Ten clever ways to calm down your stressed out brain

Your stressed out brain is screaming. We’ve all been there. You’re at your desk trying desperately to meet your deadlines. But your mind is like a pinball machine and bouncing from one manic thought to another.

Or your seven-year-old just threw up on the carpet while you’re on the phone trying to reorganise mortgage repayments. At the same time. your teenager walks in excited about the (expensive) school trip to Paris. You haven’t even thought about what’s for dinner yet!

Women are great multi-taskers, but bejaysus sometimes it feels like there is a demanding crying baby with two pans and a dirty nappy, screaming and banging around inside our skulls!


That bottle of wine looks tempting

Some of us will be aware of the bottle of wine in the fridge. We ride out the clock until an appropriate time to open the seal and have a glass or two to calm down our minds. This isn’t the best of ideas.  Alcohol has better effects and is more enjoyable if drunk when your mood is good and you’re not overstressed.

So what do the “sober” women of Ireland use  when they don’t drink alcohol as a relaxant?


Top ten tips

Here are my top ten tips that I’ve used myself (more than once!) to stop myself gaining bald patches or doing prison time for murdering my husband ha!


1.Lay off the Coffee

I use to think at desperate times if I drank coffee like a builder (hot and strong) it would help me focus and finish the task at hand. Coffee is great for getting you started in the morning. But drink too much, and all that happens is you get a tired body and overactive brain and heart. A scary situation if you’ve never had heart palpitations before!


2.Take ten deep breaths if you’re stressed out

At first, I thought, ya, meditation is trendy, and I love doing it in groups. But I always struggle to do it by myself on a regular basis and stick to a routine.

So I started with just ten deep breaths before breakfast. I slowly did more and more, and now I can’t start working without doing it!

So try taking a minute and just take ten deep breaths when you’re stressed out and you feel like your brain is about to explode.


3.Carry a little notebook

As sure as the sky is blue you can count on remembering things or coming up with your best ideas at 4 am. Or while you’re in the middle of cooking dinner. I used to get so annoyed at myself because later when I would try to remember what I was thinking, I’d remember….…nothing.

That would always leave me wrecking my head and trying to backtrack my thought pattern to try and remember what it was. Now, I usually have a notebook nearby. I keep a school copy beside the bed with a few pencils and biros. That way when a thought comes I can write it down and forget about worrying as I know it will be still there in the morning.

It’s the same reason I carry another little notebook in my handbag and glove compartment.

Or if you don’t want to use a notebook try using a note app on your smartphone. There’s lots of free note apps available.


4.Share what’s bothering you

“A problem shared is a problem halved”

Talking to some one you know like and trust can be really helpful.

Just be careful who you tell. Because as soon as you tell someone your problems you’re giving them permission to provide feedback and help with a solution.

Do you really want Janice from accounting, who you’ve only met twice, to know you want to tell the boss to shove her documents where the sun don’t shine!


5.Use a mindfulness app

I like headspace. This is something you can download onto your smartphone. It has been a lifesaver for me, especially on long car journeys with my family when I sense a disagreement about to erupt. I plug in my earphones and listen, oblivious to the arguing going on. It also teaches my kids to sort out their own arguments.


6.Sit on the loo

Listen to your mindfulness app. If that’s not possible stick loo paper in your ears and listen to the sound of your blood pumping around your body.  Count the swooshing sounds and don’t come out until you’ve counted to at least one hundred.


7.Use Grandma’s remedies

Horlicks, warm milk, a bowl of warm soup, stew, or potato mash. Anything that is recognised as old-fashioned comfort food. Modern day comfort foods like fast food pizza or chocolates will not help calm your mind. And every time I reach for modern day comfort foods because I’m stressed out I just feel worse afterwards!

Sure I feel rewarded for the few minutes the food is going down. However the ingredients in some modern foods can make you even more hyper and anxious.


8.Bake, sew, knit….

Just do something repetitive that needs some concentration. You will find getting your hands into some flour (licking the cooking dough from the spoon or bowl) will change your thought patterns.

Or the clicking of needles can be really soothing. Making something using our hands can really help us to relax and soothes our racing minds. Useful when you’re sitting in the car park waiting to pick up child number two from GAA and worrying whether your elderly Mother took her medication to-day.


9.Get up and move

Go for a walk. If you’ve small children put their coats on and pop them in the pram. Or if you’re at work tell your boss you think you’ve left your car lights on.

You’d be amazed how just breathing in the air (cold Irish winter air) can give you something else to think about. I promise you’ll feel great when you get back into the heat!


10.Play your favourite playlist

I stumbled on this once, when I was looking for piano music to go with a video. I checked out Spotify and left it playing. It’s my go-to playlist now when  I’m writing. It stops  the ping-ponging in my mind. Once you’ve choosen the type of music you like Spotify will then create suggested playlists for you. I use “Music for concentration” on Spotify. There’s playlists for different moods or you can create your own playlists.


Hope you find these tips useful. If alcohol craving is making you stressed out, we have some tips here.

This post was written by val

Valerie is passionate about helping people with alcohol abuse problems and has gone public on her own problems with alcohol appearing on TV and radio. She founded Valeriefarragher.com a support service which provides services in Co. Mayo. She is the author of the book “Come back when you’re sober”. Valerie is the voice of Lifewise and ensures all our content and materials are relevant and interesting for all of our clients.

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