Perhaps you’re in a conference room presenting your project summary to a group when, not even five minutes into your well-rehearsed presentation, a couple of people start fidgeting and seem to be distracted. Or perhaps you’re on a call and an unreceptive client isn’t letting you get a word in edgewise.
I have been in these circumstances or similar situations many times. This is the method that has helped me get through high-stress work situations and remind me to reconnect; I call them my Dip Into Bliss tools.
1. Take a moment to just do nothing
No matter how brief the moment, this allows you to give yourself a little bit of distance from the situation.
2. Ground yourself
Feel your feet, especially your heels, connect with the floor. You may even want to even wiggle your toes so that you reconnect with the Earth beneath you.
3. Take three long, slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths
When we’re feeling challenged, ridiculed, angry or frustrated, we immediately change our breathing—either breathing in short, shallow cycles or stopping our breathing altogether.
Take your time here to fill yourself up with air and positive energy. Make sure your inhale is about the same length as your exhale.
Just practicing conscious breathing activates your body’s relaxation response. When your body begins to relax, so, too, does the mind. Do a cycle of three deep clearing, balancing breaths if you can.
In the face of a really challenging criticism, you may feel embarrassed in front of your peers and supervisors. If you need to buy yourself some time to implement the Dip Into Bliss method, you can always use a stalling technique like saying, “Excuse me, can you repeat what you just said? I’m not sure I heard you.” Or, “I’d be happy to address your question later—but for now, let’s get on with the presentation.”
Once you finish these steps, you’ll be able to respond in a calmer, focused and more balanced way.