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  • Sometimes, we are forced to endure uncomfortable situations that make us feel tense, like job interviews, blind dates, and other nerve-racking situations.
  • And while it appears that there’s nothing we can do but wait it out, there are in fact proactive ways to relieve your tense feelings right now!
  • First, you should adjust your perspective and instead of focusing on what could go wrong, focus on your strengths and past successes.
  • Additionally, investing your energy elsewhere can help you to loosen up: try going on a walk, listening to relaxing music, or journaling.
  • You can also calm down when you’re feeling tense by engaging in a favorite activity or practicing mindful mediation.
  • Finally, remember that everybody faces anxiety-inducing situations and experiences these tense feelings—it’s normal!

Sometimes, we face anxiety-inducing situations that make us feel tense. For example, we tense up when we head into a job interview or go on a blind date. We worry about every little thing that could go wrong, which causes our muscles to tighten up, our breath to quicken, and our hearts to race. In the moment, it feels like there is no escaping it—that we are forced to endure it until the moment passes. But, I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t the case.

You can follow a few actionable tips to loosen up and relieve your tense feelings. This will involve adjusting your perspective and putting your energy into something more productive.

Give Yourself a Boost of Confidence By Thinking About Your Strengths

Robyn Gold, licensed clinical social worker, says that a little change of perspective can go a long way. Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, focus on what could go right! Your strengths can aid you in virtually any situation if you identify and use those strengths to your advantage. If it’s difficult for you to recognize your good qualities, thinking about past successes can help, too. Gold delves deeper:

“For individuals who are feeling tense or worried about an important upcoming event such as a job interview or blind date, one of the most helpful things I would advise you to do would be to acknowledge your strengths. Think about all of the positive things you have to offer the world. If you have a hard time coming up with a list like this, try taking a step back from the situation and think about how close loved ones would describe you. You can also do this by thinking about times in your life in which you have been successful. How were you successful in that situation? What qualities do you have that helped you succeed? Focusing on these strengths can help you feel more confident and less tense.

5 Basic Tips for Calming Down When You Feel Tense

Now, in addition to identifying and capitalizing on your strengths, you can employ some more basic strategies for mellowing out or calming down when you feel tense. Try taking a stroll around the block, listening to your favorite music, journaling, engaging in a favorite activity, or focusing on the present moment:

1) Take a quick walk.

If you’re feeling tense, take a walk around the block. This will quickly help you to calm those nerves and feel grounded again, as it’ll give you something to focus on other than the nerve-racking event. Additionally, exercising (even for a short amount of time) and spending time immersed in nature have proven to aid in stress relief.

2) Plug in and listen to your favorite music.

Another foolproof way to calm those nerves and relax is to listen to your favorite music. Put on your favorite playlist and just plug in—focus on the beat, the lyrics, the tone of the singer’s voice. Combine this practice with the former and you have a powerful attack! You’ll feel relaxed in no time.

3) Write down your feelings in a journal.

You can also relax by facing your feelings head on and writing about them in a journal. If you aren’t used to journaling, you should know that there aren’t any rules you have to follow! You don’t have to fill pages and pages with long-handed script. You can just jot down a few sentences or let it flow until you don’t feel like writing anymore. In any case, journaling will help you to understand your feelings and relax.

4) Do something you enjoy.

This basic tip is not a trick! You can relax and relieve your tense feelings by simply doing something you enjoy. Do you like to do yoga? Do you enjoy reading? What about working on a puzzle? Whatever it is, engaging in an activity you enjoy can help you to relax and feel grounded again.

5) Refocus to the here and now.

Finally, if you’re feeling tense, try to re-center your mind. Focus not on the anxiety-inducing event ahead or the past nerve-racking situation, but the here and now. You are safe. You’re on your yoga mat, curled up in the nook of your couch with a book, or peering over a soon-to-be masterpiece made out of puzzle pieces. And everything is okay.

Hopefully, these 5 tips will help you calm those tense or anxious feelings. In addition, try this: Remember what we said in the opening of this article, which is that everybody feels anxious and tense sometimes. It’s normal to tense up before a job interview, a blind date, or in another uncomfortable situation. Sit with your feelings and accept that you don’t feel so great right now. Then, enjoy the above tips and do what you can to feel a little better!

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is Senior Writer and Editor at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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