When you don’t know what to do next, do what comes naturally: breathe.
When you need to get out from under a tidal wave of deadlines, the first step is to tame your breath. Calming your breath allows you to think clearly and access creative solutions. Try this 4–7–8 breathing technique, which is an effective antidote to anxiety:
- Exhale completely through your mouth.
- Close your mouth, and inhale deeply through your nose to the count of 4.
- Gently hold your breath to the count of 7.
- Exhale through your open mouth for the count of 8.
- Repeat steps 2 through 4 for about four cycles twice a day as needed. Keep your counting rhythm consistent, and most of all, be gentle with yourself. Return to normal breathing anytime the exercise feels too difficult, or if you begin to feel lightheaded.