In other words, when we are overcome with emotion, it impacts our ability to think and respond clearly.
Controlled breathing has been identified as one of the best things we can do to help counteract both the physiological and psychological impact that being emotionally triggered can have on us.
Taking slow and deep breaths not only slows you down to give you a moment to collect your thoughts, but it's one of the few actions that enables you to impact your autonomic system (such as your heart rate and other functions you do not consciously control), and your somatic nervous system (the parts of your body that you can intentionally control).
Deep breaths are a bridge between these two systems, and can help you:
lower blood pressure and heart rate
reduce levels of stress hormones in the blood
reduce lactic acid build-up in muscle tissue
balance levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood
improve immune system functioning
increase physical energy
increase feelings of calm and wellbeing.
How to Box Breathe
Box breathing is a common method of controlled breathing that is used by both Yogis and Navy Seals. It works like this:
Inhale for 4 seconds
Hold the breathe for 4 seconds
Exhale for 4 seconds
Hold the exhale for 4 seconds
TIP: To help you focus on your breathe and centre you in the moment, try tracing a box with your finger to visualize the breathing pattern.
When you find yourself becoming triggered, whether in a meeting or speaking to a colleague, taking a moment to breath deeply will help you regulate your systems and improve cognitive ability so you can think clearer and respond with greater intention.
Need some help getting start, try breathing along to this guided video