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Are breath exercises helpful when freaking out?

If you’re in total Freak Out Mode, your mind is going to trick you into thinking that there’s no point to doing a breathing exercise. In a way, it’s right… exercise is a great way to get rid of excess stress hormones.

But what if you’re on your way to an interview, a speaking gig, or a hot date? Exercise will only exacerbate those sweaty palms. How will a breathing exercise help???

Today’s video helps wrangle those nay-saying thoughts to a new mindset.

You can watch the video here, or read the transcript below:

Hello, Natural Professionals! It’s Shawn Tuttle, coming to you from Hillsborough, Oregon.

This is where we talk about energy management as the basis of a new way of working for the modern-day warrior. Today’s episode is on staying in your flow when stress and anxiety threaten to derail you.

Hello, stress!

So, here’s the scene. I was driving to an interview that I was going to be doing for my Authentic Success podcast, and I could tell that I was nervous—short breath, my armpits were going kind of nuts, and my thoughts were just racing, and I was just generally feeling agitated.

What stress hormones do for you

Stress, of course, is a natural response. It’s a hormonal response, so that means that cortisol, the hormone cortisol, is being released throughout my body, and my body is just responding in this way of, “Okay, fight-or-flight! What do we need to do here to get out of here alive and safe?”

Which is great when a tiger is chasing you. But when you’re going to do an interview or a speaking gig or you’re going to pitch a new client, you need to be at the top of your game. That kind of freaked out, fight-flight-or-freeze response is not that helpful, and in fact can be quite detrimental.

Don’t hold your breath

So, there I am. I’m at a stoplight. I’m thinking, “Should I do a breathing exercise?” A voice in my head said, “Are you kidding? Doing a breathing exercise is going to have about as much effect as using a toothpick to row across the ocean—not going to happen.”

Happily, happily!, a wiser, more calm voice did step in and said, “Look, you’re not doing a breathing exercise to calm the effects of the cortisol racing through your body. There are other techniques for getting rid of that stress that’s been flooded into your body, and this isn’t the time to do that.”

What breathing can do for you (aside from keep you alive)

The purpose of the breathing exercise right now is to get centered, is to get grounded, and this is the way that I can show up and feel confident and be ready to do a great interview and make a great connection with this person… which is hard to do when you’re really freaked out, right?

So, that’s what I did. I put my attention on my breath, felt my IN-breath and my OUT-breath as I’m driving (yeah, I know).

But, I did show up, and when I knocked on her door, I was feeling confident and ready to go. I was feeling on top of my game.

Get in the now with a breathing exercise

So, the next time you’re in one of those kind of critical situations where you need to be at the top of your game and your body is kind of freaking out, consider the breathing exercise, even though it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be helping you.

Think about it in terms of coming back home, coming back to your space so that you can be present and do your best work.

Crucial next step: sweat those hormones out

Then, once the situation is done—interview over, speaking gig done, whatever it is—then, you do want to do some kind of exercise to get those hormones out of your system.

A cheap, easy, fast way to do that is to go sweat. Go run, go bike, go to the gym, sweat that stuff out. Just boom! Get it out.

Okay. That’s it for today. Shawn Tuttle signing off with a reminder to stay natural.

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