note that this strategy is easy on paper to difficult to do, because all of your feelings (or your body’s stress response) might want to hinder you from the following three seconds of experience:

-Second 1: In the first second that you notice something is going on, stop and tell yoursel:  I feel something / have recurring thoughts that I cannot slow down.”

-Second 2: In the second second of your experience,  Interrupt and ask yourself: What is my strategy?

-Second 3: During the third second of your experience, go through your strategy tool kit and pick and apply one of the above strategies.

Strategy 2: “Bathroom Break”

Step away from what you are doing by going to the bathroom (or another place with running water) to wash your hands. This will move your body’s sensations to a more calm state.

Strategy 3: “Ice Cube Break”

Step away from what you are doing by getting some ice (e.g., vending machine, ice cube tray) and hold the ice in your hands. Notice the cool sensation. The cool sensation can help you gently shift your behavior and/or feelings.

Strategy 4: Heart beat strategy:

Download an app with heart beat sounds. Take a break from what you are doing, grab a jacket, towel, sheet, or blanket, and listen to the heart beat (5 min or longer as you wish). It will gently activate your parasympathetic nervous system (the part of your nervous system that calms down your body.

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