You have about 17 things on your to do list, your boss just told you, you have to get something  done in the next 10 min and apologizes for it being so last minute, you have urgent emails to respond to, day care just called and that runny nose you saw this morning just got worse your child is now sick, and you have to prepare for a meeting with a client in an hour.  

You are feeling stressed, your chest is a little tight, your heart is beating a little faster and you are having a mini anxiety attack, as you are  not sure how you are going to get this all done in an hour. The last thing on your mind at this moment is to STOP doing anything and take 20 breaths. However, that is EXACTLY what you should do. 

Here is how:

1.) STOP: When you are feeling completely overwhelmed and everything is happening at once  literally STOP everything. This might seem a little counterintuitive considering you do not want to waste anytime, you need to get stuff done. (Believe me, I have been there).  However, when you are in a state of stress, you are not at your best, and probably not thinking clearly either and mistakes or carelessness are bound to happen. Just STOP!  

2.) Find a quiet space: Perhaps you are already sitting in your office, if not find an empty room or, just go to the bathroom if you have to...

3.) Sit Comfortably: Find a chair, sit up straight, with your feet touching the ground and your hands resting comfortably in your lap. 

4.)  Close your eyes, take 20 breaths: Once you are sitting comfortably in your chair, start to count your breaths. Here is how I want you to do it. 

  • Breath Normally: Do not change anything that you are already doing. There is no need to take a deep breath (unless it occurs naturally), just breath normally.
  • Start to Count: Once you inhale and exhale count that as 1, inhale, exhale 2, etc. Go all the way up until 10. When you get to 10 start at 10 again, and go backwards. For example: inhale, exhale 10, inhale, exhale 9 until you get to 1.  (This will force your mind to concentrate on your breaths.) 

Side note Tip 1: If you find yourself with thoughts coming through your head, or realize you are not counting anymore because you are thinking about something else, do not judge yourself, just kindly escort your mind back to the breath and start again. 

Tip 2: If you find yourself counting to 13, 14, 15, catch yourself and go back to 10, 9, 8, etc. Again, do not judge yourself, and say “Gosh darn I can’t believe I went all the way to 19” or whatever else you may say to yourself. Just notice and continue with the practice. 

5.) Relax: When you are done with your 20 breaths, sit for a 5 secs in silence, slowly open your eyes, reflect on how you feel and then get back to your busy day.

This mini meditation has helped me and hundreds and hundreds of people stay calm and focused in the midst of a crazy storm or stressful moment. This practice can take less than 2 minutes. If you do not believe me, just try it!

Let me know how this works for you and hopefully this is helpful.