Beat Stress Like a Navy SEAL With This Ridiculously Easy Exercise

THE INC. LIFE PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images Like most people, you probably deal with your fair share of workplace annoyances . From the meeting that gets rescheduled yet again to managing your overflowing inbox or navigating the tricky world of team dynamics, your stress levels may spike multiple times throughout a single day.

How are some people able to stay calm and productive in response to challenges while others are easily rattled?

To find answers, let’s look to those who have mastered the art of composure under pressure: The US Navy SEALs. How Navy SEALS Reduce Stress

There’s no question that US Navy SEALs face some of the most difficult situations any human could encounter. Because of this, they’ve ways to apply the emerging science of grit, resilience , and emotional regulation to effectively manage stress.

In fact, neural scans show that some SEALs have a remarkably ability to remain calm in response to threatening situations. Their brains respond differently to stress, activating neural centers related to emotional control. Not ones related to anxiety and fear.

Their secret? SEALs manage their physiology in order to better to control their psychology .

Researchers at Veterans Affairs put it this way: Learning to control your physiology, to control your anticipatory response as you remain in that situation, are the first steps to controlling your brain’s response. If you’re thinking that this is the result of some superhuman ability, think again. It may come down to managing one important aspect of well-being: your breathing. A Simple Exercise to Help You Stay Calm

A practice SEAL teams use in times of trouble is one you can borrow while sitting at your desk.

It’s called box breathing or four-square breathing.

Here’s how it works:

> Breathe in for four seconds.

Hold air in your lungs for four seconds.

Exhale for four seconds. Hold your breath, lungs emptied, for four seconds. You can even find guided visualizations online to assist you in a box breathing practice if you’re just getting started. The beauty of box breathing is that it’s inconspicuous, meaning you can practice it anywhere, at anytime — during negotiations , before delivering tough feedback , or even in the middle of a frustrating conversation , for example.Recently I shared this tool with a client who is navigating her team through a rocky leadership transition. Meetings were fraught with chaos and morale was slipping quickly, which my client felt responsible for as a manager. These worries were beginning to take a toll on her. The anxiety followed her home at night. She found herself becoming increasingly irritable, and knew she had to address it in a more productive way .After practicing box breathing for just a few days, she experienced a major shift. Because box breathing improved her ability to regulate her emotions, she felt more in control and able to deal with challenges.With renewed levelheadedness, she could communicate more effectively to advocate for her team during the transition — even when upstream dynamics threatened to throw their progress off-course.Give box […]