In a recent LinkedIn post, I wrote about how anxiety and stress often come in waves, making it challenging for me to manage. I find that containing it is often necessary so I can work, but “stuffing it” ends up forming cracks and leaks that cause “flooding.” And when we flood, the nervous system is on overload and does what it can to cope, which is either total emotional shutdown or overdrive.
With everything going on in the world today, stop and notice: Are you feeling waves of anxiety or stress? Remember, burying emotions can lead to overload. Our nervous system either shuts down or goes into overdrive. But if you sense stress early, you can manage it. A method that works wonders for me is Box Breathing. It takes just sixteen seconds. Here is how it works:
– Slowly inhale for four seconds, feeling the air fill your lungs.
– Gently hold your breath for four seconds.
– Exhale fully over four seconds.
– Repeat until you’re centered.
This technique regulates and calms the nervous system. It helps release anxiety and promotes strength and self-care. Try it. Please bring it to your teams and invite your peers or direct reports to try it before you start your meetings. Share it with your family, your kids, and loved ones. Make it a communal practice.
In times like these, I do it every hour. It helps me take care of my heart and nervous system so I can be grounded and open before a call with a client. Remember, it’s nearly impossible to be open to others if we’re on high alert or stressed. Here are some additional resources to help guide you:
Two-min guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G25IR0c-Hj8
One-min version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6RbW2LtdFs
photo inspiration calmerry.com