Executive Coach Executive CoachExecutive Coach
Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

How to Stop Freaking Out? Start By Breathing

ARCHIVES
baranq/Shutterstock.com

So, this past week I’m just moving along, minding my own business, getting work done and all of a sudden I start to freak out. It starts off small as just one thought about something I have to do. It hasn’t even happened yet. It’s not even going to happen for a few days. It requires a lot of preparation, expertise, information from others and then me delivering front and center.

Then, like a tidal wave, the panic and anxiety washes over me. It’s like someone just pulled the bar over top of me as I sit in the roller coaster. It’s making the climb to the top and I know it’s going to be a fast hair-raising descent.

I start breathing really shallow and much shorter breaths. I feel tense all over. My jaw clenches. My temples tighten. My ears feel a pounding inside. My face starts to tingle. I can even feel my adrenal glands start to throb on my lower back.

So I’m totally in fight or flight mode. You know, where your body thinks it needs to fight off that Saber Tooth Tiger. I know that if I stay in this state it’s going to be bad news. If I stay stuck in this mode of fight or flight I’m also opening up myself to some serious health issues.

So what’s a gal to do?

I know what it is but, man, is it hard to do when deep into this panicked state. I need to breathe. And I don’t mean the shallow panting I’m currently doing. I need deep belly breathing to calm down my system and turn off the cortisol and adrenaline pulsing through my body. I need to get oxygen to my brain so I can think.

But I’m so deep into my freak that’s not fast enough. I need an inversion and quick. So I lay on the floor and put my legs up the wall and breathe. Really deep slow breaths in and slow breaths out. I could bend over at the waist and let my arms hang and just swing but today I need an open belly to breathe.

That works super fast and I can feel my body calming down.

Now if I had been paying more attention during the day I might have noticed some of the physical sensations coming on before I panicked. The first one for me is usually the shallow breathing.

What are the signs you notice when you’re operating in fight or flight mode? What triggers those feelings? Get to know your triggers and your early warning signs so you can be aware and breathe when they start to creep into your day.

(Image via baranq/Shutterstock.com)

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.