When you are feeling upset or anxious or stressed out, is there something you do that usually makes you feel better? Do you squeeze your hands into fists? Do you take a deep breath and let out an angry exhale? Do you shout and wave your arms around? Do you stomp your feet or slam doors? Or otherwise make a lot of noise? I know most of us would love to smash plates against the wall (cue Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" music video).
Why do we automatically do these things, and why do we find them comforting?
Deep pressure. There is some research out there regarding the positive effects of deep pressure on children with autism and ADHD. In practice, deep pressure tends to have a calming effect that allows children with anxiety to focus and concentrate better. This is one way to reason why we like those big bear hugs, taking deep breaths, and clenching our fists when we are upset or anxious.
While smashing plates against the wall or punching a tree is usually not the smartest nor appropriate thing to do, the following are some ideas for incorporating deep pressure moments into your day to help calm your nerves. Remember, the trick is to try and incorporate these small moments throughout your day so that you never reach a point where you feel like you actually want to punch something.
- Hold a plank.
- Give someone a big hug.
- Give yourself a big hug. Or a pillow.
- Take a deep breath, hold it, and then slowly exhale.
- Hold tight fists and squeeze/curl your toes inside your shoes.
- Keep a small stone or ball in your pocket that you can squeeze.
- Keep a small cushion at work and squeeze it in between your knees.
- Squeeze your butt while sitting in your seat or standing.
Stressbuster Challenge this week is to try one of these out, or even create one of your own!
I would love to hear about your experience and about your own ideas to incorporate deep pressure into your day!