After you’ve had the wisdom and clarity to take a few breaths with some attention to the process and to your body, you should be feeling a little more grounded and ‘in the moment’. If not, try to remain relaxed and trust that you are o.k. As I tell me clients, no one has spontaneously combusted or evaporated from a rapid breath or feelings of agitation. Yes, it is uncomfortable. But it is not fatal. So stay with the process until you feel your body and mind following your lead and coming into the present…continue to follow your breath.
Now you notice that your body is settling down and feeling more at ease. Once there, begin to pay attention to how you are feeling emotionally and see if you can detect what might have triggered the tension or shallow breathing. It may have been a certain glance from a coworker, partner, or even a stranger on the street. Maybe it was remembering a conversation you recently had or anticipating a professional or personal encounter that you are going to have in the near future. These are the types of events that are commonly associated with emotional distress and they all have one thing in common: they are not happening at this present moment. Each of these things are either past memories or future anticipation. They are thoughts about something that is not happening right now. The beauty of this reality is that it means you can safely place yourself in the present (by connecting with your breath and your body) while you look at these charged experiences from a distance. Looking back or forward at these events with a grounding in the present allows you to inquire about their emotional impact. And that is information you can use to begin to learn how to care for yourself.
The more often you do this, the less often you will find yourself getting hijacked by your emotions and your unconscious thoughts.