Life right now is extremely stressful for people all over the world. If you read the news (something I try to do in moderation) you can feel like everything in the world is falling apart. But in the midst of all this disruption and uncertainty, we can strive to calm our minds and spirits and foster a sense of inner strength to get us through.
Here are some simple practices for each personality type that I hope can help you to feel calm in the midst of a distressed world.
Calming Activities for Each Myers-Briggs® Personality Type
“It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way, even by death, and we fly back to first principles of hope and enjoyment.”
― Bram Stoker
Your flow state is focused on generating ideas, trying new things, and exploring novel concepts. This type of a flow state can make you feel more hyperactive than relaxed, so one of the best ways to calm yourself is to nourish yourself physically (tapping into your sensing function) while letting your mind be free. Here are a few good ways to do this:
- Soak in a relaxing bath while reading a mind-bending fantasy novel.
- Practice meditation and focus on calming your mind and body. Brainstorm afterwards!
- Play some relaxing, meditative music while creating an inspiration board with pictures of things you love, people you love, places you want to visit someday, or quotes that uplift you.
- Take a walk in a quiet, natural setting. If you can’t leave your home then do a home workout while listening to your favorite playlist of upbeat songs.
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“My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.”― Mizuta Masahide
A possibility-seeker at heart,you need a sense of freedom and creativity to feel calm. However, sometimes in your search for alternatives and new ideas you forget to keep track of what your body needs. This can cause you to feel hyper-aroused and exhausted rather than relaxed. Here are some ways for you to feel “chilled out” without ignoring your need for freedom and new ideas.
- Go for an “intuitive” drive without a destination. Take photos of interesting things, and listen to an audiobook or an inspiring playlist
- Do a home workout, followed by a long, blissful shower. After you get out of the shower, think of five different solutions to a problem you are currently facing. The exercise and the shower will help you to feel happier, calmer, and more mentally revived.
- Pause for 30 seconds to a few minutes, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. You could even lay down while doing this. Put your hand on your stomach and feel your breathing as you focus on inhaling deeply and exhaling deeply. The more time you devote to this, the more relaxed you will feel.
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“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
― Maya Angelou
Creative and introspective, you’re someone who relaxes when you know you’re living in alignment with your personal values. Getting ample alone time also keeps you energized and creatively revived. Here are a few more tips for relaxing yourself when you feel especially stressed:
- Cut and paste a collage of meaningful pictures and quotes. You can print pictures, cut them out of magazines, or draw them yourself! Listen to peaceful music as you do this. This can help you to calm your mind and body, keeping you revived and hopeful.
- Draw in response to music. Surround yourself with crayons, markers, paints, or any art supplies you have available. Turn on a song you love and make art as you follow the flow of the music. Don’t give yourself an agenda – just let yourself intuitively draw. Pictures may emerge, but don’t force them!
- Soak in a hot tub while reading a book you love. Light a few candles for extra tranquility!
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“No matter how bleak or menacing a situation may appear, it does not entirely own us. It can’t take away our freedom to respond, our power to take action.”
― Ryder Carroll
Often focused on problem-solving and theorizing, you’re someone with an especially busy mind. For you, relaxation can be found in quietly solving a brain-teaser or reading books to your heart’s content. But sometimes all that analysis can make you feel mentally exhausted as well. Here are some activities that make use of your intellectual nature while also calming your body.
- Drive without a destination while listening to a podcast or some relaxing music. Let ideas come to you without forcing them.
- Practice deep breathing every few hours. This will help you to feel calmer and mentally focused.
- Tune out of technology regularly throughout the day. Meditate, breathe, look out the window, or eat a healthy snack. What ideas come to your mind when you’re not distracted by your screen? Write them down.
- Play a strategy game on your (hopefully waterproof) phone while soaking in a hot tub.
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“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” —Hermann Hesse
Visionary and outgoing, people count on you to inspire them and feel their feelings with all the intensity that they do. At the same time, sometimes you spend so much time worrying about other people that you can’t recharge yourself with your unique intuitive energy. When you’re stressed, overwhelmed, or lonely, here are some tips for calming yourself down and giving yourself a boost of optimism:
- When you feel lonely and restless, have a video chat meetup and play the “question game.” Give yourself a hot drink to enjoy during the process. Ask each other really thought-provoking questions that might pave the way for deeper, more fulfilling relationships.
- Map out your heart. Draw a picture of a heart and draw small sections, filling each section with things that you love and feel inspired by. Color in the sections and keep it with you when you’re feeling low.
- Allow yourself to rest in silence. Keep a notebook close by. As the time passes, jot down any thoughts, insights, or pictures that come to your mind.
- Practice yoga or meditation to calm your mind and body. Follow this up by taking a blissful, relaxing shower. Make sure to drink water!
“On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin.”
― Gregory S. Williams
Goal-oriented and ambitious, you’re someone who likes to always be on the go. Meeting and setting new goals drives you, so relaxing isn’t usually high on your list of priorities. However, sometimes you need to turn off your restless need for achievement and calm your mind and spirit. When that need arrives, here are some activities that you could attempt:
- Take a few moments to focus on your breathing. Take a slow, deep breath while inhaling through your nose. Exhale through your nose. Count to two, then inhale again. Pause between breaths.
- Meditate for 20 minutes. If you feel like this is a “waste” of time, keep in mind that meditation improves your health, concentration, and mental clarity. You might accomplish more work BETTER if you meditate!
- Look at your daily routine. Is there anything you can automate or make efficient? This doesn’t seem relaxing to a lot of people, but it can actually put your type in a state of flow.
- Do an indoor workout and follow it up by a glass of ice water and a hot, luxurious shower complete with aromatherapy candles.
“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.” —James Carroll
Insightful and contemplative, you relax when you can tune out the noise of the world around you and focus on the overall meaning of life and anything profound or beautiful. You enjoy bringing your insights into the world in meaningful ways for people. But when you’re overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious it can feel extremely difficult for you to tap into that calm, contemplative state. Here are some activities that can help you to enter that zone:
- Meditate or pray. Quiet your mind and breathe deeply. Even if you can only do this for twenty minutes, it will make a considerable impact.
- Spend some time in a quiet place with a notebook and a pencil. Calm your body. Allow ideas and thoughts to flow through you without any direction or structure. Write down any inspirations, ideas, or pictures that come to your mind.
- Create a safe place for yourself. Hang up twinkle lights, light candles, play soothing music, jot down some inspirational quotes and hang them on the wall, lay out pillows and blankets and brew some coffee. Create a cozy environment that puts your mind and body at ease.
- Journal your thoughts and feelings to calm your spirit and “vent” on paper.
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“It may sound strange, but many champions are made champions by setbacks.”
― Bob Richards
Intellectual and independent, you thrive when you can have the freedom to explore ideas and insights. You want to map out the future, envision grand plans, and make those plans come to fruition. Your dedication, curiosity, and efficient nature can make you a revolutionary individual. But when you’re stressed, sometimes your creative insights get lost in a flurry of restlessness or fear. Here are some activities that can help you to find calm:
- Look for symbols that inspire you. Virtually tour an art museum if you’re struggling to find inspiration. Your Intuition is attracted to symbols and can often derive meaning from art, symbolism, or beauty.
- Spend some time each day in total quiet. Unplug your phone, turn off the lights, and let your thoughts flow through you without direction. Afterwards, write any ideas down that popped into your head.
- Organize your desk or bedroom in a way that’s more efficient. This might be stressful for some types, but for you, it can create a feeling of flow and satisfaction.
- Clean all your gadgets and devices. Take pleasure in each movement and how everything looks so much better when it’s clean.
- Practice meditation and deep breathing. Even if you can only spend a couple of minutes focusing on your breathing, this can improve your mood substantially.
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“Simply let experience take place very freely, so that your open heart is suffused with the tenderness of true compassion.” —Tsoknyi Rinpoche
Gregarious and energetic, you’re someone who likes to keep busy and experience the world around you. Interacting with your environment puts you into a state of flow, whereas sitting still can make you feel bored and listless. Here are some ways to keep calm without getting bored out of your mind:
- Give yourself a sensory-indulgent hour or two. Soak in a hot tub surrounded by scented candles while you sip wine and listen to your favorite songs. Really notice every sensation, savor every smell, and appreciate every sound.
- Take a walk in a quiet, peaceful area. Listen to an audiobook or your favorite playlist while you do. If there are social distancing rules in place, make sure to keep six feet away from other individuals.
- Listen to music and paint or draw what the music makes you think of. Don’t worry about it looking perfect, just go with the flow and see what evolves!
- Practice meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
“Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea.” —Mikhail Lermontov
Action-oriented and fun-loving, you’re someone who thrives on a busy, adventure-filled schedule. Yet sometimes all the commotion and busy-ness in your life can leave you feeling hyperactive and restless. Here are some tips for keeping calm without getting overwhelmed by boredom:
- Do some solo exercising. Whether you’re jogging on the treadmill, hiking, or doing calisthenics, being physically active can help you to achieve a state of “flow.” Exercise can also release stress-reducing endorphins in your brain and make you more hopeful and focused.
- Give yourself a change of scenery – even if you have to stay cooped up at your house. Play a video game that puts you in touch with a new environment. Video chat with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Order takeout from a place you’ve never eaten at before.
- Take a hot/cold shower. Start with a hot shower followed by a cold shower and repeat the cycle three times. This helps to calm and relax your mind and body while reducing muscle soreness and fatigue.
- Play a board game. This will help engage your thinking side while calming down your body and relaxing a hyperactive, restless state. Go for something strategic or fast-paced (not LIFE or Candy Land)
“In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life—no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes), which nature cannot repair.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Creativity and introspection are areas where you truly shine. You enjoy a peaceful, serene life where you can live according to your convictions and make a real difference in the lives of the people that you love. When you’re stressed, however, your naturally easy-going nature can seem distant and you feel irritable and critical instead. Here are some activities that can help you to feel calm even when the world around you is chaotic:
- Spend quality time with your favorite pet. Put away your phone and the distractions around you and just enjoy their presence. Don’t be afraid to get silly! Petting an animal can actually release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that helps you to feel calm.
- Do deep, abdominal breathing. Take a few minutes to breathe deeply and consciously. While inhaling, place your hand on your belly and make sure it rises with each breath. When you exhale, imagine all your stress leaving your body.
- Draw out your feelings. Surround yourself with art supplies and turn on your favorite playlist. Next, allow you to tune into your innermost feelings and allow your fingers to follow. Color, paint, or draw your way through your emotional experience and see what evolves!
- Lay down, close your eyes, and listen to some of your favorite feel-good or relaxing songs.
- Spend time in nature.
“The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.” —James Allen
Pragmatic and independent, you thrive when there are no restrictions or rules caging you in. Being alone and free to invest yourself in your hobbies and interests keeps you mentally revived. But sometimes stress can make you unusually emotional, restless, and anxious. Here are some tips for calming yourself down during a rough patch:
- Get your head below your heart. Put your head between your knees or stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and hang your head and arms towards the floor. Doing this simple activity can restore your autonomic nervous system (ANS) and lessen your stress.
- Play a brain teaser or say your ABCs backward. This shifts your perspective from anxiety and worry to something mentally stimulating but relaxing.
- Sometimes clutter can make you feel more anxious and frustrated. Sort out the stuff in your house or the files on your computer. Cleaning up while listening to an audiobook or a favorite playlist can help you to feel more in control.
“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” —Ralph H. Blum
Friendly and hospitable, you thrive when you can make a positive difference in the lives of the people you care about. You enjoy intimate conversation, comforting routines, and stories that make you laugh. When you’re feeling stressed, however, you can become highly self-critical and pessimistic. Here are some activities that can help you regain a sense of calm when you’re anxious:
- Watch a romantic comedy or something that makes you laugh. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles. It also increases the endorphins in your brain that relieve stress.
- Vent! Connect with a friend over FaceTime or Zoom and just pour your heart out to them. It can be difficult for you to sort out your emotions independently and having a sense of solidarity with a trusted confidante can do wonders for your stress levels.
- Get cozy. Take a hot bath, drink herbal tea, and listen to soft music. For extra relaxation, light some candles or burn some essential oils!
- Cuddle with a pet. Spending time petting a dog or cat can help release oxytocin, which makes you feel calm and peaceful.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Hard-working and pragmatic, you like putting every minute of your time to good use. Connecting with friends and family is also a mood-booster for you. But sometimes when you’re stressed or anxious, you feel listless and uncharacteristically uncertain. Here are some activities that can help you feel calmer:
- Bring the outside in. Open up your curtains or your windows, pick some wildflowers to put on your table, play a movie that has a lot of beautiful landscapes, or play nature sounds on your device. Being around nature, even if you can’t go outside, can help you to feel free, calm, and more creative.
- Close your eyes. A little darkness behind your eyelids can help shut out external factors that are causing you stress. Take a few minutes to breathe deeply while your eyes are closed. Place your hand on your belly, inhale deeply for five seconds (imagine you’re blowing up a balloon inside your stomach), then slowly exhale. Let every muscle relax, and focus on the tension easing away. Imagine that all the stress and anxiety is flowing out of you when you exhale.
- Do a brain game that requires concentration. Crossword puzzles, Lumosity, Sudoku, all these things can help you to shift your concentration from your anxiety to something more mentally stimulating. In turn, this can help you to relax and take your problems in stride.
“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” —Pema Chodron
Grounded and gentle, you’re someone who thrives when you have a stable routine and a sense of certainty in life. When life gets chaotic or the future seems uncertain, you can become anxious and jittery. Here are some tips that can help you calm down when you feel worried:
- Meditate or pray. Focus on deep breathing, calming your mind, and relaxing each muscle. Here you can find some quick visualization techniques that can help you to relax.
- Create a “feel-good” collage that you fill with pictures of great memories, inspirational quotes, or activities you can’t wait to experience someday. You could paste on pictures of your friends, favorite animals, or memorabilia that gives you a sense of comfort.
- Massage your scalp. Pull your hair gently to release tension and then massage your scalp with slow circular motions. This can reduce your blood pressure, stress levels, and slow your heart rate.
- Journal your feelings. Sometimes it can be hard to sort out your feelings internally, but if you’re able to write them down you can process them more productively. This can help you feel calmer and more able to handle whatever life hurls your way.
“Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you are going to do right now, and do it. Today is your lucky day.”
― Will Durant
Dedicated and down-to-earth, you prize a life that is calm and stable. You don’t like dealing with a lot of unknowns or chaos, so right now could be a stressful time for you. When you’re feeling anxious, here are some techniques that can help you to feel more relaxed:
- Stimulate your brain. Play Tetris, do a Sudoku puzzle, or solve a brain teaser. This can help you to distract yourself from the stress inside your body and, in turn, help you to feel more physically relaxed.
- When you’re stressed out, your blood flow can become restricted, which creates tension and pain in your lower back and other muscles in your body. Stretching can help your body to relax, and it can also decrease the production of stress hormones. This page has some quick stretches for relieving stress.
- Take a nap. As you lie in bed, close your eyes and practice deep breathing. Catching up on some Zzzz’s can help you to tackle a problem with more clarity and focus once you wake up.
- Look around your home. Is there an area you could organize? Simply organizing a small section of your home, even if it’s just your silverware drawer, can help you to feel calmer and more in control.
What Are Your Thoughts?
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Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!