Take a deep breath

Photo courtesy of Jabiz Raisdana (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Jabiz Raisdana (Creative Commons)

How do you react when things don’t go your way?

Challenges and setbacks can feel more like the norm than the exception, and it’s easy to be sucked into the quicksand of negativity where everything coming at you threatens to push you further into the muck.

There are days that feel like nothing can go right – your computer locks up, traffic makes you late, your spill your coffee, your boss finds a mistake on the report you just finished, the list goes on.

The initial reaction might be that negative loop in your mind that says things like “nothing good ever seems to happen to me,” or “why can’t I catch a break,” or “I don’t deserve anything good anyway.”

What else can go wrong? Those thoughts tend to breed more problems.

Those thoughts are toxic. They need to be stopped right away.

In his book, The Way of the SEAL, author and retired Commander, U.S. Navy SEALs, Mark Divine says, “To win at anything, we must first win control of our minds.”

He goes on to share that:

“Before you can take control of your mind, you must first calm it down. The fastest way to calm your mind, along with your body, is through slow and controlled deep breathing…This settling practice helps reduce mental chatter, prevents your mind from wandering, and is generally a great boost to your self-control efforts.”

Instead of ramping up the frantic activity to “fix” whatever is going wrong, which you will only make worse if you are just operating on nervous energy and negativity – just stop.

Take a deep breath. Refocus. Take a break and go for a walk or find a way to jar your thought process out of that pattern.

Divine suggests several exercises for deep breathing and meditation that can calm your mind and help you refocus, but I have found that just being intentional with your breathing can do wonders.

Breathe in slowly for 4 counts, hold it, and then breathe out 4 counts.

Now, think about solutions to that crisis. Better? Clearer ideas?