Four Breaths to Stay Calm During Challenging Times

By Yolanda Lau

For many of us, it feels like we woke up to a world unrecognizable. With so much uncertainty, it’s not unusual to be feeling a range of negative emotions.

Here’s a quick tip for managing the additional stress and anxiety of our new normal.

Slowly take 4 deep breaths, while silently thinking these 8 words:

  • [breathing in] “in”
  • [breathing out] “out”
  • [breathing in] “deep”
  • [breathing out] “slow”
  • [breathing in] “calm”
  • [breathing out] “ease”
  • [breathing in] “smile”
  • [breathing out] “release”

And one more optional breath with these phrases:

  • [breathing in] “Present moment.”
  • [breathing out] “Wonderful moment.”

This is a well known meditation poem by Thich Nhat Hanh, peace activist and Buddhist monk. I find that with 4 to 5 mindful breaths, I can quickly reduce my elevated heart rate and ease my stress.

My other trick is to count my blessings. I stop and think about all the things I have to be thankful for — my kids, my husband, my parents and siblings, my friends, my business partners, my co-workers, my health, the roof over my head, plenty of food, lots of books, and a world-class education (providing a solid foundation in social studies, history, science, microbiology, infectious diseases, systems thinking, and communication skills). There is always something to be grateful for and I have found that a daily gratitude practice helps to improve my mood and outlook.

What are your secrets to staying mindful, keeping calm, and managing your emotions during these challenging times?

Please share your tips below to help us all get through this together. ❤️

Yolanda Lau is an experienced entrepreneurship consultant, advisor, and Forbes Contributor. She is also an educator, speaker, writer, and non-profit fundraiser.

Since 2010, she has been focused on preparing knowledge workers, educators, and students for the future of work.

Learn more about Yolanda here.