Dr. Elizma van der Smit clinical psychologist                      

Therapy for Individuals, Families and Couples                                                                                                     

       The Time Has Come!!! It is time to be better!!

Tips for calming down             

By    Elizma van der Smit


Sometimes we all need some pointers on how to calm down quickly and effectively – and not allowing anger to control our lives!  Please not the following tips”

  • Take a walk (reboot your computer) and get a breath of fresh air.  Remove yourself from the volatile situation is often one of the best things to do.
  • Deep breathing (tongue at roof of mouth, stomach full of air, hold it for 5, breath out – continue at least 8 times).
  • Paint a mental picture of a “happy and calming place”.  Imagine yourself in the woods, on the beach etc. and uses all your senses in creating the picture.  What does it look like, feel like, taste like ….
  • Repeat calming phrases like “it is going to be ok; calm down, remember to breath etc.”
  • Reframe your situation with three vital questions:


   1. Is it really the person’s intention to hurt me?

   2.  Will it still matter 6 months from now?

   3.  Is it worth spending my precious energy on?


  • Ask yourself “What is actually happening here?”  Why am I angry? (shame, fear, tiredness, sadness etc.).  Address the problem that is identified!
  • Drink water or herbal tea (not caffeine).
  • Progressive relaxation. Progressive relaxation, also known as progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), can train people to master their stress levels by deliberately inducing relaxation in their muscles. The technique relies on applying tension to one muscle group at a time and then relaxing that muscle group, progressing through all the muscle groups of the body to create a deep sense of calm.
  • Watch your thoughts (faulty thinking like blaming, or “everything is horrible” or “nobody cares”,” I have the right to express my anger anyway I like” needs to be rectified)
  • Be with nature, become aware with all your senses.
  • Reach out and connect to positive people in your life.
  • Count to 20 – it gives your brain time to think!
  • Chew some gum.
  • DIY massage (15 min twice weekly).
  • Put your feelings to paper (journaling or just writing about your feelings in any way you like!).
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • No phone or email for an hour.
  • Clean for an hour.
  • Spend time with your animal.
  • Use a stress ball.
  • Mow the lawn or use a punching bag.
  • Lightly run two fingers over your lips (stimulates the parasympathetic fibres).
  • Be with water, drink it, listen to it, and be in it.
  • Choose how you are going to respond to the anger – yes it is a choice!
  • Are you being angry about something in the past?  Or future?  Focus on the moment and what is really important to you.
  • Close your eyes and count backwards.
  • Give yourself a hand massage.
  • Breathe in a paper bag.
  • Exercise.
  • Seek professional help if you find that anger is still a problem in your life.