How to Calm Your Emotions

Posted by: Jo Banks

Date: 11-05-2012

Quick and easy techniques for calming your emotions and gaining back control...

Use these techniques when your feelings are becoming overwhelming or when you feel the need to calm down. No-one needs to know that you’re doing either of these techniques, so it can be used in lots of different situations eg in the office or in meetings or while waiting for an interview to start.

They are designed to centre you and bring you back to a neutral state of wellbeing. :

Exercise 1

This exericse works by increasing the oxygen in the blood stream which causes beneficial physiological effects. 

Read the exercise through before you do it:

  • Take 10 deep breaths in and out.
  • One breath in and out counts as one.
  • When you breath in, do it from your abdomen and not your chest – your stomach should expand as you breath in (think of how a baby breaths - their stomach raises, not their chest).
  • If you find your mind wandering and lose count, start again from 1.
  • Keep going back to 1 until you are able to reach 10 in one go.

In clinical studies using this technique has significantly reduced feelings of stress, agitation, erratic thought processes and anxiety.

If your thoughts are particularly chaotic and you’re feeling more stressed than usual, try this adaptation:

Exercise 2

Again, read through the exercise before you do it.

  1. Think of something that makes you feel really good – it could be your child’s smile, lying on a sundrenched beach in the Caribbean (that’s my particular favourite), walking through a meadow on a summer’s day ... whatever works for you.
  2. Hold that picture in your mind and make it as big as possible. Make the colours really intense and hear the noises you would hear if you were really there.
  3. If it’s a still picture, make it a movie - If it’s black and white, make it colour - If it’s silent add sound
  4. Make it as big, bright, bold, colourful and loud as you possibly can
  5. With that picture firmly in your mind, start your 10 breaths (in and out counting as one breath)
  6. Now, as you’re counting, hold your movie in your mind and if you find that your mind wanders away from it (you may find this happens if your thoughts are really chaotic), bring it back to your movie and start your count again FROM THE BEGINNING!
  7. Every time your mind wanders, bring it back and start counting again from 1.

The first time you do this, you may find it really difficult to stay focussed on your positive picture. But like everything, practice makes perfect. The more you do it and the more you bring yourself back to your positive movie, the easier it will become.

So next time you’re feeling a little out of control or panicky, try one of these exercises – no-one need even know that you’re doing it and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results!


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