Tip #7–Breathe!

Posted on May 1, 2007. Filed under: Blog--All categories, Management development |

Seems simple enough. But if that’s the case, why do we so often forget to breathe … between sentences, between topics, before we speak. Check out Tip #7 for the consequences of not breathing and the benefits of taking time to take a breath:

Knee-jerk responses get us in trouble every time. To avoid giving those gut-reaction responses, we can learn to breathe before we respond–a big, deep breath taken in through the nose and let out through the mouth. Getting in the habit of taking that big, deep breath before responding gives us time to choose our responses more carefully so we can give those credibility-enhancing responses every time!

What causes us to forget to breathe? Getting caught up in the moment, whether of excitement or emotionalism, is a big reason why we forget to take a deep breath. The fight-or-flight syndrome also causes us to forget. When we are feeling self-protective, we slip into self-defense mode and when that happens we often forget to breathe.

If we take a moment to take a breath, we buy ourselves time to think through the situation. And if we think the situation through, a couple of things happen:

  • we realize that there may truly be no need for the level of defense we were about to bring forward
  • we choose better responses

When these things occur, we have an opportunity to present ourselves calmly and with respect for the other person. The result of that: we take the high road in communicating; one which always shows us in a better light.

Practice right now: take a big, deep breath–in through the nose, out through the mouth. Don’t you feel better already?

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