I have used this exercise with all my clients. Let’s highlight Mary:

At the beginning of the year, Mary promised to focus on her personal life, start a new hobby, cook better food, and meet new people.

During our first session, Mary was annoyed with herself because she didn’t follow her promise.

I asked why she didn’t follow through?

She said she was too busy at work. There were too many changes going on. She constantly communicated with her team and stakeholders to ensure that those changes went as smoothly as possible.

Her mind was racing. She was constantly busy thinking of how to get everybody aligned.

All the changes at work were taking over her life, even her personal life.

She was sitting in front of me, frustrated and resentful towards her work.

After listening to her story, I asked her to take a deep breath through her nose and a deep breath out through her mouth. She had to repeat this a couple of times:

-Breath in calm and breathe out stress
-Breath in calm and breathe out, overwhelm

This exercise went on for two minutes.

I could see her body relaxing with every breath she took. And then she opened her eyes and said: “I know how to start improving my personal life….. I love home-cooked meals: they are balanced, give me more energy, and make me happy. I just don’t have time to cook during the week. So, I will free up a part of my weekend to prepare food for the whole week.

And Mary continued: “I can also delegate some work to my more senior staff so I can focus on the bigger picture. This gives me more headspace and better rest at night.”

I could see a sparkle in her eyes. She found her path, and she took the first step.

This breathing exercise is simple, but it effectively calms yourself down in stressful moments.

When was the last time you gave yourself a moment to breathe?