Control your emotions and stay calm when life becomes stressful

Coping with stress

Managing worry

Managing low mood

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What It Does

This resource provides:

checkmarkA seven step action plan to calm down
checkmarkTips to ground yourself in your surroundings
checkmarkHelp shifting focus away from negative feelings

How It Helps

This resource can help you:

checkmarkRelax in stressful situations
checkmarkDevelop an action plan for any setting
checkmarkBe mindful about your surroundings

This resource provides:

checkmarkA seven step action plan to calm down
checkmarkTips to ground yourself in your surroundings
checkmarkHelp shifting focus away from negative feelings

This resource can help you:

checkmarkRelax in stressful situations
checkmarkDevelop an action plan for any setting
checkmarkBe mindful about your surroundings

Save this resource

Love Breaking Free! Our clients have provided strong and favorable feedback. I encourage all to [sign up].

— Anonymous, on using the Breaking Free: Wellness platform

Here’s a way for you to calm yourself down anytime and anywhere!

This action plan shows you how to shift your attention away from anything that’s bothering you and focus it on something else entirely.

And since you can do this in your head rather than by talking out loud, you’ll be able to shift your focus without anyone even knowing once you’ve practised it enough.

Carry this action plan with you so that if you start to feel upset or wound up, you can take control of your emotions.

Remember: the more you practise this technique, the easier, quicker and more natural it will become. 

1. Look around you and SELECT something to focus on 

This could be an object (e.g. an apple or a wristwatch), a scene (e.g. a queue of people or a shop window display), or a view (e.g. a view of the countryside or a street scene). 

2. Focus on what you can SEE, noticing as many features as possible

Ask yourself questions about what you’re looking at and think about the answers, such as:

  • What shape is this object? And how big is it?

  • How many people are in this scene? And what clothes are they wearing?

  • What are all the different colours in this view? And how vivid are they?

If you can’t think of questions to ask and answer, describe to yourself what you can see in front of you right now.

3. Focus on what you can FEEL to touch, noticing as many textures as possible

If you’re focusing on an object, ask yourself questions about what you’re touching and think about the answers, such as:

  • How heavy is this apple?

  • What does the texture of this watch strap feel like to touch?

Or if you’re focusing on a scene or view, imagine what it would feel like if you could reach out and touch something you can see, such as:

  • How cold would that window pane feel if I could touch it?

  • How soft would that grass feel if I could run my hand through it?

If you can’t think of questions to ask and answer, describe to yourself what you can touch right now. Or tell yourself what you imagine it would be like to touch something you can see.

4. Focus on what you can HEAR, noticing as many sounds as possible

Ask yourself questions about each sound you can hear and think about the answers, such as:

  • How loud is this sound?

  • Is it a soft or harsh sound?

  • Where exactly is this sound coming from?

  • Is this sound constant, or is it coming and going? If you can’t think of questions to ask and answer, describe to yourself all the different sounds you can hear right now.

5. Focus on what you can SMELL, noticing as many scents as possible

Ask yourself questions about each scent you can identify and think about the answers, such as:

  • How does this object smell?

  • Does it smell of anything at all?

  • How strong is this smell?

  • Is this smell nice or unpleasant?

If you can’t think of questions to ask and answer, describe to yourself what you can smell right now.

6. Focus on what you can TASTE, noticing as many flavours as possible

If you’re focusing on an object you can eat or drink, ask yourself questions about how it tastes and think about the answers, such as:

  • How warm or cold is this drink?

  • How intense is this flavour? And is it a bitter or sweet taste?

Or if there’s something edible near you that you can see but not touch, imagine what it would be like if you tasted it, such as:

  • How sharp or tangy would that orange juice taste if I drank it?

  • What would that ice cream taste like if I ate it?

If you can’t think of questions to ask and answer, describe to yourself what you can taste right now. Or tell yourself what you imagine it would be like to taste something you can see.

7. Now, CHECK how calm you feel

If you are feeling relaxed, reflect for a moment on how you were able to control your emotions by switching your focus to something in your environment and tapping into each of your senses in turn: sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste. 

Or if you are still feeling upset or distressed, go back to step 1 and select something else that you can focus on. Then REPEAT all the steps in turn, and keep doing this until you have overcome the emotions that are troubling you and so feel calm. 

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