Step Back and Breathe
Take a “time-out” and step back to focus on your breathing. This can begin to neutralize your emotions and you can often see more options with clarity. Take the following steps:
1. Step Back. Breathe slowly and deeply. Imagine the air entering and leaving your lungs.
2. Continuing to focus on your breathing, have the intention to disengage from your feelings of stress. Be the observer in the moment.
3. Stay connected to the event while you continue to breathe slowly and deeply.
What solutions to the problem you’ve been facing occur to you now?
Breathwork is a simple -- but not always EASY -- method for slowing yourself down. It's a component of mindfulness, usually the first part of learning the tools and techniques of mindfulness.
Focusing on your breath, slowing it down, is an antidote to the stress response. When we're stressed, usually, we unknowingly speed up our breathing and breathe more shallowly, too. This ends up bringing less oxygen to the brain and body, keeping us from thinking clearly.
I find that when I am conscious of taking 2, 3 or 5 slow, deep breaths, the "time out" helps, the oxygen re-saturates my brain and it's easier for me to step into something even though I might be nervous. (By the way, it's also a great tool for when I don't know exactly what to say -- or think I might say the wrong thing -- to take a few deep breaths as a way to "buy" time!)