One of the first proactive steps you can take is remembering to breathe. Many people (myself included) have a tendency to stop breathing when faced with a challenging situation. However, breathing will help you center and ground yourself and dispel tension.
I experienced this first hand several years ago when we visited Disney World. My older son is a thrill seeker, and he wanted to ride every roller coaster. Now, I’ve never been a big roller coaster fan, but I rode so that he could. And as we did, I discovered that they were much more fun if I relaxed and breathed, rather than tensing up and holding my breath.
This phenomenon is nothing new. Fritz Perls, MD, is credited with saying, “Anxiety is excitement without breathing.” And Gay Hendricks wrote in The Big Leap:
“The very same mechanisms that produce excitement also produce fear, and any fear can be transformed into excitement by breathing fully with it. On the other hand, excitement turns into fear quickly if you hold your breath. When scared, most of us have a tendency to try to get rid of the feeling. We think we can get rid of it by denying or ignoring it, and we use holding our breath as a physical tool of denial.”
(Hendricks, Gay (2009-04-10). The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level (p. 18). HarperOne. Kindle Edition).
This film clip from The Forbidden Kingdom sums it up nicely:
So, when faced with a challenge, breathe. Are you facing a challenge now? If so, please share below. And breathe. :-)
If you found this article helpful, please join my mail list. I’ll send you my free ebook and (nearly) weekly updates.